Monday, April 2, 2012

Black community divided over District 150

I was waiting for Pam Adams to write this story, but as of today, it has not happened. Maybe it's just me, but I think it is a significant news story when you have so many people in the black community being outspoken on any one topic. In my opinion, the local, main stream media is remiss in that they have not reported on the rift in the black community over the actions of the current Superintendent of Public Schools. 
"You don't have to like me, you don't have to love me, I'm asking you to respect what we're trying to do in our schools." 

Superintendent Grenita Lathan

Team Superintendent 
Rev. Tony Pierce said he had been among the group of ministers who met with Superintendent Grenita Lathan to discuss the four administrators' futures. At the Charter Oak BOE meeting he stated "I stand tonight in support of Dr. Lathan," he said, adding that she had been hired to be a "change agent." The Reverend Tony E. Pierce serves as Co-Senior Pastor of Heaven’s View Christian Fellowship; CEO of Heaven’s View Community Development Corporation and Co-Founder of the Community Development & Service Institute. 

Joyce Banks, stated in an editorial she sent in to the local newspaper, "We will not move forward with personnel at the helm who have so many personal ties to the community that radical change would be rendered virtually impossible. The skill set of the team necessary to turn a failing district around should be her call. Does it matter how many team members come from places outside the district if they are the right ones for the task?" Joyce K. Banks is a minister at Heaven's View Christian Fellowship Church and lives in Peoria. 

Pastor Harvey Burnett "I can only say that if we expect different results for our students, we cannot continue to do things the same as we have always done. Our children deserve an environment where the teacher will be just as accountable as the student is expected to be. Where the principal is actively engaged with both students and parents as opposed to hiding behind secretarial staff to deflect attention. We certainly have issues as a district, but a Supt. that is out of control IS NOT one of them." Pastor Burnett is the founder of New Bethel COGIC of Peoria, IL; and the Peoria Assn. of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal 

Board President Linda Butler "The board is aware some of you have come to express concerns about a personnel matter," Butler said before the public comment portion of the meeting. "We're ready to make difficult and unpopular decisions because a good future demands it." 


Team Principals and Teachers
Donald Jackson, "It's not just one or two people in the community who are concerned," The district has hired 11 people from North Carolina, Lathan's home town, for $1.5 million, but none are black males, while qualified people from Peoria are ignored. People with master's degrees are supervising those with Ph.Ds. While there is "a level of administration never had before," classroom aides are being cut to part time next year and some classrooms have 30 children. The money could be better spent. Jackson is the President of the Illinois and Peoria NAACP

Dr. Rita Ali, was one of the speakers at the Charter Oak news conference, who reiterated a theme - a "culture of constant fear" - that has come up at the last three board meetings in reference to Lathan's leadership style. "The same superintendent that recommended Mrs. Coleman from her role are principal, just a few months ago rated her as an outstanding leader in the top five percent and with great potential to be a great superintendent one day," "I question the evaluation " of the principals, by "an individual from North Carolina with no central management experience," and "a letter filled with run-on sentences and typos. Is she qualified to evaluate" these principals with "an untested evaluation tool" 
Dr. Ali is Director of Diversity at Illinois Central College; was on the search committee that brought Lathan to town; on the Board at Manual Academy and is a member of the African American Leadership Alliance.

Board member Martha Ross, asked about letters sent to each of the four in question, asking them to voluntarily, privately take a specific reassignment, with a specific lower salary. The district's attorney said all four refused, and the process became public. That gave the administration the option to assign the four to a variety of positions, potentially with even lower salaries. Ross called it punishment. "We should not wait until the end of the year to let our staff, administrators know that they are not up to par," she said. 

Board member Lynn Costic, criticized Lathan for earlier saying District 150 is "dysfunctional." "It's an insult," she said, adding "I do not believe changes should be made that are the result of retaliation or personal preferences. This district needs administrators who have great relationships with parents and children. This isn't change for improvement." 

Kristie Hubbard, who said she had been Lathan's Realtor, told board members she understood their position, but the process for making decisions to reclassify the four was flawed.  
Hubbard is the wife of the Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church; a former assistant principal at Manual Academy and current Quest Academy board member.

Rev. Harold Dawson Jr. compared the four to Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teen shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla.Dawson, he was also among the group of ministers who met with Superintendent Grenita Lathan last week to discuss the four administrators' futures. "No blood was spilled in the street but their character has been assassinated," Dawson said. 
Dawson is the Pastor of New Hope Deliverance Church;  Chairman of the Religious Affairs of the NAACP; Commissioner on the Greater Peoria Airport Authority; Director Illinois One Family One Child; his father was/is the Chairman Peoria Christian Leadership Conference


Quotes excerpted from pjstar, peoria story, week, ciproud.


77 comments:

Vonster said...

