Here, my friends, is the bracket you’re up against in your effort to win a free Landmark subscription. FIRST ROUND WINNERS: Kentucky, Purdue, Buffalo, Valparaiso, Texas, Notre Dame, Wichita State, Kansas, Wisconsin, Oregon, Wofford, North Carolina, Mississippi, Baylor, VCU, Arizona, Villanova, North Carolina State, Northern Iowa, Louisville, Providence, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Virginia, Duke, St.
SWEET SIXTEEN: Kentucky, Buffalo, Texas, Wichita State, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Baylor, Arizona, Villanova, Northern Iowa, Providence, Virginia, Duke, Stephen F. ELITE EIGHT: Kentucky, Wichita State, Wisconsin, Baylor, Northern Iowa, Virginia, Duke, Gonzaga. Grab a snack and your favorite beverage and settle in near a TV during some of the tournament games. If hired, your first assignment is to interpret this email sent out recently by Beverlee Roper, first district county commissioner in Platte County.
Heard an interesting observation recently by someone in regard to the wild and crazy growth projections school districts like Park Hill and Platte County R-3 have been spouting recently. When even those observers on the left side of the aisle are questioning projections of exploding enrollment, you know the school districts have a bit of a credibility problem on their hands.
Guy Speckman, publisher of the Savannah Reporter, has been on a roll with observations about public school spending, hitting home runs on a weekly basis.
The book entitled The Silence, The Series and The Season of Sungwoo by our man Chris Kamler becomes available this week. While many of us see an intersection of two state highways and think that would be a great place for a revenue-generating, respected public-serving entity like a QuikTrip, many folks at Parkville see an intersection of two major highways and think that would be a great place to plant a pawpaw tree or build a tribute to the hummingbird. Oh, and there’s more than just a scathing state audit facing some folks within the St. As Guy Speckman, publisher of the Savannah Reporter, wisely says in his column in our Other Voices item on this page, it should be a wake-up call for all local governments and the elected officials who serve on governing bodies. It’s time for those who serve on boards to stop nodding heads in agreement at every proposal placed in front of them and start asking some tough questions of those who serve underneath them. Based on what I’m about to remind you, there would seem to be reason to at least put this topic on your radar. In a story we did last April, The Landmark reported that Platte County R-3 had re-hired Westbrook and Co. Reik explained he used a rubric to determine which company was the best firm to meet the needs of the district.
In that same Landmark article from last April in discussing why he recommended taking Westbrook over the lower bidder, it was reported that Reik said Westbrook officials are very helpful. Congressman Sam Graves came walking into The Landmark office Friday afternoon carrying his lunch, which was a bag of fast-food from Sonic.
We saw this play out in 2011 and 2012 when projections of rapid and enormous growth in student enrollment at Platte County R-3 were making the rounds.
If that’s the case, Park Hill is now projecting a growth rate of as high as 666 students per year. We do know of a common denominator involved in those earlier wildly incorrect growth projections made at Platte County R-3 and the new ones being made at Park Hill. Architects make good money off of the construction of large, new, expensive buildings, am I right? Even one of the biggest government bureaucrats around, first district Platte County Commissioner Beverlee Roper, has been known to preach repeatedly against public debt. Check out the letter to the editor on this page for the first return volley against Reik’s comment.
My guess is that if R-3 had a very low amount of debt per student, proponents of the proposed tax increase would be touting that as a very positive sign of the district’s fiscal health and past financial management practices.
After many hours of thoughtful deliberation (in other words, in a 30-second conversation that consisted of yelling to each other while walking out separate doors of a building), Chris Kamler and I have decided upon a date, place and time for his book signing event in Platte County. His book is about the Kansas City Royals and that Korean dude who flew in during the Royals’ magical 2014 season.
We’ll have the official Landmark Newspaper Plinko board set up for anyone willing to give it a whirl. You’ve read stories in this fine newspaper about crimes occurring at Platte County hotels in what is known as the KCI corridor along Interstate 29.
Last week’s event that you saw on our front page featured gunshots when perpetrators fired at a person who had spotted someone in his pickup in a hotel parking lot.
