Speak Out For Public Education (SOPE)
Illinois educators have started a new Facebook page called Sope Box. Check it out.
What does it mean to help students discover their passions, develop their aptitudes, and fulfill their potential? It means placing faith in something unknown; investing in our students’ unpredictable potential.
Soundtrack includes excerpts from Sir Ken Robinson TedTalks
Set to the music of Arvo Pärt - “Spiegel im Spiegel”
Choreographic Credits: Brady Sanders and - Jamie Murphy and Renee Smith of Murphy/Smith Dance Collective
Your action is needed one more time. The House of Representatives yesterday passed HB1165 which cuts both active and retired teacher benefits. HB1165 is the Nekritz-Biss (Cross) plan. We need to stop passage of this bill in the Senate. There are Senators who are willing to disregard the Constitution and the ethical and moral obligation they have to our state’s teachers and retirees. They simply want to run from their past mistakes and place the burden of fixing the pension problem on the backs of retirees and active teachers.
I’m asking you to make calls to your own Senator and ask them to oppose HB1165 should it come to a vote in the Senate. Also, contact the Senators listed on Glen Brown’s blog as well and tell them you are opposed to HB1165. Earlier in the week SB1 and SB35 were voted upon and SB1 (amended to exclude retirees) passed the Senate. HB1165 would likely be supported by those Senators that voted for SB35 and SB1.
SENATE REPUBLICANS DISPUTE REPRESENTATIVE MADIGAN’S ASSERTION THAT DOWNSTATE GETS A “FREE LUNCH” ON PENSIONS
Today the Illinois Senate voted on SB35 (Biss) and SB1 (Cullerton). SB35 which diminished retirees’ and current employees’ pension benefits was defeated 23-30-3. SB1 was amended to remove retired educators from the bill. SB1 passed 30-22-2. SB1 now goes to the House for consideration.
Good evening. My name is Roger Sanders.
Members of the Board of Education and school administration, thank you for the opportunity to address the Board on this most important topic regarding the establishment of a virtual charter school.
A Pig in a Poke
I wish to clearly and unequivocally state my opposition to the virtual charter school application under review for the following reasons:
1. The proposed virtual charter school lacks a high level of local pupil, parental, community, business, and school personnel support. As a 25 year resident of the Oswego 308 school district, I have seen no evidence of local initiative driving the establishment of a completely online charter school. Oswego 308 historically has provided a wide-range of learning opportunities including traditional and innovative instructional approaches. The district has a long history of adapting education opportunities for all types of learners, whether they are academically talented, ELL learners, at-risk students, or special needs students. The Oswego 308 communities have shown a high degree of support for the school district, particularly in terms of providing exceptional school facilities, support for curricular and extra-curricular development, and support for high quality instruction. This charter school proposal does not emanate from the community, but rather is an attempt to usurp control of our students education by outsiders who are more interested in profits than student growth and development. It is an affront to the local control of public education in our community.
2. The proposed virtual charter school lacks rigorous levels of expected pupil achievement and fails to demonstrate feasible plans for attaining those levels of achievement for all students. For example, reliance on “learning coaches” is a fundamental deficiency given the potential enrollment of at-risk students that likely require strong nurturing, supervision and that benefit from a strong relationship with their teacher and peers. While the role of parents is critically important in education, expecting parents to serve as a “learning coach” with a high degree of responsibility for instructional support is unsound. Further, reports from across the nation from states such as Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maine call into question K12 Inc’s business practices including allegations of “churning” students through aggressive recruiting efforts and high turnover of students, low student performance, low graduation rates, ghost class rosters, use of uncertified teachers, and shoddy business accountability practices. Also, the concept that “one size fits all” in curricular programming with limited choices for only online educational programming represents a reduction of services, not an expansion of services for Oswego students. Illinois law states, “Dual enrollment at both a charter school and a public school or non-public school shall not be allowed.” Consequently, students enrolled in the proposed virtual charter school will be excluded from many curricular and extra-curricular opportunities that Oswego 308 students currently benefit from.
In closing, the Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley is simply a cover for the erosion of the excellent public education that Oswego students receive today by people who see education as a business rather than a fundamental community public service. The school will be unaccountable to the local community; its head administrator will be an employee of K12, Inc., a private enterprise; its teachers will be recruited by K12, Inc. and supervised by K12, Inc. management; its board of directors will not be responsible to the wishes of the residents of Oswego 308; yet it will be funded by public funds that rightfully should be under the oversight of local elected leaders. Illinois Virtual Charter School is a Trojan Horse, a subterfuge, hiding the real intent of a for-profit corporation to make money off the education of our children. In modern terms, it is a Trojan Horse in which a seemingly harmless program enters our community, only to do malicious harm to our children. This proposed charter school is brought to us by carpetbaggers who have no roots in our community, who simply wish to profit from our public school funding. And even worse, they are peddling a snake oil that is of questionable quality or benefit to our children.
I urge you to reject the Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley application that is before you. Thank you.
CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICATION
Name of Proposed School: Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley
Name of Applicant: Virtual Learning Solutions, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation
Applicant Contact Information:
Sharnell Jackson, President
John Rico, Vice President
Mike Skarr, Vice President
Eric Kohn, Treasurer
Ted Dabrowski, Secretary
Address: PO Box 990
City/State/Zip: St. Charles, IL 60174
Phone: (630) 800-9140 - Sharnell Jackson, Board President E-Mail Address: email@example.com
Proposed Grades: K-12
Evaluation of Charter Proposals
In evaluating any charter school proposal submitted to it, the local school board and the Commission shall give preference to proposals that:
demonstrate a high level of local pupil, parental, community, business, and school personnel support;
set rigorous levels of expected pupil achievement and demonstrate feasible plans for attaining those levels of achievement; and
are designed to enroll and serve a substantial proportion of at-risk children; provided that nothing in the Charter Schools Law shall be construed as intended to limit the establishment of charter schools to those that serve a substantial portion of at-risk children or to in any manner restrict, limit, or discourage the establishment of charter schools that enroll and serve other pupil populations under a nonexclusive, nondiscriminatory admissions policy.
The Eight Goals of Charter Schools Are:
To improve pupil learning by creating schools with high, rigorous standards for pupil performance.
To increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for at-risk pupils, consistent, however, with an equal commitment to increase learning opportunities for all other groups of pupils in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, marital status, or need for special education services.
To encourage the use of teaching methods that may be different in some respects than others regularly used in the public school system.
To allow the development of new, different, or alternative forms of measuring pupil learning and achievement.
To create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site.
To provide parents and pupils with expanded choices within the public school system.
To encourage parental and community involvement with public schools.
To hold charter schools accountable for meeting rigorous school content standards and to provide those schools with the opportunity to improve accountability.