Compared to the Martin kid?? THERE'S a shark being jumped. Whew!

Rixblix said...

Emerge, inquiring minds want to know...which team are you on? (And no fair saying "the students). ;)

Emerge Peoria said...

Really Rix...!?

Team students and parents of course!

Anonymous said...

Please share where each of the revs mentioned graduated from seminary. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Would there be an issue if all those demoted just happened to not be black? Be honest.

Anonymous said...

I think it is healthy for the black community to be divided. It fosters healthy debate and hence better solutions & outcomes. You all should try it politically too. The African American community hasn't figured out that they would have much more power if they didn't just give the Dems their vote. Face it the African American vote is taken completely for granted and not a single politician feels the need to earn your vote. The proof is in the pudding. How are your schools, your job opportunities, your neighborhoods doing? Think about it.

Sharon Crews said...

I think it's healthy for us to recognize that all the members of the black community (whatever that is) have differing opinions on this issue. It is our perceptions as white people that might be wrong. Most of us don't have the faintest idea of how the average black person thinks about any issue. The average black person (like the average white person) doesn't "go public" with his/her opinions all that often. And many average white people have very little personal contact with average black people--in a give-and-take of opinions.
I am going to take a stab at another concept that I hope can be understood. Black people do often stand together on issues that become public only because they know that many white people see them all as just the same. In that sense, they are standing up for each other because they feel they they might as well since perception is that they are always the same. That's too hard to explain.
As black people have begun (and they have only just begun in the last 50 years) to move into areas of business (jobs, etc.) once held only by whites, their opinions have become more diverse--more along lines of position rather than of race.
For example, when I first started teaching, there were very few black teachers--none at the high school level and, of course, no black administrators and, certainly, no black superintendents. Therefore, the world of education was truly black vs. white because there was no one in educational positions of leadership to represent black people.
I knew as soon as black teachers moved into administrative positions that what is happening now was bound to happen--and that is a good thing. Black people are now able to look at things from both the vantage points of teachers and of administrators.
Frankly, black people haven't been in administrative positions in District 150 long enough to feel comfortable and accepted--which is why I believe we have some reverse discrimination going on--given time that will go away.
Within a very brief period of time, Peorians had to adjust to the idea of a black superintendent and then to two outsider black female superintendents.
Don Jackson and Rita Ali have led the way by supporting both the black and the white administrators. Don is very right (and I have held this opinion for a long time) that Dr. Lathan (like Dr. Royster) moved only females into positions of authority.
Take a look at the list Emerge has provided us. Those with the closest ties to educational institutions tend to see things differently than do the pastors represented on the other side.
I'm not sure what that means--just an observation for discussion.
Also, maybe this will be a time when some new black faces might begin to speak out on issues in Peoria.
All in all, I think it's a very good thing that Dr. Lathan has opened the way for more open disagreement among blacks--maybe not so good for her personally. Maybe we will begin to see points of view from opposing African-American vantage points such as teacher vs administrator, landlord vs. tenant, young vs. older--more along economic divergance rather than racial, etc.
In the end, I believe we are finding that Dr. Lathan does have a charge from the board--and that is to break unions. Principals have no union, so it was a good place to start showing her "strength." It has been and will be teachers; we've already seen it with bus drivers; now I hear she wants to make secretarial jobs part time. These are the ways the board wants to save money--and black and white people will all be hurt by these measures--so it's time for us all to see the trees in the forest or vise versa.

Rixblix said...

Emerge...I know you're riding the fence here on your blog; oh how I'd like to be a fly on the while when you're talking to your neighbors and friends!

I'd like to know who in their right mind would ever, ever teach or become an administrator in District 150. No, we don't live there, but goodness, what's it going to take to make people happy? Shake it up, status quo, fire, hire...the district is a hot mess. Cronyism, nepotism...all the ism's are alive a well in 150 (and in every other district in this back-asswards area).

Self-contained special education classrooms are passe and the fact that this area continues to educate non-traditional learners in the manner is, honestly, criminal; yet they exist here.

Suspensions/expulsions/zero tolerance/random drug testing policies DON'T deter bad behavior...in fact, educational research has demonstrated an INCREASE in anti-social behavior among students in districts where those policies are strictly enforced.

Jon said...

Rix is right on...again.

On another topic, I always get a kick out of the claim that there are too many women in positions of authority in a school district. In D150, 82% of teachers are women - and yet only half are principals. But, oh yeah, Lathan "only" promotes women. I'd say the odds favor her if 4 out of every 5 positions of authority goes to a woman.

Emerge Peoria said...

I hear you Rix, sometimes it seems like we are getting further away from the answers - whatever they are.

I'll say again, the power Dr. Lathan welds today, is directly related to decisions educators made in the past.

