Monday, April 21, 2008

District #150-Continued Embarrassment to the City of Peoria

"Building Foundations" - Gaining more than trade skills, Pekin students learn to work together while constructing upscale homes. This article was in Sunday's edition of the JS on the "At Home page". While Pekin has more than 200 kids involved in this project, #150 has s number of fancy sounding vocational programs listed in classes offered but did not respond when I asked easy to answer questions like: 1. How many kids started and how many ended each program offered? 2. How many females and males? No answer from Dr. Fischer who I was referred to. My request was for 2006-2007. Since we are almost through 2007-2008 wouldn't you think she would have enough time to delegate to their huge administrative staff? Sure Caterpillar has some programs helping out in the system but they are making sure they get some kids who are hireable and can learn and hold a job.

While Peoria is building new schools, thinking new schools are the answer to their problems, searching lockers for guns with ammunition, baby sitting 3000 or more kids who are bored out their gourds because no one in the system (and their "parents"?) can sell them on the idea that dropouts aren't making it in this world and it is going to get worse in the near future. All the while people moving into are community are moving in out north or across the river. While more an more people move out of Peoria to better school systems, Pekin is moving 1100 or more students thru all types of Vocational Training.

I'm probably going to be leaving too when my County Board term is up, especially if my property tax reduction appeal to the state (along with approximately 3000 other homeowners appealing) is turned down. My wife and I will be paying over $3700 to a failing school system. Administration, the board and the destructive school unions point to all the successes they have every year failing to mention they SHOULD have a lot of successes out of 14,000 students, half of which drop out before their senior year, and $160,000,000.00 budget. Shouldn't taxpayers expect much more? And who is going to pay for the new schools? Peoria homeowners how are already paying $10,000 plus for every student ever year, the highest cost per student of any downstate school according to published reports in the JS.


dd said...

You raise a good point. I have always wondered why in a school district with a relatively high concentration of industry needing skilled trades, and with a vibrant trade union presence, the school district does not have a strong building trades program. Skilled trades such as carpentry, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc. will always be needed here. Why isn't there a strong trades program here. Is it because those skills are not on the standardized tests?

Merle Widmer said...

The elistists run this community. They have been trying to shake a "blue collar" image for decades.Example: Pekin is blue collar; Peoria is not. Their aim is to keep kids in schools even when these kids are bored by many of the subjects offered by the curriculum and teachers, many are competent, many are not, try to maintain enough order in the classroom to create a learning atmosphere. The community thru property taxes mainly, pay $10M a year to "educate" kids, a large number who haven't bought into the idea of being learners and participators Elistists would rather devote their time and money to museusms with cultural exhibits and arts and spend money on other "culture" entities like zoo's and libraries to upgrade our "culture", new buildings and fitness centers like the RiverPlex and throw their money at ineffective social organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and Community Builders. The Boys and Girls Club, which once provided a real learning experience for our kids is now more of a child care center especially as the former headquarters on Grinnell is closed for a year with no prospect for reopening. The programs being run after school at Trewyn by the Boys and Girls Club and Community Builders are little more than poorly run "baby sitting" programs with a moonlighting security officer blowing his whistle ever 5 minutes in attempt to prevent chaos.

Go visit. "Programs" start at 2:30 5 week days. In my 5 visits, I have never seen any meaningfull activity (unless you include horsing around with basketballs in the gym) for high school kids and when it's time for food to be served.

dd said...

I'm not sure that an elitest attitude is responsible for the lack of skilled trade training in Peoria. From what little I have read, it appears that Pekin is the exception and Peoria is the rule. Many school districts have dismantled industrial arts programs over the past 20 years of so. My guess would be it is more a function of costs (tools, equipment, etc) and the standardized test issue that I raised previously. Still, I think we agree, that a vibrant trade program for Peoria students would be a good thing. Is there some way that Peoria could bring together all the players to make this happen: Cat and some of the other industies in the area, Dist. 150, the trade unions, the after school providers you mentioned, and we could throw in ICC. The Trades run apprentice programs, but you need to be a HS grad or have a GED. Perhaps some coordination among these various players (maybe even some local gov't involvment?) could start something happening.

Merle Widmer said...

For over 14 years, I have talked from top to bottom of rank in authority to offer vocational training to kids who aren't interested in the traditional curricculum. Every board member, every administrator from Ed Griffith to Ken Hinton and they all agree we need to have programs like Pekin High offers.
Our current administartation won't even sum up where we stand in programs offered in their handbook including quantity of male and females that started participation and finished. Cat is evidently satisfied as they are quiet publiclky on the subject.

Dan Silverthorn and Bashir Ali are not quiet on the subject. ICC is the major beneficiary of the district's failure. Maybe that is the intention. Let kids who didn't get help in public schools turn to community colleges and to Workforce Network for the mostly "paid by the taxspayers" to get the training they need.

The JSEB is generally quiet on the failure of #150 to offer and "sell" the vocdational programs available not just at Pekin but by other local schools like Chillicothe and Limestone.

Cat is in a position to pick the best out of a limited quantity.

Mazr said...

I read that article in the homes secion of Sunday's Journal concerning the Pekin High School students who build a house which is then sold by the school.

You would think since 150 is in the housing business, they would start this program up.

Sam said...

Something that also amazes me about district 150 curriculum is that even today there is nothing taught concerning money, saving, finance. I remember when on my own I first learned about compound interest and investing. Man was I ever the money conscious. But instead when I attended Central the only thing I was taught was how to write a check properly. But today some 150 students are being taught Chinese for some reason instead of something more important and practical.