If hotel staff members are debating whether a situation warrants a call to 9-1-1, that’s when they need to call 9-1-1, Lewis said. Sheriff Owen backed up the KC police official’s concerns about shoplifting in the corridor.
So public transportation, the lack of which is cursed by economic development officials who blame it in part for a perceived shortage in available workforce, has its downside in the law enforcement arena. FYI, Lewis mentioned the Kansas City Police Department’s North Patrol division leads the Kansas City metro area in the number of vehicles stolen while the engine is running with the doors unlocked. Does the Quality Platte County R-3 Schools committee realize the owner of the consulting firm they hired has compared their election campaign to O-rings under a toilet? A reader sent me this question: If the Platte County R-3 proposal is so great why do they need a nationally-known political consultant to make their case? Word on the street is that the Quality Platte County R-3 Schools committee will be using a political consulting firm in an effort to help it pass the proposed 43-cent tax levy increase in the April 7 election.
The political consulting firm that has been contacted by Quality Platte County R-3 Schools?
Laura Hulett, deputy treasurer for the Quality Platte County R-3 Schools committee, would not verify whether the committee has hired a consulting firm.
Two weeks ago I reached Roe on his cell phone to ask him whether his company has struck a deal to assist the R-3 pro-tax group. Roe told me he didn’t know if his company has a deal in place with the R-3 pro-tax committee.
These are the types of conversations that two guys who generally don’t give a crap have with one another.
If you take some time to digest the situation in its entirety, let’s not be totally shocked by the alleged partnership of R-3 pro-taxers with the normally anti-tax firm of Axiom. Axiom did work for a Kansas City zoo tax proposal not too many years ago, so this wouldn’t be the first time it has consulted on the pro-tax side of an issue.
Sources inside the administration building say Nancy Armstrong, new county clerk, has disposed of at least one of the employees she had inherited from previous clerk Joan Harms. Check out the coverage of a couple of important local business stories on our front page this week by assistant editor Valerie Verkamp.
And what about the gunfire outside a Platte County hotel after a witness approached three black males who were allegedly performing smash-and-grabs upon vehicles in the parking lot?
No matter how hectic a day I might be having, when I see someone about to walk in the front door of the local license bureau office I realize my day isn’t so bad after all.
There are some interesting-looking dudes and dudettes doing business at that location every day.
Kansas City-area community centers are throwing out vending machines and switching to healthy food snack options, so from now on you’ll have to sneak in your own Twinkies and Ho Hos. Some of the early reaction by county commissioners to the four proposals for Shiloh Springs Golf Course that came in from potential management firms is fascinating. Beverlee Roper, first district county commissioner, must have had a good night’s sleep the night before because she actually seemed focused and on point for most of the Shiloh discussion.
Other than that Groundhog Day reference which thankfully was ignored by the other two commissioners, Roper made some common sense comments and observations, which means by next meeting she’ll be ready to run from the stances she took this week. Roper pointed out it looks to her that Shiloh was designed postage stamp style on a piece of property, rather than flowing in a more unlimited manner that a golf course designer probably would have liked.
Duane Soper, second district commissioner who is a golfer and user of the Shiloh course, countered that he thinks Shiloh can one day make money.
Now is the time to start focusing on ways to cut losses, move on and get rid of the annual financial drain. There’s a lot of studying that will need to be done to sift through the gory details of Martin’s proposal, but my first reaction? And here’s another benefit, especially for supporters of the parks department who may not be avid golfers. As you’ll see in our story inside this issue, Parkville and Platte City have police budgets that amount to an expenditure of $229 per resident. According to information gathered by DJ Gehrt, city administrator for Platte City, Riverside’s police budget equates to $1,006 per resident of Riverside. As your Landmark heads to press Wednesday, we’re being told the thermometer will hit 70 degrees later this afternoon.
That being said, I wouldn’t mind having to kick my pickup into four-wheel drive at least once this winter. The Quality Platte County R-3 Schools committee, the campaign organization promoting passage of the 43-cent tax levy question on the April ballot, is already at work. In 2012, Platte County R-3’s levy increase proposal was soundly defeated 55% opposed to 45% in favor. We will assume that’s a Platte City address, though the paperwork does not list the city, state or zip.
Deputy treasurer is listed as Laura Hulett, who is employed as a public relations person by the school district.
