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.

 

 

 

Truth Vs Lies

Born to believe 
Many writers and historians believe that human beings are conditioned to believe, rather than disbelieve. Their for giving power to the liar, and their versions of the “facts”

Let’s do an experiment:

…you hear a noise in the grass. Is it a predator, or is it the wind? Your next choice could be the most important of your life. If you think that the noise in the grass is a predator and it turns out it’s the wind, you have made an error in cognition, a false positive. But no harm done. You just move away, you are more cautious, more vigilant.

On the other hand, if you believe that the noise in the grass is just the wind, and it turns out to be a predator, you’re done. Life is over.

A false positive in this case makes you more cautious, but it really costs nothing to believe that there maybe danger behind the noise.

In contrast to the false positive not believing in the danger, amd actually having it exist was deadly, and so we choose to believe. But more than just believing in that possible danger we tend to create patterns. That I turn helps us structure our lives. It creates meaning to what could easily be random. It is from there that we develop things like superstition and conspiracy theories. They make sense of what is random.

Patterns
If this were all humans had to rely on for cognition — our limited brains making sense of that what we can’t understand — we would be in big trouble. Thankfully, however, we have verifiable facts. They ensure that what is random not just makes sense, but is also true.

And that’s where we get into some even more fascinating research about why people believe outright lies — easy to disprove lies like the kinds Donald Trump tells for example.

According to some, people tend to believe lies when they feel vulnerable. The less control people have over their lives, the more likely they are to try and regain control through mental gymnastics. Feelings of control are so important to people that a lack of control is inherently threatening. While some misperceptions can be bad or lead one astray, they’re extremely common and most likely satisfy a deep and enduring psychological need.

In normal life people find false patterns in data all the time. When they do, it’s usually because they feel a given situation is out of their control. A local example would be the Kennedy School Adition, people didn’t understand the numbers, felt out of control, and believed the lies spread to help ease their fear. It was easier to be angry and believe the false information that the School District was deceiving the community then it was to learn the difficult details and facts.

Fact or fiction
Of course, the more false the pattern, the more vulnerable you have to be to believe it. And of course, the more gymnastics your brain has to do to find the truth. The difficulty of the gymnastics mixed with fear or anger make the lies and falsehoods simply easier. That’s why certain individuals have very little other then tax complaints and fear of who I am to complain about.

Donald Trump, a man who is known for spreading falsehoods. He captured the imaginations of many people who felt vulnerable because of the past, present and future. He resonated in places of high unemployment, where manufacturing jobs have been on the decline for decades. These are places where a rational structure is needed to explain why things got so bad and why they don’t seem to be getting better.

But again this is not “rationality” as we think about it terms of reality. If it were, individuals would seek the truth no matter what their state of distress, because it is only when a problem is truly understood that the truth can be found.

Here is a relevant example. Donald Trump has dumped on China over and over again since he entered the national spotlight. He’s said that we are losing jobs to Chinese manufacturing and that the Trans Pacific Partnership was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.

In the world of facts, however, we know that thousands and thousands of manufacturing jobs have been lost to automation, not off-shoring to China. We also know that China is not involved with the TPP in any way. In fact, the country has been upset about TPP since talks for the agreement started.

The human desire to feel in control supersedes all of those facts because they are hard to find or understand, and in turn, pushes us to believe what may be irrational, but is simple, understandable, and gives us a sense of control.

Think about it: Say you believe all the lies  Donald Trump has told about trade, China and the global economy. It’s a comforting notion, ultimately, because it means he also has the solutions. Voting for him, then, is a way to take control of that untruth.

Unfortunately, since it’s a lie, the problem will remain. Lies never solve anything, and the spreading of them by those in this community simply acting on revenge or some unknown agenda just make things worse. Things won’t change until we embrace the truth, and put in the effort to identify who is telling it, and who is not.

McCampbell and Triton College

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One of the many jobs held by Roy F McCampbell was at Triton College. After he resigned in January of  1998, he was replaced by a Sean Sullivan who was then appointed Triton vice president for business services.

In August of 1999, McCampbell’s wife (who also worked for the college) Mary Jane Goldthwaite, filed a libel/slander lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Triton and several officials related to statements made about her and her termination by the school. In October of 2000, Goldthwaite filed a four count federal civil rights lawsuit against Triton, alleging a hostile work environment and sexual harassment by Sullivan, and retaliation by the college for her reporting the harassment.

The college negotiated a sealed out-of-court settlement with Goldthwaite and her husband, McCampbell, who was acting as one of her attorneys.

McCampbell and Goldthwaite continued to work with Triton and Sullivan after this settlement. McCampbell was a director of the Triton Foundation; Goldthwaite served as secretary. Sullivan was the foundation’s treasurer.

