And Our Endorsed Candidates Are…

Change150 was honored to have 6 of the 9 candidates for the District 150 seats up for election on April 7th  participate in our vetting process.

A committee comprised of current district teachers and support staff, NAACP members, former administrators, a former District 150 School Board member, a District 150 parent and a representative from Change150 interviewed candidates to determine who would be the best choice to bring much-needed change to the District 150 School Board.  It is important to note that while we had representatives from these groups some of them, including the unions, are going to conduct their own independent vetting process’s.

Our vetting committee was impressed with all of the candidates and Change150 believes that each of the six would be an improvement over the current leadership in District 150, however Change150 can only endorse one candidate for each open seat.  After extensive interviews the vetting committee reached an overwhelming consensus.

Change150 is endorsing Dan Adler for the 5 year term seat and Ernestine Jackson for the 4 year remaining term seat.

Change150 is convinced that Mr. Adler and Mrs. Jackson provide the best opportunity for the much needed change and improvement in District 150 and will be superior representatives of the community as Board Members.

Change150 will throw the weight of our coalition behind these two candidates and looks forward to working with them and the community to win this election and to enhance the leadership of District 150.

 

C150 to Announce School Board Candidate Endorsements

MEDIA ALERT
January 25, 2015
Media Contact: Sea Stipe, Change150 Spokesperson
sea.stipe@change150.org

Change150 TO ANNOUNCE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS

 

PEORIA, IL January 25, 2015 – Change150 will host a press conference on Monday, January 26th at the Peoria Public Library – North Branch to announce their endorsements for the 2 open District 150 School Board seats for the upcoming April election.

When: Monday, January 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Where: Peoria Public Library – North Branch

What: A committee comprised of current district teachers and support staff, NAACP members, former administrators, a former District 150 School Board member, a District 150 parent and a representative from Change150 recently interviewed six of the nine school board candidates to determine who would be the best choice to bring much-needed change to the District 150 School Board. At Monday’s press conference, members of Change150 will announce the committee’s choice and Change150’s endorsement of two school board candidates – one for the open 4-year seat and one for the 5-year seat. Members of Change150 and both endorsed candidates will be available for questions.

For more information on Change150, our initiatives and our mission, please go to our website: www.Change150.org.

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Quan Chaney Interview on Royce and Rogers

Last week, the radio show, Breakfast with Royce and Rogers (90.7 FM WAZU), interviewed Quan Chaney, the basketball referee who encountered Dr. Lathan on the court at Mark Bills, prior to the game at which Harrison arrived late. Please listen as Mr. Chaney gives his account of the incident.

Quan Chaney Interview – 16 January 2015

 

 

A letter we received

Change150 received the following email describing the experience a referee had with Superintendent Lathan at a recent basketball game.

 

I have been reffing basketball for over 20 years. Never have I had the problem I had on 12/11/14.

All year, Harrison school has been over 15 minutes late for every game. There had been an email sent to refs saying let Harrison know games start at 3:30.

This day they were over 35 minutes late.

On 12/11/14 Harrison finally got to school, walking in very slow. They were not dressed to play or showing any urgency. I let coach know his team has 1 minute to get ready and that we are doing a running clock first half. Everyone was already there, waiting and ready to play.

From nowhere some lady comes up to me telling me that I can’t do that and what was I going to do.

I told her just what I told the coach. They have 1 minute to get ready and we are doing a running clock first half.

Now mind you, this person never said who she was or why she was even on the court talking to me.

So after she asked what I was going to do, I turned my back on her.

She raised her voice, telling me don’t turn my back on her.

As an official we don’t argue with anyone.

She yells her title.

It really meant nothing to me, so I walk away to start game.

I do the first half of game. Mid-3rd quarter, at a timeout, some guy comes to tell me I have to leave until I talk to her and say I’m sorry for turning my back on her.

This person has no right to be on court nor to tell me what I am going to do as an official. Everyone knows that. She should be respecting the rules and policies of the game she is coming to.

This is the type of action of someone pushing their title around, and I will not be one to not stand and let my voice be heard.

By right, I could have forfeited the game.

That night, I get a call saying if I say I’m sorry for turning my back on her, I can go back and ref the rest of the year.

I laugh at that. I will not say I’m sorry to someone that uses her title and pushes folks around, so I stand tall against this lady and hope this will start the removal of her from our schools and city.

Save the kids and our schools.

Peoria, stand up for the kids.

