I will try to run this as a weekly column. The award this week goes to Peoria District #150 Public School Board President David Gorenz. Dr. Gorenz is quoted in the JS on 10/1/08 as follows. "It's one of the most difficult issues districts face, how to get input."
This comment was made after the school board called another of it's numerous "community forums" and a handful of "concerned" citizens showed up. 6 or 7.
A note to the school board, if you want turnout, serve free food.
The JS reporter says their were a total of 13 parents, teachers and retired teachers. They talked about, responsibility, accountability and parental involvement. The JS said the "number of district employees doubled the number of those not employed by the district". 2 into 13 is 6. I know I dropped out of eighth grade when I couldn't understand basic arithmetic and felt I was "smarter than the teacher". Just kidding, I came from a community were you were taught responsibility from birth to death and my parents let the teachers teach and my parents "read" the reports the teacher sent home. My Dad and Mom never disputed what a teacher reported about me.
And yes, spanking, not beating, was in. My, how things have changed.
I've participated in several of these forums starting in 1994 and culminating in the granddaddy of all forums the big one called "THE SUMMIT" spread out over three days and involving about 200 people, half teachers and administrators and "paid forum agenda" leaders, the first day and a lot less the last two days. The board and administration were there to "guide" and "listen". The ideas were pared down to the 50 best. UNO was parental involvement. Sound familiar" #2 was reading at grade level, need I go on?? #14 was "adequate facilities for all". Now you know why a new school is being built in the most far Southeast corner of the city, not on student living on the East Side nor the South Side of this new school a'building. This school is backed right up into the corner. Only a wall around it will protect is from vandalism. Hope it doesn't have a lot of glass.
Can't blame just the school board. The architects involved in planning location, design, etc.; will make the big bucks on these new school projects.
Adequate means new in Peoria. And architects will convince you so. Witness the ongoing and forever library debacle. Don't forget the Gateway Building, the "for sale" mainly empty Bank Plus building and One Tech Plaza to name a few.
The board and administrations and consultants next conducted a closed door (deep) $60,000 study. Result a year later? The inputers found out they had been talking to themselves. Nothing much has changed. That is why only 6 or 7 showed up Tuesday and the school board doesn't seem to have much of a clue why so few showed up.
For more on the Education Summit read my blog dated 5/3/08. The Summit was billed as "The Future of Education in Peoria, Issues and Opportunities for Moving Forward in Peoria School District 150. Want a copy? I still have mine.
There are at least three positive things we can do.
#1 - Community leaders should buy everybody in the district a copy of Charles Murray's The REAL story behind our failing SCHOOL SYSTEM, titled, "Real Education", a book that reveals four rarely spoken truths behind students', abilities, aptitude, education and future. Nationally renowned and occasional JS Columnist Jonah Goldberg says Murray is "Arguably the most consequential social scientist alive."
#2 - Place all the kids not interested or not having the ability to be interested, in classes were they can learn a trade and more importantly, learn to work and listen. Hire people, some without non-teaching degrees but experienced in the trades and hire guards to protect the tradesmen. Dr. Fischer's efforts to do so have had very limited success when you consider the number of students who shouldn't be disrupting those who want a real education.
#3 - Change the mainly obsolete school system that is failing in most of the United States. I've outlined how to do that in my many blogs on the subject over the last 4 years. Won't be done in my lifetime; too much union dictatorship (dictators hate competition) over the "system" and therefore Democrat resistance to change and the apathy and lack of leadership of the rest of us.
Where am I getting with my efforts to reform? No place much in Peoria but there are many positive movements in other parts of the country.
Oh, yes, and scrap 80% of NCLB. Need I say more than this to George and Margaret, it "ain't" working.
We have a school board election coming up early next year. I doubt there will be more than one candidate per position. Who wants a 5 year sentence of criticism for no pay unless as the JSEB says they "have an axe to grind"? (Bob Baietto in 1994 for one)
Hope I'm wrong and we get some competent active or retired businesspeople on the board. And some disciplinarians who know how to deal with "egalitarian' lawyers. Hey, they need the taxpayers dollar, too.
Look for a new quote next week.