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Linda Burke April 24, 2014 at 06:00 am
Mr. Corcoran and the board majority have been far from transparent with the public about theirRead More agenda to malign and punish our teachers, even as they add expensive new administrators and lavish taxpayer dollars on other purposes remote from education. I have seen the charts comparing teacher salaries and benefits to the CPI. Here is what they are NOT telling us: District 86 has a long history of fiscal conservatism, with per pupil expenditures substantially lower than other districts in our academic league, including New Trier Township, the Glenbrooks, and others. The current majority know all about these comparisons--they just aren't telling us. They also know that our teachers' salaries, while competitive as they need to be, are far from the highest compared to other Chicago-area high school districts. Up until 2014, one way we maintained fiscal conservatism, while still attracting the best teachers, was to minimize spending on administration and the business office-but not anymore. It is especially misleading to show that health care benefits for teachers exceed, by a small margin, the CPI, without providing any context. Nowhere in America does health care spending track the CPI--it is higher everywhere. In fact, the rise in health care cost for D86 is small, by national standards. We need to question every statistic that comes from this board majority. They are now denying that their reduction in the number of teachers--when student population is rising--will have any adverse impact on class size and section numbers, when this is obviously untrue. They told an outright falsehood about school nurse compensation. But that would be the subject of a different posting--I don't want this one to get too long.
Joseph R. Martan April 24, 2014 at 11:41 am
When I graduated from LT in 1967 we were told that we were the second best high school in IllinoisRead More (New Trier was number one) and among the top ten nationally. Now New Trier is #15 and LT is #40?!? What has happened in the intervening decades. If the proposal to do away with class rank is any indicator I suspect my alma mater is succumbing more and more to the trendy aspects of modern education and moving away from expecting accomplishment.
Geneva Taxpayer April 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm
@Herc, that's because Joliet high schools make you ready for McDonalds, not college.
Herc April 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm
LOL @Geneva, I don't think Geneva's are much better.
Tammy Prentiss, the newly appointed assistant superintendent of special education for Hinsdale high school district.
Ken Wilson April 23, 2014 at 09:27 pm
A strong hire, all the more power in exceeding expectations. The community is excited to see D86Read More take ownership of their special ed program in house as opposed to the outsourcing model, and is grateful to have attracted and hired a leader suitable for the challenge.
Sue Pircon April 9, 2014 at 12:56 pm
Interesting letter, but I question the timing and what the school board really intends with itsRead More publication. Are they as interested in "transparency" as they claim? Or is it more about damage control? It all sounds awesome but do they really mean it? Through a recent FOIA request I obtained an email sent from Board Member Ed Corcoran, a member of the negotiation team, to a community member and his comments reveal a very different point of view. He stated "As a person elected by the taxpayers, I hope you understand your duty and to advocate for only 2 parties. The student and the taxpayers. With the excellent work conditions and benefits teachers realized in District 86, the salary levels would be lowered substantially by market forces. Our salary and benefits should be lower than other districts due to the great parents and great students and excellent work environment/conditions - not to mention the prestige our teachers enjoy in the education community. There are large numbers of unemployed and highly qualified teachers. so it should be obvious to anyone that we should not be paying above market wages with taxpayer's hard earned money." ~ Ed Corcoran This doesn't sound like someone who "respects and appreciates" our teachers. It sounds more like someone willing to replace them with folks off the unemployment line.
Ken Wilson April 9, 2014 at 01:58 pm
Yes, it is an irrefutable fact, generally someone would be willing to accept lower compensation toRead More work in a safe, clean environment blessed with nice working conditions. Two of my close friends work in the Chicago Public Schools. The only jobs they could get after graduation. She is escorted to her car after school in fear of rape or being assaulted again. To work in D86, how much less would she trade for a better environment, it is something, the exact amount the market determines. I think Corcoran's lesson was a simple one related to the widely accepted work in terms of supply and demand theory of Alexander Marshall it is the work of Marshall that was the context for Corcoran's response. I would not belittle folks on the unemployment line, plenty of good people get let go for various sound reasons, as a community we should help them get back on their feet. I think Vice President Corcoran did address the "context" of the citation above at the Board meeting in December. The context was from a pure supply and demand macro-economic theory. The same meeting he admonished and asked for an apology to a vulgar reply he got to the correspondence attacking him and his family. I'd have to see the tape again from the Board meeting to summarize his exact response to a question regarding the context of the letter referenced on this blog, but that is pretty close. I am enlightened the two parties (Union Rep and Board)are finding ways to work effectively together. The Union has one mission = Get the best deal for the members that pay their dues for that purpose. The Board as the counter party = Get the best deal for the students and taxpayers while respecting the right of the union members as their counter party in negotiations. I am confident smart people can find a deal that works for everyone and this unanimous Board approved guiding principles are a great start to collaboration.