Quan Chaney

Nov 10 Board Speech – PFT Local 780 President, Jeff Adkins-Dutro

On the heels of the 2013-2014 ISAT test results being released, a number of people showed up at the November 10th Board meeting with plenty to say. We are posting several of the speeches here, with permission.

 

Jeff Adkins-Dutro

I have tried to approach the Board directly about the Charter Oak test scandal issue, but no pathway I have tried has borne fruit…so here I am at the podium.

Throughout last year’s ISAT investigation at Charter Oak, teachers who were questioned by the District’s attorneys answered all questions honestly and fully. They copied all of their ISAT preparation materials and turned them over to the District’s attorneys. They behaved professionally, not talking about the investigation and refraining from going to the press in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation.

For their forthrightness, compliance, and professionalism, they paid a terrible price. Although the State Board of Education determined there was NO cheating on the ISAT and not a single teacher’s license was revoked, the District turned what could have been a simple of tightening up ISAT preparation and ISAT special education protocols district wide into a scandal that dismantled a school and disrupted a community.

I drove to Springfield myself and talked to the ISBE. The person with whom I spoke could not fathom why this molehill had been turned into a mountain.

At the beginning of this investigation, the Peoria Federation of Teachers was told that the investigation was an effort to oust the principal and that our teachers would not be implicated. We knew better, and we prepared for the worst.

Taking the advice of our attorneys, we held our cards close to the vest instead of making sensational comments in an effort to go tit for tat with the District and the media. Whereas we played it smart legally and protected our teachers, our teachers’ reputations were smeared time and time again as the District played to the press, going so far as to have a public display, via their attorney, at a Board meeting and by PUBLICLY humiliating two of our teachers, teachers who were victims of lax ISAT training, not scoundrels who sat in a dimly lit room, changing answers on students’ answer sheets.

I am VERY proud of the teachers for the way they handled themselves, both the teachers involved in the investigation and the teachers who, throughout the process, helped do everything they could to maintain a sense of normalcy for the students at Charter Oak and our other 26 schools.

The teachers at Charter Oak met with the Union near the end of last year, and their main objective was to get things back on track at the school. The teachers worked hard last year and this year, hoping the dust had finally settled, and then the headline ‘ISAT Scores Down Sharply At Charter Oak’.

Certainly, anyone familiar with the turmoil last year would have predicted a sharp decline in student achievement to be reflected in the test scores. That said, ironically, the anomalies from the previous year’s test scores after a year’s worth of scandal, $100,000 in attorneys’ fees, and an upset in staff are still a mystery.

There are plenty of scapegoats but no real answers.

I asked the Board and the administration to stand up for Charter Oak after the most recent PJ Star article about the school. Had they, this speech would have been unnecessary.

I’d like to see the Board of Education, especially those of you who have toured Charter Oak and have seen the teaching and learning going on there, to speak up and come to the school’s and the District’s defense.

Nov 10 Board Speech – Change150 Vice President, Dan Dugal

On the heels of the 2013-2014 ISAT test results being released, a number of people showed up at the November 10th Board meeting with plenty to say. We are posting several of the speeches here, with permission.

Dan Dugal

I started preparing for tonight with a little research. I’m simply going to share summary highlights from a long list of peer reviewed studies.

  • “As a result of principal churn, students achieve less in both math and reading during the first year after leader turnover, and schools that experience principal churn year-after-year realize serious cumulative negative effects on students – a condition that is exacerbated for schools serving underprivileged students.”
  • “Principal churn causes student achievement to drop in Math and English Language Arts in the year following the vacancy, and it can take the next principal up to three years to regain forward progress for the school.”
  • “While highly effective principals create significant changes each year, it takes an average of five years to put a mobilizing vision in place, improve the teaching staff, and fully implement policies and practices that positively impact the school’s performance.”
  • “Rapid principal turnover has a negative effect on a school, affecting both school culture as well as student achievement.”
  • “Principals who stay in a school tend to be more effective than those who move to other schools
  • “Principal turnover has a direct negative effect on student achievement; the strongest impact comes immediately after a change in leadership.”
    “Leadership changes are particularly harmful for high poverty schools.”
    “Districts should aim to keep most principals in their schools for a minimum of four years, and preferably five to seven years.”
  • “Minimal Reduction In Principal Turnover Rates Can Save U.S. Public School System $163 Million Annually”
  • “Research shows that high principal turnover often leads to greater teacher turnover, which, in turn, can have a negative impact on student achievement and other schooling outcomes, as well as increase fiscal costs.”