All three continued to work together after that? It’s also ironic that a McCampbell would complain about harassment and a hostile work environment. Maybe this gave them the idea.

The McCampbell Game And a Video

 

On Wednesday the 17th at the monthly School Board meeting we all received a pretty big and long planned slap in the face. The details of that slap being made clear yesterday. I feel that it was no big surprise to any of us, but the amount of money involved still caught many off guard.

Many are outraged and by rights we all should be, but what I wanted to talk about today is my opinions on what has lead to this final act of depravity. We have all had a while to think about it, and at least for me it still is difficult to wrap my head around.

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$250,000 – The median income for a household in the village is around $41,583, and the median income for a family was $48,525. $250,000 would be more then five years of household income in Schiller Park Illinois, but isn’t this money supposed to be for the purpose of educating the family’s children? If that is the case then it shouldn’t matter that most people could live for five years on that sum of money. The biggest question I have is if it will actually be used for its intended purpose, but we may never know. We can use history to point us in a direction but it’s still all just a bunch of opinions.

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That is a lot of complaints to most people, but when it comes to this family it only scratches the surface. No one with the exception of the School District actually has a solid count of complaints filed against the School District of Schiller park. I have heard numbers anywhere from 70 to 90 individual complaints, and many many more filed against other educational establishments. They have attacked individual educators reputations and have been the reported cause of many people leaving their careers in Schiller Park. That still does not include the significant amount of complaints filed against other organizations that they may have something to gain from. I have yet to receive any confirmation that any of these complaints were actionable. I’m sure with hundreds of complaints filled all over, that something was actually done wrong some place, but to the best of my knowledge that is not the case here in Schiller Park, or its School District. Please correct me if I am wrong but trust me when I say I have looked.

The typical actions taken after a complaint is filled is harassment. Once you have been accused then the following, video taping, social media stalking, parking outside of your house, and more complaints accelerates. It’s the pattern we have seen so many times.

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If I understand this correctly the School district is no longer legally responsible to provide an education to the McCampbell children. So what doesn’t that mean now? Private school, or home schooling, frankly it is none of any of our business, but I desperately hope that it will be home school as to keep any other educational facilities from suffering the wrath two adults seeking endless compensation for nothing at all. I also hope that some of the state organizations designed to monitor the safety of children keep a very close eye on this situation.

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This can be viewed a few different ways, but if we take into consideration that the parents in this situation have never had a complaint that was deemed valid it looks like a little bit more fuel to the thought process that this was the end result they were shooting for all along. This is all of course opinion, but it sure does seem plausible. To the best of my knowledge no action other then self preservation has ever been taken against Schiller Park School District 81 as a result of a McCampell or Goldthwaite complaint.

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Pretty self explanatory, but not surprising. Especially since it is a true statement. I can only imagine that the purpose of agreeing to such a settlement has everything to do with the unbelievable and unknown costs of legal fees to defend against the endless complaints filled by the McCampbell and Goldthwaite team. Even if their is no guilt at all lawyers cost money and a good name needs to be defended. All that boils down to the defense of the education system in Schiller Park.

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Let us just see how this one goes. In my opinion others will just speak for him, and he has proven that he has no problem using unknowing participants as a mouthpiece.

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Pretty self explanatory, but although I of course believe that the representatives of the School District acted of their own free will I feel that they were backed into a corner and had no other choice but to pursue such a settlement if for no other reason then to protect the rest of the children of School District 81.

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It is most assuredly a lot to chew on, but when taking my opinions and mixing them in with the history of these individuals and their alleged past actions one can only assume the worst. You have to simply to protect yourself from becoming the next victim.

The video of the meeting is also available for your viewing and can be found here. The statements from the board members can be found after the executive session portion of the meeting.

Dont become the next victim. Stand up and speak out against the people that have made destroying this town and its children’s future their number one priority.

 

The Rumors

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The rumor beast rears its ugly head, In honor of some of the more recent ones, I would like to share a few very valuable posts from this blogs past.

Man runs for school board while faceing eight felony counts of theft and four felony counts of official misconduct?

McCampbell Getting 21,000 a month pension

In the news again

Do they have no shame?

Let us not forget this gem – Directive Breakdown

here is the entire breakdown of anything relating to the subject of some of the recent rumors – LInks

You might also notice a few other commonly occurring names in all of those posts.

What is the deal with rumors like the ones that many of us have heard again? We are all very aware of Roy F McCampbell, and his “alleged” past less then honest activities. A grand jury indictment accuses him of stealing more than $500,000 from the west suburban village of Bellwood, in part by manipulating his employment contracts and deceiving the Village Board about them. Why do people openly align themselves with him? Why did Patricia Godziszewski so directly and openly defend him?