Rixblix said...

[I see what you did there, Emerge...]

I highly recommend "The Road to Whatever: Middle Class Culture and the Crisis of Adolescence" by Elliot Currie.

I sure hope no one has a dog named Bull Connor...

Dennis in Peoria said...

In the Press Conference video above,
Rita Ali expressed that she is there not to represent ICC, Manual Academy Board, the Selection Committee, or the AALA, but a concerned grandmother with grandkids who go to Dist. 150 schools.

publius said...

There is no such thing as a monolithic black community, as this situation demonstrates. I don’t care what color Lathan is; she’s not doing her job.

Rixblix said...

What IS her job? As a not-so-innocent bystander, it appears that the Superintendent is doing EXACTLY what she was hired to do.

Anonymous said...

Her job was to make all of these demotions, play musical chairs with principal positions and diminish jobs to part-time, instead of full-time, so there is continuity in the classroom?

The BOE hired her to do that? Did they know she would not only do that, she would do that with fear and intimidation?

You are saying the BOE ordered all of that when they hired a Superintendent? My, oh my, the city of Peoria sure got duped, no matter your race, age, or where you live in Peoria.

The worst part is the BOE and superintendent have let the students down! There is no way students are not hurt by the decisions being made in D150. The BOE should be ashamed of themselves!

Rixblix said...

The Board of Education hired a Superintendent to make changes in a school district that (as long as I've lived here) the community has found lacking. The Board of Education was elected by the people who live in District 150. In fact, one board member was essentially hand picked buy a very vocal minority in an effort to bring accountability and and transparency to the governing organization. How odd it is that this board member has NOT spoken out against Dr. Lathan.

Maybe, just maybe, Dr. Lathan is doing exactly what the D150 BOE hired her to do. In fact, maybe they hired her knowing that as an "outsider" she'd be able to make the hard decisions needed to stop the train-wreck that is D150 and turn it around.

Anonymous said...

Riblix-
Do you believe she has stopped the "train wreck"? Is she "turning it around"?

She will be here two years this summer.

Anonymous said...

Please don't fire Latham. Let her finish out her contract and hopefully some of what she started. When her contract is up don't renew it send her and her team on their way.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in District 150. At that time, the district was highly respected. Most, if not all of my teachers have retired or moved to other districts. I have many friends who are teachers. Some are about to reitre and working just as hard if not harder than ever in their careers. The premise of the school board seems to be that the teachers are either incompentent or lazy so we have to use fear and intimidation as well as shake ups to make them improve. What if this premise is incorrect? We have teachers who have dedicated 30 or more years to this district. They have been very successful for most of their careers. Now, the naysayers are trying to say that they can no longer teach or have become lazy? Not the ones I know. They have done all sorts of professional development to stay current. They put in more time and more of their own money to improve the opportunities for their students. So, what else has changed in the past ten to fifteen years that would have such an impact on education?

Sharon Crews said...

Riblix says--In fact, one board member was essentially hand picked buy a very vocal minority in an effort to bring accountability and and transparency to the governing organization. How odd it is that this board member has NOT spoken out against Dr. Lathan.
I assume she is referring to District Watch. I really would like very much to know how this perception came to be: that DW hand picked Laura Petelle.
I am going to try to set the record straight--although I have tried before and have not been believed. Laura is a friend of Diane Vespa's. Diane recommended Laura to DW and Diane was very instrumental in the establishment of DW. At no time did DW ever speak as a group--and at no time do we (and we are, in fact, a very small vocal minority). Also, the main issue at hand when Laura was running was the closing of Woodruff. I believe if my memory serves me correctly that Laura indicated to us that she would be voting against the closing.
Laura voted for the closing of Woodruff--needless, to say that was the beginning (very early on and on a very important issue) that broke the trust that most of us had had with her. Personally, I like Laura and thought she would be a good board member because she is a teacher and should be able to understand the concerns of teachers, especially with regard to discipline and academic standards. I appreciate her as being a board member that does speak her mind, so that we do not have doubts where she stands. However, I personally have great difficulty in understanding her support of Dr. Lathan--that's just my opinion and not that of all associated with DW. We weren't duped--most of us probably have learned long before now of Laura's election to be a bit cynical about board members, who as with many politicians say one thing as candidates and vote another after election.

Emtronics said...

"So, what else has changed in the past ten to fifteen years that would have such an impact on education?"?

That's easy. It's generation after generation of idiots raising kids right out of the 12th grade, then depending on the State to pay and feed their children while no responsibility whatsoever is demanded from the parent and now it seems, the students too. That's what has changed. When people are on welfare working numerous min. jobs because they don't want to work anyway and they do this for lifetimes. No wonder the kid grows up thinking everyone owes them something.