Robert Kearney April 9, 2014 at 09:32 pm
The above noted "open letter" to the D86 community, publicly setting forth our SchoolRead More Board's guiding principles when negotiating a new labor agreement with our teachers, is indeed laudable. However, the privately held beliefs of School Board member Ed Corcoran, as revealed within Mrs. Sue Pircon's post, is quite disconcerting. The content of Mr. Corcoran's email leads me to question the predisposed mindset he will bring to contract discussions, and, whether he is capable of negotiating in good faith. Mr. Ken Wilson attempts to explain one of Mr. Corcoran's comments as being innocuous and guided by Alexander Marshall's economic theory pertaining to the "law of supply and demand." First, how can Mr. Wilson profess to know Mr. Corcoran's frame of reference when Corcoran made his comment? Second, Mr. Corcoran's assertion that our teachers can be replaced by unemployed teachers will no doubt be received as both insulting and condescending by our teachers, and, it certainly does not set the tone for harmonious negotiations. Rather than contributing Mr. Corcoran's comment to Alexander Marshall, I propose that for a different perspective, we look to a quote made by H. Jackson Brown Jr., a renowned American author. This quote being "Our character is what we do (or say) when we think no one is looking." It is, therefore, my opinion, that Mr. Corcoran's attitude toward our teachers is best represented by the content of his email rather than any utterance he conveys in public. Additionally, it is no secret that the Board's majority and their supporters believe our school district should be run on a business model. With this in mind, I would like to cite a quote regarding the teaching profession made by Peter F. Drucker, a modern business leader who is recognized as inventing the concept known as management by objects. Specifically, Mr. Drucker proclaims that "Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance, In teaching we rely on the 'naturals', the ones who somehow know how to teach." Clearly, D86 is blessed with exceptional "natural" teachers, as manifested by independent reviews that have consistently ranked our schools as being among the very best at both the State and National levels. As such, our teachers warrant a salary and benefit package commensurate with their demonstrated superior performance in instructing our children; assures us of their continued involvement within our educational community, and, maintains D86 as a highly desirable/attractive destination for exceptional teachers willing to depart tenured positions elsewhere and thus bring their talents into our classrooms.
Orange County Sheriff's deputies conduct a bomb sweep at San Clemente High School earlier this month. | Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo.
David Greenberg March 28, 2014 at 11:46 am
"Virtual walls"? Geezus... GPS spoofing is but one way around the geofence. The otherRead More is simply walking up to someone and saying "HEY *(&*(^^#&*(Y($*() !!!!!" Or use a different app created with a bogus email account... *sigh*. Sticks and stones people... sticks and stones... Walk it off and move on...
Stu Pidasso March 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm
thats for sure, this country is turning into a bunch of pansies!!
Stu Pidasso March 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm
my kid tells me that his buddy who lives over in Europe has a math book that shows a drawing of anRead More obese American eating a Cheeseburger with Plumbers Ass , as if we are a bunch of slobs over here!!! Is that nice or what???
Ken Wilson March 19, 2014 at 08:11 am
American students rank 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading compared to students in 27Read More industrialized countries.(OECD, 2012). China has 220 instructional days, US schools average 182 (20% more education), D86 is just slightly below average in the number of US instructional days at 180. We live in the MIDWEST, it snows, plan for it and don't be irresponsible in planning a vacation or job the last day of early dismissal. Why let something like educating the children get in the way of your irresponsibly planned vacation? As Americans it is clear where our priorities lie and it shows in the results. It starts with parenting, be a responsible parent and promote increased educational days, not reduced educational days that may get in the way of your visit to the Venice waterway side cafe.
Pam Bylsma Credit: District 86
Ken Wilson March 12, 2014 at 11:32 am
Most often a leader if faced with the decision to be employees' best friend or best boss, seldom areRead More the two compatible. Leaders can go along to get along with their staff, or they can push them to attain ever higher levels of performance. This is largely the distinction between the private sector (where you can only eat what you kill or you starve) verses the public sector where there is generally little or no ramifications for underperformance. The most successful leaders, Jack Welch, Ross Perot, Donald Trump are generally disliked by their staff, but their results are irrefutable. There is a general sense the teachers want to be treated and paid as professionals, but some continue to, through their actions, exhibit juvenile behavior by slamming chairs, slamming doors and wearing advertising to work when they do not get their way. It is unfortunate the inappropriate actions of a relative few exhibit and reflect poorly on all their peers. Every member of the D86 faculty will at some time in their lives have what is commonly accepted as a career moment where they look deep within themselves and determine what will define them as an educator and professional. For some it will be all about themselves, for others it is about the students. The same holds for members of the community. Only the flat-earthers believe the status quo of IL public schools and government can not raise the bar and establish a protocol to increase both efficiency and effectiveness. By the way I would rather have an exceptionally qualified RN with a background in Pediatrics than a mediocre Certified Nurse who has taken 10 credits of on-line continued education and a brief internship at the local day care center. Low performers leave for many reasons, most often the expectation they start to work for a living. Only the truly ignorant pile on new hires (Bylsma and Palmer) the students and community are so enthusiastic about before they even work a day. After they start go ahead and belittle Bylsma and Palmer, but ensure your animas is established in performance based facts. That all includes teachers, nurses, and principals. We as a community should support all new hires as their success is the success of the community and their low performance will be impactful to all. It is pretty selfish to want a new hire to fail and setting that expectation before they even start. All the more power and best of luck to all new hires in a metro Chicago area of 7 million people D86 can find 8 leaders that are sharp, energetic and motived to serve the District's 100,000 residents.