Other reports also illustrated the high dollar cost of principal churn.
In a district like 150 that is strapped financially, the current practice of shuffling principals is not only counter-productive to student achievement; it is wasteful of district financial resources.

So while Dr. Lathan claims that our district must be wary of complacency and continues to shuffle principals year after year, research shows just the opposite is necessary – we need consistency and reduced principal churn to improve student achievement.

When she first arrived in Peoria, Dr. Lathan accused the previous administration and teachers across this district of educational malpractice.

Four years later, in case after case after case, whether it is principal churn, busing policies, watering down of the curricula, management style and many others, there is what peer reviewed research shows is effective, and then, there is what Dr. Lathan does. And we continue to see the results in places like this year’s heartbreaking ISAT scores.

The Peoria community deserves better.

 

Note: The research started with this study and the long list of references cited.

Nov 10 Board Speech – Parent, Kim Jones

On the heels of the 2013-2014 ISAT test results being released, a number of people showed up at the November 10th Board meeting with plenty to say. We are posting several of the speeches here, with permission.

 

Kim Jones

I know that I speak for several District 150 families when I say that I am frustrated with the constant flip flopping and misdirection of blame from the current District 150 administration.

My husband and I are in law enforcement. Our job is to seek the truth. Frankly, we have a hard time finding truth in what the District 150 administration says and does.

Just one year ago, ISAT scores were deemed SO important that you took drastic actions against alleged ISAT cheating that disrupted both an entire community and the entire city. ISAT scores seemed important then.

ISAT scores were also SO important just one year ago that Dr. Lathan’s Board-approved, $10,000 bonus was contingent on the District’s ISAT performance. Isn’t that ironic?

Based on the District’s dismal scores this year, Dr. Lathan should have to pay us taxpayers back the $10,000 plus interest for failing our children and our community.

Luckily for Dr. Lathan, NCLB isn’t our standard anymore, so she won’t be held accountable for the failing scores. Dr. Lathan can just say, ‘They’re not important. Move on.’

See the contradiction? The lack of truth? Where’s the accountability?

Second, Dr. Lathan has said she’s tired of everything being about Charter Oak. Yet, when the scores are released, she jumps at the chance to make negative comments about Charter Oak’s ISAT scores to the Journal Star.

Of course, she didn’t mention any other schools, even though they had showed declines in their scores, as well. When will enough be enough?

To add insult to injury, two weeks ago, Dr. Lathan’s mouthpiece, Chris Coplan, made inflammatory comments about Charter Oak to the Journal Star, insinuating that the entire school’s test scores were in question last year, instead of just a few students’ tests. These comments were misleading, mean-spirited, and unnecessary.

In fact, didn’t District 150’s own, well-paid attorneys and the ISBE say that there were no testing irregularities in the regular education tests?

Dr. Lathan, why would you allow such inflammatory comments that clearly contradict your own report? It is no wonder that people in Peoria don’t believe or trust the administration.

Where is the truth?

And on a personal level, Dr. Lathan, did you and/or Chris Coplan think for a minute about how Charter Oak’s children and teachers would feel about being called cheaters AGAIN? None of this is their fault, yet they are being vilified again by this administration and the media. It’s heartbreaking.

Finally, Dr. Lathan, when Charter Oak parents complained about the chaotic environment of the school and predicted that the scores would be lower because of it, you indicated that a school’s environment is irrelevant to a school’s performance. Yet isn’t that precisely what John Wetterauer was accused of? Not providing a safe and effective environment for testing?

With all the changes, new faces – both of 100 new kids and teachers, Board members, ISBE strangers monitoring the classrooms, and overall stress of the school last year, how could the students have performed well, given the chaos at the school?

And then the poor kids and teachers who were excoriated in the media of failing to perform by the very administration that created the chaos in the first place.

We need to know. 
When will the truth be told?

Nov 10 Board Speech – Citizen Activist Sharon Crews

On the heels of the 2013-2014 ISAT test results being released, a number of people showed up at the November 10th Board meeting with plenty to say. We are posting several of the speeches here, with permission.

Sharon Crews

To distance herself from ISAT scores, Dr. Lathan has stated, ‘I know we put the right structures in place, and we are going to stay the course.’

Dr. Lathan has been superintendent for all FOUR years that last year’s 3rd graders have been in school. What is the proof that this administration has laid the right foundation for their next nine years?

At the last meeting, Lathan showed displeasure and/or discomfort while criticisms about the Reading Mastery program were made from this podium. A consultant from North Carolina has already made over $140,000 and is about to make more to teach teachers HOW TO USE Reading Mastery. Please understand why were are inclined to suspect that expensive…and even wrong…educational choices have been made for very personal reasons.