Patricia Godziszewski always has been an advocate of Roy F McCampbell (again an individual who is under indictment for theft and official misconduct), and consistently voted in favor of anything related to Mr McCampbell, she has supported his complaints and accusations since the beginning. She was consistently hostile, and evasive with respect to answering questions directed at her during board meetings. She was regularly unprepared as the Vice President of the Board, and has displayed great contempt for the teachers and staff of School District 81. She was the co-author of the very unprofessional and “private” letter written to the school board legal council in regard to her and Mr Stachura’s disapproval of the very competent and capable superintendent.

Patricia Godziszewski was one of the driving forces behind the hiring of a long ago replaced law firm that represented Schiller Park School District 81. A law firm that has had some bad press as far as the representation of other school boards, and has had questionable connections to Mr McCampbell from the beginning. Even with all the questions to that subject being asked of Patricia Godziszewski by her fellow board members the law firm was voted in. As it turns out that was the begining of what became one of the most costly legal eras in the School District’s history. With legal fees skyrocketing, and what one could only refer to as bad legal advice, Patricia Godziszewski played her part in costing the tax payers of this community 100s of thousands of dollars. The law firm resigned on the eve of their removal by the School Board members who had had regained a majority vote on the topic, and that same resignation letter was released by Mr McCampbell shortly before that Board meeting ever took place. When it was released by Mr McCampbell, to the best of my knowledge it was not yet public information.

So not to feed the rumor beast more then it should, let’s keep these two names fresh in our minds as we move closer to the upcoming election season.

 

 

Guidelines for Choosing an Attorney

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Guidelines for Choosing an Attorney for Special Education Representation

If you have a child with a disability, you may find yourself in circumstances in which you require assistance in securing services to meet your child’s educational needs. In such circumstances, you may turn to an attorney for assistance. Below are some basic guidelines to assist you in selecting an attorney who will be helpful to you.

I want to add one very important piece of information before you get to the official State of Illinois list. This is not on the original, and is simply something that I feel many people overlook.

Do an internet search on any perspective attorneys to make sure they will best suit your needs. Some times you may find the person that seems genuinely perfect to help you in you and your child’s situation just may be in a bit of legal trouble, and nothing would hurt your efforts as a parent more then loosing your attorney in the middle of all your hard work because they went to jail.

This original and official list can be found here.

Select an attorney with special education expertise.
Special education is a complex area of the law, and one not generally taught in law school. Attorneys who assist parents in this field should be well-versed on the various federal and state laws and regulations, as well as the current special education cases coming from the courts.

Select an attorney with special education experience.
The practice of special education can involve simple negotiations, mediation, administrative hearings (called “due process hearings”), or court hearings. Attorneys who assist parents in this field should have experience with all of these areas or at least be able to explain the scope of their special education experience.

Ask how the attorney charges for his/her work.
Special education practice can range from public service attorneys who work for free or at low cost to eligible families to those in private practice who charge for their work. Be sure you understand and get in writing a statement of any and all retainers, hourly fees, or flat fees for representation.

Understand your role as parents.
Attorneys can advise you on the status of the law and about expected outcomes of your case based upon an analysis of the facts and the law. However, you remain the ultimate decision maker with regard to your child’s educational planning. You should also get regular updates from the attorney (preferably in writing) as to the status of the case. The attorney should be reasonably available to answer your questions and clarify issues.

Find out if the attorney has support personnel who will be assisting him/her.
Attorneys can be alone in the representation of families (called “solo practice”) or can practice with other attorneys or paraprofessionals. If you are likely to come in contact with or get billed for such other people, you should understand this person’s role in the case. If the attorney is using a paraprofessional as a lay advocate, you should understand how closely the attorney will supervise this paraprofessional.

Understand how long it may take to resolve the matter.
In some cases, attorneys can negotiate speedy resolutions for their clients; in others, it may take months to reach a resolution. Discuss with your attorney the time frame he/she anticipates in resolving your specific concerns. The attorney should be able to describe the various dispute resolution tactics (negotiation, mediation, due process, or state monitoring) that could apply in your particular case and a reasonable time frame for each.

Select an attorney who understands your child.
Each child with a disability is unique and presents unique educational concerns. Make sure you are confident that your attorney understands the underlying disability and how it manifests itself in your child. If a particular type of disability is new to an attorney, he/she should be willing to educate himself/herself in its particulars.

 

A Reminder

Just a helpful reminder for those that don’t check the School Districts Internet site regularly. “Others” like to think everything is a conspiracy, but it is not. This information was shared multiple times by the School District of Schiller Park. The School District also can not force people to read what they share.

The original posting can be found here

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