Showing posts with label Trayvon Martin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trayvon Martin. Show all posts

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.