Please don't say you know many hard working single moms and even some who resent welfare. This is true but they are not the majority of clientele this District deals with. Only need to go to Washington or Dunlap to see the difference or even Notre Dame. When parents have to pay a ton of money to get their kid in a private school, then you can bet they are involved. When you hand something to someone for nothing, all they expect is it handed to them.

Sad day will be when a lot of these teachers, highly educated and skilled, finally leave for retirement as no young person in their right mind is going to enter this zoo. No special school, chartered school, or whatever this District dreams up is going to save it. Short of bars on the windows, these school are already penal institutions and the population is running it while the higher ups like Lathan collect the money.

Sharon Crews said...

Dennis, Rita Ali can say she is speaking as a grandparent (and that alone is hard for me to believe--that Rita can be a grandmother--but I'm sure it's true; I am getting older). However, all her experiences contribute to the mindset that she has about educational issues--so it is her background that is in contrast to those in the black community who are supporting Dr. Lathan.

Anonymous said...

"So, what else has changed in the past ten to fifteen years that would have such an impact on education?"?

No Child Left Behind has brought about the need for change...in every school district in America. No one person has brought change, so no one person can take credit for it. It was NCLB. Never forget that.

The key to an intelligent BOE is to hire somebody already experienced in NCLB changes and mandates. D150 did not need somebody padding his/her resume. The students deserve better. Peoria deserves better.

Nowhere in NCLB does it state that fear and intimidation is to be used with those changes.

Nowhere in NCLB does it state that a superintendent revises almost all of the curriculum, without proper professional development for every teacher. Nor does it state it is proper for the textbooks to come to the classrooms long after school has begun.

Nowhere in NCLB does it state that downgrading positions would keep the brightest and best in D150.

Again, the BOE should be ashamed that they do not care enough about the citizens of Peoria to think we do not know what is happening. We, the people of Peoria, are pretty smart human beings.

Anonymous said...

So what happened to the comments on the previous article? It states that there are 217 responses but only 200 are currently posted. Is it just a glitch or was it intentional?

Emerge Peoria said...

Anonymous, if you go to the bottom of the comments (#200) and look to the right, you will see a prompt to go to the newest comments...

Sharon Crews said...

NCLB is the change that has created all this chaos. All who are still marching to the drum beat of NCLB (including District 150 admin and board) have not noticed acknowledged that NCLB is a total failure. It has created paranoia; it has produced fly-by-night companies who have made millions selling cures that don't work--and District 150 is still buying them and has gone deep in debt doing so; it has pitted all players (teachers, administrators, central adm., board, and parents) against one another.
When Dr. Lathan leaves District 150classrooms will still be in chaos because of discipline problems and students will still not be passing NCLB tests.
Please someone tell me anything that NCLB has accomplished. For those of you that hate teachers and/or unions, yes, teachers will be ridiculed, mistreated, fired at will, etc. Unions will be destroyed. However, all the problems in the classrooms will remain the same or worse.

Sharon Crews said...

Parents and teachers, I would very much like some information from you. NCLB requires that students take only one timed test at several grade levels. Yet, to prepare for this test, schools are testing children often (taxpayers are paying for all these standardized programs and tests).
Primary school children are being "trained" to take the NCLB test by working against the clock all the time. Children learning to read should not have to be timed constantly. They should have time to work on their skills (some will always work at a slower pace than others) and they should not be judged based on time limits.
Parents, please try to find out how many times in a week your children are having to take timed tests and how much their progress reports are based on time limits rather than on skills.
I would so very much like to sit all teachers, administrators, board members, (including me), etc., and give us timed reading tests based on material that is new to us and containing concepts and vocabulary that are unfamiliar. Wouldn't you just love to see those test results--let's put them up on walls for all to see the results, etc. Let's compare one to the other so that those who didn't do well can feel bad (both by group and individual reports).
That is what NCLB is doing to children--judging children individual and schools not only by what they can do on a test but by how fast they can do it.
That is what NCLB is doing--defeating all children who can't keep up with the unrealistic pace.
And it is blaming teachers and schools when the children don't pass the timed tests.

Anonymous said...

NNCLB

No (one from) North Carolina Left Behind

Jon said...

NCLB has its flaws, but there have been many successes as well. Simply look at the State of Illinois School Report Card:

http://iirc.niu.edu/State.aspx

1. Transparency

2. Improved student achievement (ISAT, College Readiness) - for all tests of all students in Illinois, 77% now meet/exceed compared to 60% in 2002

3. Closing the achievement gap (one example, Grade 3 Reading between whites/blacks, going from a 43 point differential to a 24 point differential)

Additionally, educators now have much more data to address specific learning issues, and from that flows things like RTI to make sure students get individualized help.

Nationally, the "drop-out factory", where 60% or more students do not graduate on time, is both decreasing in number as well as number of students served (one-third less at these schools)

Anonymous said...