Linda Burke March 8, 2014 at 07:21 am
Thank you, Margaret Martin, for your great posting. As one who attends almost every board meeting, IRead More will especially miss Dr. Joyce Powell. Time and again, she stood up to the bullying sneers from Ed Corcoran and his fellow against the special needs of our most vulnerable students--the seriously ill, the severely disabled, and the homeless. To give just one example, as Corcoran has repeatedly tried to nickel and dime the transportation costs for these students, Dr. Powell very patiently, and very knowledgeably, explained our responsibilities under state and federal law. Still another confrontation occurred at the March 3 board meeting, when Dr. Powell explained the special and irreplaceable role of Certified School Nurses (as opposed to nurses with no such training) in watching over a student population that includes the some serious medical needs. (Background: the board majority wants to hire school cheaper nurses--no doubt in order to help pay for their FIVE new administrators, unnecessary never-ending audits, and new software for the business office.) Dr. Powell bravely counterargued that if this board majority is determined to replace the certified nurses with registered nurses, they should at least be nurses with school experience. Corcoran sneered, "Couldn't they just learn on the job?" [Hello??!! Whose severely disabled child, Mr. Corcoran, would you like them to "learn on"?] Dr. Powell replied, "I think they need to be ready on Day 1." This is the voice of moral courage, expert knowledge, and common sense. It's no wonder that she's been snapped up by another school district. What sort of interim or long-term yes-person will be hired to replace Dr. Powell in such a vitally important role? The special needs community--as well as every resident whose moral compass points north--should be very gravely concerned. The school nurse issue is far from the only assault on student health and well-being by the present board majority (even as they spend money like there's no tomorrow--on everything EXCEPT education) but I don't want this posting to get too long. No doubt some posters will respond by defending the present board majority--but using their real names? Probably not. Theirs is a group that prefers to stay in the shadows, I think for obvious reasons. If you can't say it under your real name, you shouldn't say it at all--and you should be ignored.
Linda Burke March 8, 2014 at 07:22 am
Oops, sorry for the typos. I hope the posting will be clear, despite its hasty composition.
Ken Wilson March 11, 2014 at 11:51 am
Most often a leader if faced with the decision to be employees' best friend or best boss, seldom areRead More the two compatible. There is a general sense the teachers want to be treated and paid as professionals, but some continue to, through their actions, exhibit juvenile behavior by slamming chairs, slamming doors and wearing advertising to work when they do not get their way. It is unfortunate the inappropriate actions of a relative few exhibit and reflect poorly on all their peers. Every member of the D86 faculty will at some time in their lives have what is commonly accepted as a career moment where they look deep within themselves and determine what will define them as an educator and professional. For some it will be all about themselves, for others it is about the students. The same holds for members of the community. Only the flat-earthers believe the status quo of IL public schools and government can not raise the bar and establish a protocol to increase both efficiency and effectiveness. By the way I would rather have an exceptionally qualified RN with a background in Pediatrics than a mediocre Certified Nurse who has taken 10 credits of on-line continued education and a brief internship at the local day care center. Low performers leave for many reasons, most often the expectation they start to work for a living. Only the truly ignorant pile on new hires (Bylsma and Palmer) the students and community are so enthusiastic about before they even work a day. After they start go ahead and belittle Bylsma and Palmer, but ensure your animas is established in performance based facts. That all includes teachers, nurses, and principles.
Christ Hughes Credit: Elmhurst College
ConcernedElhmhurstTaxpayer February 23, 2014 at 06:18 am
Looks like a great lecturer, count me in! $10 sounds reasonable, hope some charity gets the funds.
CheKeroauc February 24, 2014 at 11:46 am
I hope he talks about why he wants amnesty for illegals and work visas for foreigners so he can hireRead More them at Facebook at below wages that he'd have to pay US college grads. Hughes and his partner are A1 phonies.
Ken Wilson February 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm
The School Board should have its head examined. Yeh, $25 is just the camel's nose the tent.Read More Darien's bus fee for Cass and Concord is now $250. Increase text book fees to $150 has to be a joke. One thing for sure, at contract time there will be plenty of money to dole out to the school board buddies next union contract in terms of raises and Cadillac pension retirement and health benefits.