The Board minutes show expenditures over $2500 as information items. Often, these expenditures are not reported to you in a timely fashion. What process is used to insure that each expenditure is within budget guidelines for purpose and cost?

Last year, improvements to the Admin building included about $31,000 for a camera system, consisting of 13 cameras, 16 camera licenses, and a motion detector.

Another $40,000 was spent on equipment for Ricketts. I am curious as to the purpose of this equipment. Surveillance or security? To watch for interlopers or to watch employees? To protect or to spy? Either your explanation or your unwillingness to explain might be of interest to the public.

At the last Board meeting, you discussed copy machines, and I believe I heard some questions about how much paper teachers used, maybe even some misgivings about the quantity of paper used. You did not question how much paper is used by administrators.

My guess is that no one questioned the $2100 spent on a new mahogany desk and credenza for the lawyer and other $630 for a desk and a filing cabinet for a front office. About $2700 was spent to install new carpeting on the 2nd floor. No invoice was provided for the carpeting itself. $9200 was spent on doors with an electrified panic device. THAT sounds ominous! Another $233,000 was spent on the roof of the Admin building. In one year’s time, $355,000 was spent on the Admin building.

WHEN will you make all of last year’s expenditures available on the web site? The 2013-2014 statement of affairs is not available on the web site.

And by the way, even with their drop, I think Charter Oak still came in 3rd out of the 11 primary schools.

Change150 To Host District 2 Town Hall

MEDIA ALERT
October 10, 2014

Contact:
Sea Stipe
Change150 Spokesperson
sea.stipe@change150.org
312-361-0838

CHANGE150  PLANS SECOND TOWN HALL MEETING FOR DISTRICT 2

    

 

PEORIA, IL October 10, 2014 – CHANGE150 is excited to announce the second of three town hall meetings, one for each voting district within Peoria School District 150.   The District 2 meeting is planned for  Saturday, October 18th.  A similar meeting was held in District 3 in October, with two of that voting district’s board members attending,  Rick Cloyd and Jon Bateman.  Community members may submit questions or express comments and concerns in advance or the day of the event, regarding issues with District 150.

 

  • Where: Glen Oak Christian Church, 1115 E Republic St, Peoria, IL 61603
  • When: Saturday, October 18, 2014, 10:30 am – 12:00 noon
  • Who: The panel will include representatives from: the Peoria Federation of Teachers, Local 780; retired District 150 Administrators; the NAACP; and Change150.   District 2 Board of Education members, Debbie Wolfmeyer, Linda Butler and Lynn Costic have been invited.  CHANGE150 is awaiting their responses.
  • Why: We believe our children deserve the best education possible, and that one way to achieve this is through honest, open dialogue between the school board and the community that they represent.   Change150 plans to lead this initiative by hosting and facilitating a series of town hall meetings to allow the public an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns.
  • How: Attendees may submit written questions at the meeting.  Additionally, the community may submit questions or comments in advance at info@Change150.org.

The goal of CHANGE150 is to unite Peoria’s communities because with a collective voice, we can be loud advocates for our children and for change.  For more information on CHANGE150, please go to www.CHANGE150.org.

Change150 Launches Candidate Search for Spring Elections

MEDIA ALERT

October 9, 2014

Media Contact: Sea Stipe
Change150 Spokesperson
sea.stipe@change150.org

 

CHANGE150 LAUNCHES BOARD MEMBER CANDIDATE SEARCH

PEORIA, IL  October 9, 2014 – Change150 would like to invite interested citizens of Peoria living in Peoria School District 3 to apply for our endorsement in the Spring 2015 Election of School Board.

For anyone who wants to be vetted and possibly endorsed by Change150, the application process includes: name, contact info, resume and answers to these three questions:

  1. What is the reason(s) that you would want to be a school board member?
  2. What qualifications or skills do you possess that would make you a good board member?
  3. What issues would you want to see addressed to improve the school district?

Once a candidate has his/her information & essays together, they should email it to apply@change150.org. This email goes directly to the vetting committee.

 

The application deadline is Monday, October 20th, 2014.

 

Once again, Change150 is facilitating the creation of an independent committee to vet candidates who want to be endorsed by Change150 and our partners. The committee members will include retired administrators, parents, and representatives from unions, NAACP, and Change150.

For more information on Change150, our initiatives and our mission, please go to www.CHANGE150.org.

 

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