Sorry emerge, it doesn't list the last 17 comments...

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, I do agree that more is known about analyzing where kids need individualized help.
However, I know that you trust statistics--me, not so much. Give me five years in a row of numbers such as you just produced. Successes fluctuate so much from one year to the next because the same students aren't tested over time.
Also, some successes in NCLB have probably come from schools now being investigated for cheating on the test--didn't I read that there is an exhorbitant number of such schools and/or districts throughout the country.
The bottom line is no such success rates have been occurring in District 150.

Anonymous said...

You can only see the comments if you click on the article. If you go to the end there you will be able to get to the other 17 comments.

Anonymous said...

Jon should be in Peoria before he comments.

There is no transparency in Peoria. Period.

Jon said...

Sharon, that's what the link was for - to actually look at the data. But here it is, showing steady improvement:

2002 - 60%
2003 - 61%
2004 - 63%
2005 - 65%
2006 - 73%
2007 - 74%
2008 - 75%
2009 - 76%
2010 - 76%
2011 - 77%

I was in Peoria this weekend. Still have family and friends in the area, including those with students in D150

Jon said...

D150 has seen a similar steady increase, from 51% meets/exceeds to 65%.

http://iirc.niu.edu/District.aspx?districtid=48072150025

Anonymous said...

Jon - Figures lie and liars figure. Just ask the teachers who believe they adequately funded their own pension benefits.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, I believe I recall one time when I presented percentages, you stated something to the effect that you would have to see the raw data, etc. Same here--how in the world are we supposed to trust what data went into these percentages--data from every school in the United States and we are to trust that every school in the country gives accurate data about dropouts, etc.

Jon said...

SMDH...

When presented with data and links to the official website of the ISBE that deals with school report cards, you now claim that you can't trust the data (coincidentally, perhaps, because the data doesn't support your pre-conceived notions?)

Think of the source and of the process. How do you trust anything that you read? Any critical thinking skills?

Anonymous said...

Riblix-

No response to my earlier question?

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhh, Jon. Back in his element. Insulting the elderly, kicking puppies and praying rainbows never appear. Such a delightful man.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, you and I have had discussions about class size data, which never tells the whole story. You have argued that class sizes are accurate at the very low percentages in the reports. How the class size data is figured (getting averages based on data from both very small special ed and regular division classes) paints a very unrealistic picture about the size of the many, many classrooms.
Yes, I do believe that government agencies, etc., do know how to present and figure data so it is favorable to the picture they want to paint.
I know that District 150's reports of attendance, graduation rates, etc., are the result of some clever twists of data.

Anonymous said...

Nice figures. Nice that they went up. But what does that actually mean? For high school students it means they're doing better on a six hour test they take once in their lifetime (once). It means that schools have learned how to identify what they call "bubble kids." These are the few kids needed to show progress on the test. They get the focus while those above and below the bubble (the ones not likely to move the percentage one way or another) don't get the focus. And the PSAE tests such a small scope of knowledge - what do the results really mean? You've been trained to test well? Would any of us like to be judged on our intelligence and skill solely by what we got on the ACT? I dunno.

Anonymous said...

Jon, Please find a cause in your own area. Let your frieends and relatives in this area deal with the issues in this area. Do they intrude in your area? I mean, what does it say about someone who has to insult the elderly in another city in order to feel--what--what is it you feel when your are so condescending to the elderly? I mean, what is your purpose? If you think everything is hunky dory in 150 then why do you have to try to prove it? Shouldn't if speak for itself? If you think that the DW is such a minority, then why bother with them? Why is such a minority worth the effort? Please state your purposes!!! People on this blog believe that there are serious issues that need addressing. We know Sharon's credentials. We know Hedy and Jeff's credentials. What are your crdentials?

Anonymous said...

Smack your d*** head all you want, Jon. Having relatives in the area and visiting does not make you a D150 expert.

You know what those test scores prove? It proves teachers are getting better at teaching to the test, which they are forced to do.

You can sit on your throne all you like, but we in Peoria have to make sense of all that is happening here.

You don't know how many times the students have to take practice test after practice test. That type of teaching gets answers on ISAT, which means nothing in the real world, especially because it is so biased toward boys.

Anonymous said...

I want to read the latest comments about the board meeting nd don't see how to get past the 200 conments already there....

Anonymous said...

Come on, guys. You are not being fair. He does identify himself. He's JON. Look him up. In his mind, he probably thinks he's like Madonna or Cher. Yes, folks, if you want to know about JON it shouldn't be that hard, just google his name. He's a legend (in his own mind).

Anonymous said...

I want to read the latest comments about the board meeting nd don't see how to get past the 200 conments already there....

