Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A slap in the face

That's right. The administration took a new policy - the Literacy Selection Process - and turned the policy against district taxpayers.

Like a child trying to prove a point after being reprimanded, the district creates a new reading list full of nonsense and non-selections. In fact, they once again choose one of the controversial books that caused this whole mess in the first place. Why? To prove something; to prove that they know best. The parents and community standards be damned.

What is the end goal for the book selections? Is it to challenge students, or is it to indoctrinate? Based on the rationale given, the goal of the selection process is indoctrination. The selection committee bases its decisions on its own curriculum; a curriculum based on social engineering, not achievement. See if you can find the selection rationale in the district's approved curriculum.

The end result? 37% of Olentangy graduates require remediation at state colleges and universities. Don't believe me? Read the reports put out by the Ohio Board of Regents.

Go ahead; complain to your board of education. They will sit dumbfounded, waiting for the superintendent to respond for them. [1] Your only hope is to contact the superintendent and ask why the slap in the face? Why the change in stance from last year?

What a waste of student potential! What a waste of tax dollars! What a shame!


Attend a board meeting and note where the superintendent sits. Not off to the side as a policy advisor, but right up front next to the board president.


Anonymous said...

Looking at all the numbers, many of the schools in Ohio have large percentages of students requiring remedial courses. This is mostly caused by Ohio teachers trying to teach to the OGT instead of focusing on more core subjects. This is the fault of the state policy and not individual faults of the school districts.

Anonymous said...

Parents' rights are being usurped at every turn by the Olentangy school district's teachers and administrators. And the entity that is supposed to hold district employess accountable is the elected school board. I have yet to see the school board challenge ANYTHING. The community's interests are not being represented at all: community standards do not enter the Olentangy central office building at tuesday night board meetings. It is time for a change.

Jim Fedako said...

First off, Olentangy is in the top 5% based on demographics, so the district is not an average Ohio school district. But, if you only want to see average scores, then the staff should be paid an average salary.

Also, teachers and administrators create the tests in Ohio. I know, as I was the only non-educator on the Ohio 4th Grade Writing Content Advisory Committee - responsible for evaluating and recommending test items. So, sorry, the tests are simply another product of public educators.

Read my article published by The Thomas B Fordham Foundation - available online.

Anonymous said...

...27% of incoming Olentangy freshman required remediation in 2003; in 2004 it rose to 36%; in 2005 it climbed higher still, to 37%. What will 2006 tell us?

Our kids are sliding into an academic abyss and all the vision and leadership Teri Meider—president and leader of the Olentangy District School Board—can muster in defense of her district are B.S. stats about Merit Scholars (gee...10 or 12 students out of 300); our "highest" performance metrics (Olentangy District ranks in the bottom third in the region in every performance metric) and other meaningless, feel-good drivel. Oh, yeah, but "Our school cafeterias run in the black, serve healthy food and win awards for being exceptionally clean". Thank goodness she at least cares about what enters our kids' mouths because she sure doesn't care about what enters their minds. Thanks for watching our kids’ backs, Terri.

Dr. Davis has positioned himself rather nicely within the OSB structure as a de facto associate member. And because he has made this virtual move from subordinate to peer he faces lowered expectations and muted scrutiny—or, as recent evidence strongly indicates, no scrutiny at all. This fantastic, new synergy is producing great results, though...for the teachers, that is.

For example, with a straight face, an elementary school principal representing all Olentangy District principals—Dr. Davis’ direct reports, mind you—proposed at the March 20 Board Meeting that parents no longer be allowed to sit in on their childrens’ classes unannounced. Under the principals’ new scheme, parents would have to make an appointment, and only then they would be allowed to stay in their child’s class for 30 minutes. The motive for this was obviously damage control to preclude parents from witnessing incidents of teacher indiscretion and poor judgment similar to those that were recently chronicled in the local papers for two weeks. It was bad enough that there was no outrage from the School Board that this proposal was brought before them (Meider casually asked a few directionless questions and Barry Jamieson—the resident diplomat—proposed a finely worded alternative); it was bad enough that principals could feel so comfortable asking the Board for such an outrageous change in policy—particularly to such a basic, long-standing, trust-based agreement between parent and teacher. The worst thing about this incident was that Scott Davis sat there and listened thoughtfully while his direct report asked the Board—his employer—to codify a betrayal of trust of the Board’s employer: Olentangy parents. For those of us in the private sector, this is akin to an Assistant Vice President bypassing his Vice President to ask the Sr. Vice President to betray the Managing Director of his organization. In the corporate world this is called professional misconduct or fraud; in our school system it’s apparently Standard Operating Procedure. Either Dr. Davis was consulted by his principals beforehand on their proposal—to which he should have told them it was unacceptable and not to present it; or he was okay with them not consulting him about this outrageous request and bypassing him to present it to the Board directly. Either way, it showed poor judgment and poor management of his subordinates. This teacher-principal power play for counter-transparency was an outrageous show of deceit from beginning to end and I am ashamed for the Board and Dr. Davis.

It is obvious from this incident and others that Dr. Davis, his principals and the teachers are an axis that acts and reacts to preserve their interests over our childrens’ interests; and it’s obvious that the Board has no interest in oversight. This kind of collusion has corrupted the District and can no longer be tolerated: the principals are not managing their teachers; the superintendent is not managing his principals; and the Board is not managing their superintendent. It’s a cascade of dysfunction that has reached critical mass.