Missouri Ethics Commission finally posted a copy of the agreement it reached with the Park Hill School District after Park Hill was found to have committed an ethics violation (see Landmark front page in Jan. Conditions were a little weird covering President Obama’s trip to the region Thursday. I don’t know who was in charge of deciding in what setting this speech would be held, but it turned into a barn-like event inside what they called the Anschutz Sports Pavilion.
This was my fourth time covering an Obama appearance in the KC area, Valerie’s third. Tuesday night I headed to City Hall in downtown Platte City for a meeting of the economic development subcommittee. These various Platte City subcommittee meetings, while often newsworthy, are also often very short.
We did get to hear a presentation from Bo Woodruff about AMVETS’ fundraising efforts to acquire a tankchair, which is a heavy duty off-road wheelchair. If you’re wondering how acquiring a tricked out wheelchair for community use winds up being tagged as an economic development discussion, join the club. While I strongly support the acquisition of the contraption, hope the fundraising effort is successful, and agree the wheelchair would be beneficial to local disabled persons, I would not anticipate a flood of new economic activity being generated because of it. Next on the agenda for the economic development subcommittee was an item dealing with shredding of older city documents. Platte City Mayor Frank Offutt let it be known that the city turns 175 years old in 2015 and there will be some kind of celebration--or at least an observance of some sort--tentatively set for Saturday, July 4. The mayor also informed the economic development subcommittee that an anchor from the USS Platte, a former fleet oiler vessel, is available to the city. The mayor indicated the anchor will be placed in the city’s small park next to the Platte River at the foot of Main Street, which has a name but most of us only know it as the small park next to the Platte River at the foot of Main Street.
It has been great to have the skills of assistant editor Valerie Verkamp back on The Landmark news beat the past couple of weeks.
Occasionally it becomes time to clean out my news notebooks, review those sticky notes attached to my desk and place any news nuggets into this column space before I forget to get them distributed to the fine readers of this newspaper.
You hear that term quite often this time of year when the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is making choices for at-large berths into the men’s college basketball championship tournament.
Unless the city has evidence of wrongdoing--which it apparently does not have at this point, despite some occasionally unsavory accusations--Nan should let this one go.
The eye test also says the current mayor squirms a bit in her chair when Jones speaks up at meetings.
Roper fired off the email to a circle of friends and alleged supporters, at least one of whom wanted to be sure that I saw it.
Either way, if you’re a taxpayer to the Platte County R-3 district you helped pay the tab. This observation came from the Line Creek Loud Mouth blog, a blog not known for conservatism, by the way. We pay people administrative salaries, yet give them menial job tasks that could be done by far less expensive employees.


We’ll have some available for purchase in The Landmark office, 252 Main Street, Platte City. This time, there is no McDonald’s included in the site plan for the intersection of Highway 45 and Highway 9. Joseph School District had been using the same auditing firm, Westbrook and Company, that Platte County R-3 has used for years?
Employees who work at management levels inside school districts and other units of government often develop friendly relationships with particular firms.
The district chose an auditing firm with a price 26% higher than an equally qualified bidder. Platte County Sheriff Mark Owen dropped in our office Tuesday afternoon and commented he was on his way back to his office and had lunch sitting in his car. The Landmark was at a meeting of the Park Hill School Board in December when it was remarked the district has grown by about 150 students per year over the past 30 years. That seems the stuff of fairy tales, fantasies, and revenue projections at the county golf course. The common denominator is that there has been input in developing those projections by the architectural firm Hollis and Miller.
If you don’t know what The Landmark Plinko board is, check out a recent picture posted on my Facebook page.
Thugs are breaking into vehicles and stealing items in what the police call smash-and-grab crimes. It was recovered near 82nd and Troost in Kansas City, unoccupied, obviously with holes in the windshield.