To find them, click on "link to this post" (instead of 220 Speak on it) then go to the bottom of that window and click "newest."

Anonymous said...

Keep sharing Jon! Most realize this blog is only to vent, bitch, complain, cry, whine, but ultimately blame everyone but the teachers. Too bad they can be forced to "teach to the test", but they evidently can't just teach. That HAS to be the fault of administrators, not NCLB or any other mandate their lack of results neccesitated.

Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that the anons on this blog can say every teacher in 150 is horrible. That's harsh. Then, in the next breath, say the teachers in 150 are negative. Uhh.maybe the pot calling the kettle black?

Anonymous said...

Anyone attending Thurs night's meeting at Carver Center? I would like to hear what's going on with the Magic Johnson School. Emerge, are you going by chance?

Anonymous said...

"Too bad they can be forced to "teach to the test", but they evidently can't just teach. "

HaHa! That joke is on Peoria, especially the students! My, my, those NC people can blog when they think it is to their advantage.

Teaching to the test is never a good way to teach and learn. Too bad you don't get that. Too bad the administrators don't get that. To just teach would be a day like no other. The kids would learn and scores would go up because they actually learned something.

Anonymous said...

How is it that teachers who used to help 150 be successful are now incompetent? Or is it that the new teachers are the ones who are incompetent? So, if the veterans are incompetent, just when did they transistion from being effective to incompetent? If the new hires are incompetent, is it the colleges' fault or HR's? A few years ago, I heard a teacher from another distrcit (one that is considered to be highly successful) declared that 150 and this district could switch out teachers without there being any differences in the results.

Anonymous said...

Where do you think the saying "Excuse me. I have to go to the Jon" came from?

Sharon Crews said...

First of all, do you realize that teaching to the test means that many subjects have been eliminated from the curriculum just so teachers can teach to the test all day. For instance, literature (good literature, not just reading to learn how to read) is not tested; therefore, teachers are sometimes or often criticized for spending time on literature and any subject matter that isn't on the test. YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NOT BEING EDUCATED BECAUSE OF THE TEST. In fact, today's teachers can be less educated (less well-rounded academically) than they once were because their teaching is very scripted. If you have children in school, you had better start being interested in what your children aren't being taught because of the test and how much their confidence and/or love of learning is being destroyed because they constantly take failing reports home to their parents.
The person who criticized teachers for not wanting to teach to the test does not know the first thing about NCLB and that NCLB directives never, never intended for teachers to teach to the test. However, those who put NCLB in place should have known that if teachers were going to be judged by test results, they would then teach to the test.
Also, NCLB judges schools, not just teachers; therefore, administrators know that they will be judged by the performance of their teachers and their students. Adults are paranoid (including the superintendents)--the students are just cheated.
This race to keep a school from being on watch and warning lists has caused whole schools to either coach students as they are taking the test (give them answers) or to change the test answers. That's why over 600 schools are being investigated because now almost every school in the country is on a watch or warning list--because by 2014 every school was to meet standards at 100%. And you can bet it's the better schools in the country that have been cheating on the test because it diminishes their high standings of the past.
Of course, that is changing because now the politicians realize they made a big, big mistake.

Sharon Crews said...

Also, Jon, isn't that much a mystery to me. I do know quite a bit about him. I have been told by some who know him that he is just very opinionated--and someone whom I believe actually likes me quite a bit said that Jon and I are really very much alike on that score. That does give me pause.
Seriously, Jon has just decided to take me on as a blog adversary and I would actually miss him if he went away. And I do enjoy the barbs thrown at him--and don't get bent out of shape at his or anyone's criticism of me and my opinions. I would prefer that we could all be civil when we disagree, but this is a blog of anonymous people that don't feel the need, so OK. Jon really isn't all that Anonymous. He puts the same name on all his blogs, so some of you know him just as well as you know me (since many of you probably don't know me personally even though I blog in my own name).

Anonymous said...

What solutions have been put forward that can operate within the constraints of the dist. budget? What concerted effort has been made by the COMMUNITY to push back against NCLB? What efforts have been made by teachers - or any unified group- to better align student behavior with the monetary support the receive from various gov't agencies and entities? If those on the blog are so troubled by the state of the district, WHY oh WHY haven't the done something positive?

Sharon Crews said...

Who are you that feels so strongly about monetary support received by those whom you feel don't deserve it? Why don't you do something? You give teachers and the rest of us too much power. As far as District 150 goes, it is completely controlled by the board members, who aren't listening to any of us or you. And very few qualified and knowledgeable people have any desire to run for that job and whoever runs will probably be more interested in the bottom line than they are in educational progress.

Anonymous said...

