Monday, July 21, 2008

Local: Still Swingin...

Many of our District 150 watch group were present at the last board meeting when Hinton proudly declared a victory with the State Board of Education for approving, in terms of state funding, their argument that a 1/2 day student improvement day could be utilized for teacher collaboration every single week. I foia'd and received copies of the correspondence with Mr. Darren Reisberg of the ISBE. Obviously, Mr. Hinton gets along very well with our friends at the State, and I'm glad that they are all glad that everyone had such great Holidays. Mind you, this is also the same rubber stamp outfit that just approved hundreds of bogus grants for fraudulent after school programs in the Chicago area. Last weeks Chicago Tribune reported:
"lawmakers funneled money through the Illinois State Board of Education, which rubber-stamped the choices.

Nearly half of the 48 groups that got money this past school year for "after school programs" were running dubious programs, or declined to show how they spent the money. Only 11 of the grants went to established programs with a history of tutoring or mentoring school-age children.

The state board oversight remains so feeble, in fact, that education officials in three cases handed out money to programs where felons, one a convicted murderer, worked with children."

What, you may ask, does this have to do with Peoria?

Because THESE are the same geniuses who just agreed to allow our District to distort the school code to deliver cutting edge precedent of reducing our children's time in school. Does anyone really think that our friends at the state feel responsible for the well-being of Peoria children? They obviously do not. That is a responsibility reserved entirely for our local board of education.

Our friends at the state confirmed that we are the ONLY district in the entire state that utilize 1/2 day student improvement days every single week. Is this something we should be proud of? Is this a concept that is so advanced, so trendsetting that other districts haven't discovered it yet? Of course not. No other district does it because it is clearly the wrong approach to providing common planning time for teachers.

Part of my FOIA included a request for the material presented to the state by the District to argue for the weekly 1/2 day student improvement day.

Leafing through it, I am incredulous. Did anyone from within the District even read it? In the dozens of examples cited of school districts around the nation, relatively few reduced the school day for the children, and none to the degree that is in the works for 150. Virtually every one of the districts referenced made time throughout the day for common planning. How did they do this? Exactly the way our group suggested back in April in our alternative proposals for teacher collaboration.

Another concern is the slant the District is painting for the support of early dismissal Wednesday. Mr. Hinton stated at the last board meeting that he had received numerous e-mails from teachers - 15 - 1 voicing support for Wednesday's early release. I doubted these claims, because our group has talked with hundreds of teachers, and we have met few in support. So about 2 weeks ago I foia'd the e-mails that Mr. Hinton referenced. I still have not seen them. If they exist, it is a simple matter to hit "fwd" on your desktop. District 150 should not be misrepresenting the level of community support for the shortened day.

This should also pertain to claims made by some on the board, and they know who they are, that there is only a vocal minority opposing this idea. If they truly believe that they need to look their sphere of influence in the eye and tell them to quit bull****ing them.

Once again, I strongly urge Peoria Public Schools to table the implementation of Wacky Wednesdays and the harmful consequences that can result, until they have the opportunity to properly plan for and implement common planning time the way it was intended to be implemented.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should have a response to your FOIA in seven days. It can be a request for another seven days, but they do have to respond.