It pisses me off,” said Major Roger Lewis, division commander of the North Patrol Division for the Kansas City Police Department, about the rising number of crimes in the KCI corridor. Owen says since the public transportation bus stop was put in near Wal-Mart on Barry Road shoplifting in that area has seen a marked increase. Kansas City police and the Platte County Sheriff’s Department have formed a task force to study the issue of crime in the KCI corridor and what steps can be taken by law enforcement to prevent incidents and to solve the ones that do occur. The only sources declining the opportunity to confirm it are the official spokespeople for Axiom and the campaign committee. Axiom Strategies has built a name for itself by fighting against things like tax increases, not in favor of them. Roe was in Texas that day, a state where he is spending much time in helping to guide the likely presidential campaign of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Not only did it have an ill-advised, poorly-timed proposal it was trying to sell, but to make matters worse R-3’s pro-tax increase campaign was outfoxed and unprepared in 2012 when its levy question was hammered by voters 55-45%.
Dairy Farmers of America announces it is moving out of Platte County the same week that Valerie was already doing a feature story on efforts the Platte County Economic Development Council makes to retain existing businesses in the county.
Gotta say I think a reality show or video podcast based on the adventures of the attorneys and defendants who enter the hallowed halls of the Owens Lee Hull Jr. See our front page story for more details, but I’ll summarize some of the highlights that hit me while sitting in on their discussion Monday. A couple of times she actually sounded like the promising 2012 candidate Roper instead of the hugely disappointing officeholder Roper. Like many of us with no emotional investment in the sport of golf, Roper doubts Shiloh will ever make money. He also said he does not want the county to sell Shiloh, using the defense that taxpayers have already spent $10 million over the years at the golf course. That fits the wishes of Soper and others like him who don’t want the course to go away. Getting rid of Shiloh frees up many $$$ that can be used on other park projects, projects that wouldn’t be developed by private industry.
Based on some questions they’ve posed in an online survey, it looks like the Vote Yes side has determined its magic number is 2,000, as in they believe it will take 2,000 yes votes for the issue to pass.
That same address on NW 126th is listed as the address for the organization’s treasurer, Vic Perrin. 14 issue) in last year’s laptop levy campaign that was hammered by voters 61% opposed to only 39% in favor. Under the deal, Park Hill must adopt a procedure that, in the future, the superintendent or his designee will review all publicly-funded informational items related to ballot issues prior to distribution. As you know by now and can see on our front page, the president came to Lawrence for a speech at Kansas University.
Yes that sounds indoors, I understand, but there were doors open on the backside of the audience next to the media tables. Of course since we featured Bo and this topic on the front page a couple of weeks ago, Landmark readers are well aware of this topic. It did seem like an odd setting for Bo’s fine presentation, but apparently the city leadership believes every potential topic for the full board of aldermen needs to be vetted by some subcommittee.
On Tuesday night there was at least one piece of newsworthiness to come out of that hour of our lives that we’ll never get back.
Please duly note the dates of the Big 12 Tournament and let’s not schedule your book signing to conflict with those days. If you missed her byline there for a bit, it’s because Valerie was enjoying a winter-time tropical vacation to an undisclosed location. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that her boss back at The Landmark ordered the attack by the squishy fish assassin as some sort of payback for leaving him temporarily overworked. Check out the ample parking space available on Platte City’s Main Street at most hours of the day.
Do you know how much money the park tax will generate this year if it ends 14.6% ahead of 2014? Second place gets an autographed copy of Landmark columnist Chris Kamler’s new book The Silence, The Series and The Season of Sungwoo.
Basically, our contest is won or lost in the later rounds because later round victories are rewarded with more points than the early rounds. Parkville--home of golf carts legalized as street vehicles, parks, nature areas, parks, nature areas and did I mention parks--can be a bit quirky when it comes to proposed development. You were elected to lead, not to be led by the paid professionals on staff at whatever public entity you’re serving.
Don’t just list the elected position on your resume and think warming a seat at meetings is all you need to do. But Westbrook’s reputation is no doubt taking some hits after what has been revealed in St. Joseph School District’s experience, it might be time to re-evaluate some things like longstanding relationships with particular firms, not only in the field of auditing but in other service categories. So incorrect, in fact, that the district has trashed those earlier numbers and toned down its most recent predictions of growth to a level less likely to trip the crazy meter. The tone at Park Hill has changed in recent weeks, not surprisingly at a time when the district is now pushing the need for a major facility expansion (see last week’s front page).