Who said they don't deserve - I said align support to create better behavior -in the classroom -and as citizens. I've done a lot of calling and letter writing, and encourage many others to do the same. VOTERS aligned CAN create change. I personnally feel that, to modify classroom behavior, you have to impact families pocketbooks. All D150 students have a college opportunity - Peoria Promise. I've written checks and will continue to do so. Allowing families to not make education the number one priority in a childs life is inexcusable. Yet, many continue to allow the "that's being to white" thing to persist. Hiding behind union zealotry only perpetuates the problems that got us here. In Lathan, i see someone who is at least attempting to create positive change. Some are being forced outside their "box" and don't like it. Some wouldn't like anyone to hold them accountable, as I've talked to many teachers and often hear the refrain, "I know how to teach." Point is, our gov't is mandating changes and if you don't get out in front, you'll be run over. Many on this thread seem to have tire tracks on them already. Adapt. or perish

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fire and Brimstone (adapt and perish or earn your keep or be vanquished or bitter and vindictive) and Jon remind me of some twin brothers at Manual. In high school, people tended to like twin Jon better.

Jon said...

That earlier comment was rather nice of you, Sharon. It’s also interesting that you bring up average class sizes. One of the benefits of NCLB is the increased transparency in reporting how all subgroups of students (black, white, male, female, IEP, low income, etc.) are performing – rather than just showing the average score for the student body as a whole. Doing so helped to hi-light various achievement gaps (particularly between black and white students) and required such gaps to be addressed.

Clearly, though, one of the problems of NCLB is the unrealistic goals as well as the resulting over-emphasis on testing. Just as within a classroom, however, testing is a necessary, and major, component. While I may not agree with everything in Obama’s blueprint to revising NCLB, it seems to me to be a step in the right direction to build on NCLB’s successes while also addressing its shortcomings.

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/index.html

Anonymous said...

Mr.Fire & Brimestone and Jon sound more like a little heard gospel group. But keep guessing.

Sharon Crews said...

To the Anonymous who wants to hold parents and students accountable and, at the time, supports Dr. Lathan--Dr. Lathan is doing absolutely nothing to hold parents and students accountable. Publicly she makes many statements to that effect, but her words don't come close to matching her actions.
I am not at all adverse to making parents accountable in realistic, fair, and non-vindictive ways. There will always be those who are non-compliant with any demands, but the majority of parents, I believe, are willing to be held accountable when they know exactly what is expected of them.
Jon, I am not opposed to testing to find out where children need more help. However, I am very much against rigid timed tests. I do not believe that in the primary grades speed reading needs to be a requirement. Those who can read fast will and will finish tests sooner; others should be given more time to reveal their skills without the pressure.
Also, NCLB reporting test results by subgroups doesn't resolve the problem of class size. I just did a study of class sizes in the southside schools and Glen Oak. Trewyn's class sizes are extremely low (I mean extremely); whereas the other schools have overcrowded classrooms. Primary school is not the time to cram too many kids into a classroom. Dr. Lathan clearly recognizes that because she saw to it that Trewyn, her proving grounds for her reputation, has very small class sizes.

Anonymous said...

Little heard gospel group? Perhaps. However, it could be more like one of the American Idol rejects who tearfully swears that his/her friends have told him/her that he/she has the best voice in the world. Then you really start to wonder about the friends.

Anonymous said...

So simply telling parents what is "exactly expected of them" is all that is needed? My childrens teachers and others I talk to seem to always do this - primary grades particularly. You show how otta touch you are when you offer that as a "solution." But wait - it's gotta be admins job to uphold the expectation and they aren't doing their job. What if thats the reason for reassignment? Doubtful. Is it really vindictive to think that if you are an American that procreates and seeks out assistance - that the assistance comes with certain expectations? What is so wrong with tying aid to a parents responsibility to uplift the value of being educated?

Anonymous said...

I have been reading emerge Peoria for some time now and I have a few comments for all the "armchair educators" who have judged this district and found it wanting. It seems to me that the teacher is being made the scapegoat in all of this. There is no ONE answer to any district's problems. District 150 is having the same problems as many other districts around the country. There are good teachers and bad teachers--as there are in any profession--those who excel and care about what they do and those who are putting their time in. In no other profession are results expected to be 100%. Yet, given the standard of NCLB, 100% of students are expected to perform at their grade level and if they don't, it is somebody's fault. Generally, the teachers and admin. of that school.

If that is the measure, why aren't all cancers 100% curable? Do we hang out to dry the doctors who cannot cure all disease? Why do you expect perfection in education?

We are all different with different gifts and abilities. Some will excel, some will pass and others will fail--no matter how high the expectation and the degree of dedication. Some students choose not to learn, some can only go so far due to challenges. A good teacher has high expectations and challenges all--some will respond and unfortunately some will not. In the end, the student chooses to learn. People are not perfect.

