What Does The Future Of Public Education Look Like?

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I don’t think anyone really knows, and that alone is pretty damned frightening.

I want to talk about something I normally don’t. National news, and I only choose to do this because it could so seariously affect the education of the children in Schiller Park.

It is also more important now then ever that we stand up, and speak out in defense of our School system, and public education in its entirety.

In a 51 to 50 vote Betsy DeVos (A main player behind the Michigan charter school systems that is being called by some “the biggest school reform disaster in this country” will now be the guiding force behind this country’s public education system. A wealthy campaign contributor from Michigan who has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system. (Here, here, and here)

When she was nominated to the post in November, she was called “a brilliant and passionate education advocate” by President Trump, But her performance before the nomination committee had her in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. In the end two Republican senators said they could not back her, leaving the vote tied at 50-50, and it was Vice-President Mike Pence who cast the vote that confirmed Betsy Devos

Prior to her hearing, labor unions, rights groups and teaching organisations spoke out against her appointment. So why is she so unpopular?

Mrs DeVos, age 59, is a wealthy Republican Party donar and a former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman who has long campaigned for education reform in the state. Her husband Dick DeVos was a CEO of the beauty and nutrition giant Amway and her brother is Erik Prince, the founder of the controversial private security company Blackwater.

Most of the problems with Mrs DeVos focus on her support of charter schools, which are publicly funded and set up by teachers, parents, or community groups, outside the state school system. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said her work in Michigan involved “elevating for-profit schools with no consideration of the severe harm done to traditional public schools” despite “overwhelming evidence” that charter schools were no more successful than their traditional counterparts.
In the past she lead the fight to loosen oversight of charter schools in Michigan, and less oversight of charter schools could allow them to pursue a creationist, evangelical agenda. The New York Times reported that she had told a meeting of Christian philanthropists in 2001 that education reform was a way to “advance God’s kingdom”.

An editorial in the Detroit Free Press in December highlighted concerns in Michigan over her appointment. “DeVos isn’t an educator, or an education leader,” it read. “She’s not an expert in pedagogy or curriculum or school governance. In fact, she has no relevant credentials or experience for a job setting standards and guiding dollars for the nation’s public schools. “She is, in essence, a lobbyist – someone who has used her extraordinary wealth to influence the conversation about education reform, and to bend that conversation to her ideological convictions despite the dearth of evidence supporting them.”. One of the two Republican senators who said they could not support Mrs DeVos, Susan Collins of Maine, said she was “concerned that Mrs DeVos’ lack of experience with public schools will make it difficult for her to fully understand, identify and assist” challenges facing rural schools in particular.

The concerns over her qualifications were furthered last month after her confirmation hearing. In perhaps the most uncomfortable moment, she struggled to show she was familiar with the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act (Idea), a federal law that requires public schools to make accommodations for disabled students. The American Association of People with Disabilities said it was “very concerned” that she seemed “unfamiliar with the Idea and the protections it provides to students with disabilities”. It was not the most striking moment of the session though – that was when Mrs DeVos, discussing whether to allow firearms in schools, noted that a Wyoming school might need a gun to defend against grizzly bears.

What does this mean for the Schiller Park public school system? In all reality I don’t even think the educators here, or in this country know how this will affect the process of educating the nations youth. One thing I do know, you will have a hard time finding anyone that works in public education who is excited about this appointment.

 

 

 

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No questions

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A few Days ago a blog post on another now private and very libelous blog stated that majority members of the School Board of School District 81 were attempting to force David C Stachura, and John Kowalski from their positions. The reason given was that the Board majority didn’t like the questions David Stachura and John Kowalski were asking.

For those of you who have watched the recorded School Board meetings you will already know that John Kowalski doesn’t speak at all, let alone ask questions. David Stachura rarely speaks in coherent complete sentences. On the few occasions when he has, the subjects his own shared blog claims the board is trying to silence have never come up. (Meeting videos found here)

Two of the items the original post claims David Stachura and John Kowalski were not being allowed to question are transparency, and the budget. Now knowing that they have never questioned the School Board on those two subjects during any public meeting I have observed I could only assume he has questioned the School Board or the District staff through Email. With that assumption I submitted a F.O.I.A. And received the following response.

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“The district has no documents responsive to your request”

I picked the date of the election as the starting point because it is a very important date to many. It should mark the date that Mr David C Stachura at a minimum started keeping his word to the tax paying voters of Schiller Park, and part of Franklin Park. He walked on behalf of Patricia Godziszewski spreading their word and sharing all the things they will accomplish in defense of the tax payers of School District 81. When in fact since that date he hardly attends Board meetings, or walks out early because he can not answer questions asked of him.

Not one single email or public record of any questions or concerns as far as transparency, the district’s budget, or staff issues. The original post on the previously mentioned Stachura/McCampbell blog is particularly funny to many because David Stachura is not known for being open and transparent when it comes to the School Board. When asked questions he walks out. If he even thinks the citizens in attendance of a meeting have questions he doesn’t show, or even votes against replacing the second public participation he removed when he became president.

All of these points are because he has lied to everyone from the beginning, and has not one concern for the tax payers of School District 81.  Neither does John Kowalski who was nothing more then a semi-warm body filling an empty space on an election ticket. He has contributed zero to this district and will continue to do so.

The dark cloud that has hung over this fine school system for a few years now has a name. A few names actually, and two of the biggest ones are David Stchura, Patricia Godziszewski, and Roy F McCampbell. Remember those names and remember their connections, and friendships when making choices in the next election.