This thing better have some pictures in the early pages or I’m going to need a shock collar to get through it. The plan is to set up shop on the sidewalk in front of The Landmark office that Friday afternoon, maybe around 2-ish or 3-ish, and hang out through the early evening hours. Suspects--police say there were four black males involved--opened fire at the witness through the windshield of the suspects’ stolen Mercedes.
Lewis made the comment Friday morning while addressing a group of hoteliers in a meeting called for the purpose of talking about the recent criminal activity that has occurred on and around their properties. The more public knows the better steps they can take to protect themselves and their property. That’s why the type of vehicles most often hit are pickups and SUVs--vehicles most often driven by folks who would have a weapon inside. One night last week, Lewis said, a clothing store in Zona Rosa was hit with a $10,000 loss in one shoplifting incident.
Axiom is a very successful multimillion dollar company now with a national presence and a lot of irons in the fire. Armstrong had walked out of the office, apparently so she wouldn’t have to see the carnage she had ordered.
Well, except the part where she announced for no apparent reason that she went to college with the daughter of the mayor of Punxsutawney, Pa. Martin wants to run Shiloh by aligning a group of investors to operate the course as a non-profit for a few years, then mentions he would make a $1.2 million offer after three years to buy the course from the county. The private sector has done a fine job of handling golf courses in Platte County in recent years. My guess is we’ll be back again the next time a president, Obama or otherwise, comes to the area. Give me a meeting that is not time-consuming yet has some news value in it and all is right with the world.
Despite the 87 other things I needed to be doing at the time, I headed down there anticipating--hoping for is probably a more accurate description--a 30-minute meeting, tops.
After the mayor’s presentation about the 13-ton anchor from the aptly named USS Platte--which has been out of commission since 1999--being available, the committee recommended the city spend the $3,000 to have the big-ass anchor shipped here from New Orleans. If past performance is any indication, Landmark office manager Cindy Rinehart is considered among the front runners to come in last, but if that happens any potential prize will go to someone else.
The portion of the letter that needs explanation deals with some bizarre remarks Roper makes about development potential at KCI Airport.
It has taken six years for the housing market to recover and the trend for the next generation is marrying later and not having more than one kid.
Anyone that thinks public education is not a train off the financial tracks is simply ignoring the facts that are in front of us every single day.
Also, Chris is hosting a book launch party this Friday night, March 13 at Dirk’s bar and grill in Platte Woods. Read the contents of a blistering state audit that was just conducted on that school district. Realize that the paid professionals don’t have the same level of ownership in your entity that you do. Reik said it is Westbrook’s thorough audit and helpful attitude that makes them the company many school districts turn to for their auditing needs. Change can be inconvenient for some staff members but overall change is a good avenue of protection for patrons and taxpayers. A stray bullet traveled through a first floor hotel room window and struck a sleeping guest in the leg. I’m not sure how somebody gets away with $10,000 in one night of shoplifting, but police say it happened. A local school tax levy campaign is small potatoes in Roe’s world, as he let me know in our phone conversation. The question is, will the campaign have enough contributed money available to throw to Axiom for the firm to do the campaign any good? Getting Shiloh off the county parks department books would free up tax dollars for other amenities and services not offered by the private sector.
If the district commits any further violations within a two year period , then Park Hill will be required to pay the remainder of the fee. Double garage-sized industrial doors--which allowed a pretty damn crisp wind to blow through on a cold day.
It will require a crane to unload and place the massive object, and Absolute Crane of Platte City can do that for $800, the committee heard.
It is unbelievable that there are still folks who want to fight when it is suggested the rate be cut slightly to allow a portion of that half cent sales tax to fund more basic services, such as law enforcement. Public education insiders were quick to totally destroy the last education reform issue on the ballot, and probably for good reason. Some things in there will anger you, frustrate you, amaze you, and most of all should put you on alert. Realize that those paid professionals you may have come to believe will always be there are often thinking of their next step on the career ladder, the next job that they may see as bigger and better. Particularly in a case like this one, where a change would also have meant saving significant taxpayer dollars.
Justice Center and the Pool Hall, with the hope being that borderline nut jobs and some slightly boozed-up folks will be more likely to buy a book.


It seems like the incidents are getting more violent each week,” the sheriff told me later.
Axiom can work wonders but it takes significant dollars, not chump change, to put its recommendations into action.