District 150 and the city of Peoria need to look at some of the good things happening. I am not saying to not address and try to fix the problems, but there is not just one reason. It is not an easy fix for anyone. And it will not happen overnight. Many school are making progress despite great odds, but not fast enough for NCLB. One has to look beyond the data and see what is really happening.

I teach at 2 schools at opposite ends of Peoria and I see good happening in both schools. Perfection--no, but striving for--yes.

Sharon Crews said...

Excellent post! Thanks for making your points so well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shharon, but what do you think of the teacher who suggests focusing in on the positives?

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to know which seminary each of these reverands graduated from to see if they are qualified to make any judgement, except personal on this matter.

Sharon Crews said...

That Poster suggested focusing on the positive--but made it very clear that teachers were not the culprits and that NCLB is a hindrance. All the positives are what happens in the classroom, but because all the focus is on NCLB results, the positives will never be believed.
The negatives are what happens on Wisconsin Avenue--that's the focus of most of us because until there is change at the top (not just a change in superintendent but a change in mindset), positives are overshadowed.
Great things happen in 150 classrooms are the time--at great odds.

Sharon Crews said...

District Watch will not meet Sunday because of Easter.

Anonymous said...

Still with the blame game Sharon? Even when teachers tell you it's not helping. Just because someone died for your sins isn't an excuse to keep commiting them.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, Anon. Sharon is correct. Remarkable things happen in classrooms in D150, in spite of Wisconsin Avenue. Maybe if you and your NC buddies would go home, and we get a superintendent who cares about the children of Peoria, we can all move forward.

Anonymous said...

Listen to the teachers with no ax to grind. What did certain former Manual teachers think of Mrs. Hubbard when she came in to evaluate their capabilities? Be honest.I guess you are on the same page when it creates less accountability.

Anonymous said...

Listen to the teachers with no ax to grind. What did certain former Manual teachers think of Mrs. Hubbard when she came in to evaluate their capabilities? Be honest.I guess you are on the same page when it creates less accountability.

Anonymous said...

How about the WELL KNOWN principal in D150 who always TOLD her assistant principals what they were to give for teacher evaluations. For example, Dawn, you are to give Miss Malarky a satisfactory....yes, I know you believe differently, yes, I know you think she deserves and excellent, since she is on 7 committees and chairs 3 of them....yes, I know she outshines many in this building with her stamina and hard-work ethic. It's just that, well, I don't like her because she won't kiss me A** and bow down to me like all my EXCELLENT teachers do. Yes, this person has been doing this for YEARS.

Sharon Crews said...

I am not certain what point the poster was making when Kristie Hubbard was brought into the discussion. However, Kristi's particular background does present a side of the issue to be considered. Kristi student taught at Manual and taught there for 2 to 3 years. Then Kristi became a dean at Manual and very soon after that an administrative assistant. In fact, I was on the committee of two or three teachers that supposedly had a say in her choice as a dean. We heard from three candidates. I knew that Kristi was going to get the job because she was the principal's choice--and any pretence at a teacher committee was window dressing (and I did cast my vote for Kristi as she was the best choice of the three).
Any way the point is that Kristi may have become a great teeacher but neither she nor we will ever know. Before she moved so quickly up the ladder, she was having the same discipline problems that the rest of us were having. I recall one teachers' meeting in her last year of teaching (2 or 3 when she complained about some issues about student behavior.
Many of you seem to have the opinion that first-year teachers are better than older teachers. Teaching is a field (as with most) where three years just isn't time to perfect your craft. We all know we learned more about our particular field of study from teaching than we ever did by sitting in classes as college students, etc. Likewise, it takes just as much time to learn how to deal with problems in the classroom.
My point is that Kristi was not prepared to judge teachers as she had not perfected her own craft (any more than the rest of us did after only 3 years). Yet that was the role she was given. I will go as far as to say that Kristi could not have performed at the level she came to expect of teachers in either teaching an academic subject or in maintaining a learning environment for students.
The best way for administrators to prove that they are a judge of good teaching is to be able to show the rest of us how to do it.
I will be curious to see how administrators sent back to the classroom will perform as teachers.
Personally, I believe that no administrator should be allowed to lose touch with the classroom. Maybe the whole system of teaching for a few years and then becoming administrators is not a good way to run educational institutions. Maybe we should have a system where administrators do return to the classroom--that they not be in administrative positions for life.
It does always amaze me as to how many teachers these days get teaching degrees and soon after start working on administrative degrees so that they can get out of the classroom.
If you want to find dedicated teachers, look for the ones who aren't sitting around with administrative credentials in their pockets, waiting to get out of the classroom. Because when they become administrators, they suddenly become experts at teaching--not so.

Anonymous said...

Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the
issues. It was really informative. Your site is
very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

my weblog; http://www.besttextbasedgames.com/