When you have a blog, you find that sometimes interesting comments get caught up in the spam filter. While most of them are truly spam, from time to time, there are some that make you go hmmm.
I continue to get comments from a person who allegedly has info about the principal's meetings that Dr. Lathan conducts. Apparently there is a good deal of berating of principals going on and something about the use of a microphone. Another one of the more recent comments that caught my eye is that principals are being berated for to many students receiving an "F" grade.
As I read through the comments on the original San Diego Unified piece, in which an administrator accused Dr. Lathan of a lack of focused leadership, I noticed this comment from the Editor of the piece:
"... the district had plenty of funding to provide training for both teachers and principals. Largely thanks to the influx of federal stimulus dollars, the district was in the rare position of having enough money to provide training to just about everybody who needed it.
For once, the problem wasn't funding, but a lack of focused leadership. The training was there, but many teachers and principals didn't take the district up on it, and weren't required to."
Although that article was about inclusion, it had some interesting parallels to what I was hearing about the roll out of District 150's new gifted program. However, it left me wondering about what is going on with inclusion in District 150? Are students needs being serviced? What about the low achievers, for whom summer school is no longer offered? Are the "F" grades a result of those students not being able to keep up the pace without extra help?
I remember hearing at one time that Glen Oak and Harrison Community schools would be year round. A year round school would certainly give the slow learners the opportunity to catch up. What has happened to that plan? Didn't the District receive enough federal stimulus dollars to implement such a program?
Word is also out that teachers are now responsible for writing their own special education IEP's and holding their own IEP conferences. My question is, do all teachers have training in the area of students with special needs and more importantly - do they have the time? Special needs could range from students with learning disabilities, to downs syndrome, to true mental retardation. I personally consider all of the above serious stuff. If I were a parent with a special needs student, I would want a professional trained in giving a diagnosis, not just some rank and file teacher.
One can't help but notice, that so much of what is said to be going on in 150 sounds EXACTLY like the complaints coming from San Diego. Major changes, no training and no mandates from the Board. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but the Superintendent does not operate in a vacuum, the Board is just as responsible for focused leadership as the Superintendent.