Roper also was strong in expressing her desire to have the county explore the idea of selling the Shiloh property to a developer rather than mandating it be kept as a golf course. It should be noted this is not a lot of $$, but it sends a message that leadership at the district is not living up to ethical standards in elections. And keep in mind because of the security factors involved in presidential visits, the media must be set up and in place for a couple of hours in advance of the speech. Yet I don’t see these same insiders promoting any plans that will curtail the squandering of millions of dollars on public education waste that has been created nationally, regionally and locally. It’s your job as an elected official to look out for your local taxpayers and patrons because your paid professional is looking out for number one. Based on the established growth trend of 150 students per year, that level would be reached about the year 2030. I wish I had a buck for every time this newspaper has had to put a verbal squeeze on law enforcement spokespeople to get basic public right-to-know information from them.
This is never good for an administrator’s job security nor for the district as a whole in trying to win over the hearts and minds of the taxpaying patrons it serves. So, yes, assistant editor Valerie Verkamp and I were basically locked in a deep freeze for hours that day. Your Landmark editor, crazily thinking, you know, that the president would be speaking in normal indoor conditions--in other words, not with an Alaskan wind blowing on the media tables--didn’t even wear a coat into the place.
He is co-author with Mamie Till-Mobley of her Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, He points out that, in addition to being the 47th anniversary of the Rev. At least someone had taped a letterhead with the presidential seal on it on the door of the media’s porta potty (a unisex porta potty, pity the poor ladies, this thing had been abused if you know what I mean) to add a touch of class. Whatever the reason, if we can effectively judge the caseload of the courts by the number of cars parked out front, the caseload has decreased noticeably. As an African American whose family had barely escaped Southern atrocities, she recognized the potential pushback when you stepped out of place.
How do we respond when the lynching is verbal, not physically fatal (most of the time) and the klan has its own network, which is the most watched in the US? Telling the truth and exposing these people for what they are and what they do is important, but it won't be enough.
That was so long ago that the small schools at Orr High School, whose LSC signed on as original plaintiffs, have been closed again and reopened under the auspices of AUSL (for more about AUSL, read the latest here). It would also mean that it was more important to get accurate, useful information that could be used to help schools and students. Who needs that when you can damn schools with data?No, it's far more important for testing to be "standardized" - that is, given at the same time to everyone, according to state supt.
Chris Koch's rationale: "This is the state's attempt to say, 'How can we treat everyone the same and everyone fairly?a€?It may be standardized but that doesn't make it fair.
The On the Issues site provides a list of statements by Kirk on education and his education-related votes as a congressman. It suggests that he is a moderate on social issues such as school prayer and green schools. Kirk got into some trouble earlier this year when he claimed that he's influenced by his experience as a teacher, which turned out to consist of a year at a private high school in London and another as a teacher aide at a church run nursery school. There's a third candidate who deserves some attention, too -- LeAlan Jones, the Green Party candidate. I remember him well when, as a 13-year-old, he and a friend reported on life in the Chicago projects for National Public Radio. Senator, and will have the responsibility to make critical decisions about education along with every other issue before Congress. Rick has been a staunch advocate for public school children and families, and for Local School Councils. We know that too many of them don't. Even on a traditional calendar, non-air conditioned schools can be ovens, places where it's too hot to learn and too unhealthy to stay.
CPS district offices? Most of our currently-used schools were designed to be closed during the summer, just as they were designed without lunchrooms because all the children went home for lunch. At least health codes address some of the worst sanitation problems that schools without lunchrooms face. CPS claims that its so-called year-round school schedule is better for students, but the proof of that is slight.
Teachers should move their classes to municipal cooling centers until CPS does the right thing and upgrades every school so that children have a reasonable chance to learn. That's not much time, and the appeal is supposed to go to the Chief Education Officer, a position that has had no person in it since Barbara Eason-Watkins left for Michigan City. Usually the appeals go to the Chief Area Officers. Good News was a modestly successful program; the church was in the very needy North of Howard area of Chicago and ran a well-attended food program. The down side we saw was a lack of interest in supporting the local school council at the nearby public school, which went through a traumatic time after the district refused to allow the LSC-appointed principal to serve. They claimed that the price of food was going down, so hungry people won't need so much. As House Finance Chair David Obey, who proposed the RTTT swap, said, "Well, isna€™t that nice. Why is it the responsibility of Chicago community colleges to spend $30 million a year to pick up lost math and reading skills?" Chico said. "I'm not saying that as a society we shouldn't be charged with doing that someplace. But why is it placed in the lap of higher education?" (Sun-Times 8-8-10) I guess it just slipped Chico's mind that he is in large part responsible for the math and reading skills of these very students.
A student who started preschool in 1995, when Chico was appointed president of the Chicago School Board by Mayor Daley, would have been in fourth grade -- when most of the fundamentals of reading and math should have been laid down -- when Chico left that position in 2001. These books were written in 2004 and 2005 in response to many requests to help start PURE chapters around the country, and from folks who just wanted to know how to create a powerful parent organization. It explains why folks in power hate to fund schools adequately and demand "accountability" using methods that destroy rather than strengthen schools. The President's speech to the National Urban League was in large part a defense of these programs against the many concerns that have been raised about whether they are the most effective ways to reform U. Obama suggested in his speech that people who oppose his proposals may simply be a€?afraid of change.a€? A few days earlier, he threatened to veto any attempt to use even a small portion of funding for his controversial Race to the Top program to save thousands of teacher jobs. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stonewalls critics of his department's demands for charter expansion who cite the research on the overall poor performance of charters nationwide; he offers the nonsensical excuse that he doesn't support charter schools, he only supports good charter schools.
Today, columnist Leonard Pitts tells opponents of the President's plans to a€?lead, follow or get out of the way.a€? Perhaps the most important moment of the President's Urban League speech was his paraphrase of Dr.
In a democracy, education reform cannot be defined only by legislators, politicians, and corporate and media leaders. Pitts' piece repeats much of the empty, nonsensical rhetoric we just heard in the president's and Duncan's recent speeches to the National Urban League, speeches that were in large part responses to the powerful opposition that has been raised against RTTT and the proposed School Improvement Grant program by civil rights, community, parent and teacher groups. For today's  Public School Action Tuesday, why not respond to Pitts by leaving a comment after his article here, or write to a newspaper or comment on a blog of your choice opposing RTTT programs such as test-based teacher firing, school closures, and expanded charter schools, and in support of fair, research-based teacher evaluation or other sound education reforms? One notorious example was when Mayor Daley's favorite "superstar" principal, Curie High School's former head Jerrylyn Jones, handed out folders with copies of petitions demanding that the LSC renew her contract, instead of the budget and school improvement plan information the LSC had requested as part of her annual evaluation.Other principals refuse to give documents to individual LSC members, and insist on a vote of the full LSC before they provide information, another ridiculous excuse.I recommend that LSC members download and file this article - you may need it!
And keep the phone and address of the Attorney General's Public Access Counselor handy - they have become a great resource for LSCs.
The web site also offers free online training in the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act, which would be a good choice for your LSC lessons 7-8- or 9.
The dread Status-Quo is on the loose! Both Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama are on the defensive this week about their education plans after a group of civil rights organizations challenged the basic elements of the administration's Race to the Top and Blueprint for Reform plans, adding a powerful voice to the increasingly loud complaints coming from other sectors across the nation about the direction Duncan and Obama are trying to take public education. Your Public Schools Action Tuesday assignment for today, if you choose to accept it, is to give a gift to PURE. The internet gives us so many new opportunities for reaching people with our message and our perspective. That's what it's like to be a CPS principal these days in terms of trying to figure out how to lead your school in the coming year. "I'm growing more concerned about the planned rise in 'combined-grades' [not to be confused with multiage or ungraded] classrooms, due to the teacher layoffs and increased class sizes. You wind up scrambling the days before school opens, and the week the students return, just to figure out who's who and 'where' they are in terms of their next learning steps, based upon their test scores from spring (=old data, let's face it) plus your expert judgment of children's learning needs. THEN you have to scramble to quickly sort 'em all out into their learning groups so that by Week 5 you can administer the required District curriculum-based tests (half of which you'll now have to create from the new curriculum you're teaching, due to the other grade-level's children in your room).
I fear not a whole lot of learning--through no fault of the teacher or the kids or the parents. "I also fear this will be the proverbial 'final straw' on teachers' backs--and we'll lose some fine folks in our system." What can we do? Join the CTU for a community summit on the CPS budget, Saturday, July 24, from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Ariel School, 1119 East 46th Street. Anthony House yesterday, opining that a field trip would have gone a long way toward improving my sense of local history. Not so surprising is that the Frederick Douglass museum, just down the block, is still very much a work in progress.Anyway, I loved the tour and especially loved the sculpture, in a little park midway between the Anthony house and the struggling Douglas Center, depicting Susan B. This means, he said, "notification, outreach, public input, and honest, open discussion about the right option for each community." Unfortunately, Duncan's track record in Chicago makes us skeptical that this is anything more than empty rhetoric. His efforts to "involve the community" in turnrounds here meant that perfunctory hearings were held where hundreds turned out to offer powerful testimony about a school's strengths along with thoughtful, research-based suggestions about how to support and improve the existing school, yet Arne Duncan ignored it all and shut the schools down.
This means that Arne Duncan must begin really listening to parents, and the only way we will know that he is actually hearing us is when he begins to modify the RTTT and ESEA proposals that parents so strongly oppose and replace them with solid, proven programs that parents want.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan for changing this federal education law.The signers and hundreds of other parents sent this letter to their congressional representatives. While many are saying that a revised (reauthorized) ESEA is unlikely to be voted on before the fall elections, revised language is being hammered out in committee right now, and it may be too make meaningful changes later on in the process. Here are a couple of things that many in Congress still seem unaware of:Parents, students and community members join teachers across the nation in opposing the major elements of Race to the TopCharter schools are not working as hyped, and in fact the majority are not performing as well as regular public schools.
Durbin is one of thirteen senators who recently wrote a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee chair Sen. Daniel Inouye opposing this bill, which was formulated by the chair of the House Education committee, Rep. Leonie offers a thorough analysis of the damage and dishonesty of the Gates Foundation's incursion into public school policy making. Urban Prep Charter School still has a 100% college-going rate with ALL 95 graduating seniors going to college!Problem is, for the past few weeks, the orgy of happy-weepy media reports about the Urban Prep Miracle was that all 107 graduating seniors were going to college (see, for example, People Magazine, Good Morning America, "Urban Prep Named Person of the Week on ABC World News).  So, since their first self-promotional blitz, they've lost 12 students (the Sun-Times suggests they "transferred") ? This yields an overall school graduation rate of 64%, or nearly 6 points lower than the average district rate of 69.8%. Yet no one is "socially promoted" because no one moves until they are ready. And in these tough economic times, doesn't it make a lot more sense to stop doing something that is expensive and doesn't work -- flunking students -- and start doing something that actually helps them?
A new documentary, Waiting for Superman, will soon be released and we are working on getting Examiners free, possibly sneak preview access, to this film.
Wea€™d like you to participate in screening the film and covering the critical education issues it addresses. Wea€™ll also be promoting content related to the film, profiling profound teachers making a difference.
We know that these schools push out lower-performing students and refuse to even admit many special education or limited English-speaking students.
And, overall, research shows that charter and other corporate-run schools are doing a worse job than traditional neighborhood schools. In fact, one of Arne's greatest assets is his ability to lie with a pleasant, non-threatening smile on his face.
And that's a problem because, if Congress believes his lies, they will pass his ideas into law. It's time to tell the truth about Arne Duncan, what he's done here in Chicago, and what he's trying to do to our children's education. However, we strongly disagree with your opposition to paying for this initiative with funds previously allocated for Race To the Top (RTTT) strategies, teacher pay-for-performance programs, and charter school expansion.
While you characterize these strategies as a€?sweeping reforms,a€? we believe that they are unproven, reckless, wasteful experiments which put our most vulnerable children at risk.
However, we strongly disagree with your opposition to paying for this initiative with funds previously allocated for Race To the Top (RTTT) strategies, teacher pay-for-performance programs, and charter school expansion. You call these programs a€?vital,a€? a€?bold,a€? and a€?critical reform efforts.a€? We see the Obey amendment as a win-win situation.




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