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Posts Tagged ‘Summit County School District’

Summit Schools – another miss

As the Summit Daily News reported on 10/18, the “Summit County Schools don’t hit FAILED their  “adequate yearly progress (AYP) ” goals. It’s a good thing the State of Colorado tracks this stuff, because with all the excuses  and finger pointing proffered by the school district, would the citizens of Summit County every know that they are being hoodwinked?

 

Not sure I understand everything in the article nor I am sure that it is 100% accurate from a reporting perspective, but let’s look at the some of the details in this article.

 

1. In Paragraph 1 the district notes that despite FAILING AYP, “progress” has been made. Great! Sounds like they FAILED in fewer areas than before.

 

2. Paragraph 3 – “met 89 of 101” targets which is “not up to par” – 88% of targets met is pretty good and “above average” in my mind. However, the state says “not up to par”? What does that mean exactly? Is that the best language the state uses to describe 88%. Or, do they use the word “fail” or “inadequate”. Sounds like slopping reporting or whitewash to me.

 

3. Paragraph 4 – “district not meeting AYP means that at least one school didn’t make the grade”….”problem areas are with a high population of socio-economically disadvantaged” – this is where the blame game starts. It’s set’s up the reader to expect that “socio-economically disadvantaged” students are not capable of learning or that they are the reason the school district did not meet AYP.

 

4. Paragraph 5 – “…elementary and high school students did not meet AYP” – more blame, this time on elementary and high school students. It is NOT the school district’s fault if the students don’t meet the standards.

 

5. Paragraph 7 – “…problem areas were minority subsets” – more blame.

 

6. Paragraph 10 – “62% of Colorado Schools made AYP” – That puts the Summit School District in the bottom 40% of Colorado Schools when it comes to making AYP.

 

7. Paragraphs 12-14 – Basically this is just more of the same rhetoric focused on blaming hispanic students, ELL learners, the poor, immigrants, etc.

 

8. Paragraph 16 – “The goal is for every student to access and learn the same curriculum at the same time.” – Let me rephrase this for you – “Advanced learners will be held back, their progress will be slowed so as to allow the slow learners to catch up”. Citizens of Summit County, parents of children in the Summit County School District, Summit County Taxpayers….DO YOU GET THE POWER OF THIS STATEMENT from our administration? Do you realize that IB discourages the seperation of students based on ability levels?

 

9. Paragraph 17 – “The district continues to hold high expectations for all of our students…we know that through classroom instruction that models best practices and continues to focus on differentiating to meet the needs of every student, we will continue to see great progress and achievement in all academic areas.” – Millie must have been looking at a chart showing teacher pay raises over the last 3 years when she wrote this garbage about “great progress”. After looking at the AYP scorecard, it leaves me wondering when those “best practices” will make their way into the Summit School District.

 

I wish I had time to parse through the rest of the article. So let me finish by saying that the citizens of Summit County need to hold our school district to higher standards. It is not enough to throw money at the problem when it should be clear that having that money in the past has not produced the results that we as a community deserve. Furthermore, blaming our students for not meeting state standards is an unacceptable position to take on the part of our administration.

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Citizens for Strong Summit Schools resorts to “guilt-tripping”

Some days it’s fearmongering, other days it’s laying a guilt trip on the Summit County taxpayer. Let’s take a look at the Guest Commentary from Sue Wilcox, Chair for Citizens for Strong Summit Schools in the 10/3/10 Summit Daily News.

First, “…teacher and administrator salaries have been frozen…decisions are difficult, and no doubt mirror cuts that have been made by many families and businesses throughout the county”. Nope. I believe that a salary “freeze” is not what most Summit County citizens and businesses have experienced. I believe that they have seen their sales reduced and their wages and/or benefits cut, and in some cases eliminated.

Second, “…it is incumbent upon each of us as parents to bear our share of costs associated with educating our kids.” How dare this organization suggest that parents/taxpayers don’t already “bear our share”?! So, if I pay my taxes I don’t already “bear my share of the costs”? And if Summit County taxpayers vote no on 3B, we somehow have tried to evade our collective responsibility for educating our children. What hogwash!

My suggestion is this: Cut salaries and eliminate any/all taxpayer contributions for benefits for administrators and teachers. When the people steering this ship feel the pain experienced by the vast majority of Summit County taxpayers, then let’s talk. Until then, VOTE NO on 3B.

Vote “yes” for Summit County schools

The “heat is on” Summit County taxpayers. Dip into your wallet for unprecedented requests for tax hikes this year – all in the face of an “energizer bunny” recession.

Let’s  look at a 10/6/10 “Editorial” post in the Summit Daily News and try to ferret out some truth.  It looks pretty good through the 1st 4 paragraphs. But then it gets a little cloudy with the following opinions.

First, “…is managing the crisis wisely…with a host of budget cuts…”.  It would be nice if there was a little more “meat” to this opinion.
Second, “…not an ideal time to ask voters for more money….”.  No s%*@! In fact, I would say it’s the worst time possible in the last 20 years but that isn’t stopping the government/school district from asking you (Summit County taxpayers) to pay MORE for reduced services during nearly unprecendented economic duress.
Third, “…legitimate and reasonable request…”.  Maybe. But is the request more legitimate and reasonable than the alternative opinion? Which is, “It is a legitimate and reasonable expectation that Summit County taxpayers not have to bare the burden of additional tax increases during this recession”.

Fourth, “…nor did the school district create this mess…”.  Perhaps not, but in fact they did contribute to this mess. Because if they had a long-term budget plan in place to deal with loss of revenue scenarios like the one they currently face, then much of these problems wouldn’t exist today. And, I am not talking about 1, 2 or 3 year budgets – I am talking about 5, 10 and 15 year budgets. Budgets that don’t build in “pie-in-the-sky” revenues projections or revenues that have an ever upward trajectory. Budgets that don’t require coming back to the Summit County taxpayers for a renewal of an expiring mill levy/bond EVERY time that mill levy/bond expires. Budgets that don’t give pay raises of 7%!

Last, it is clear that the editorial board doesn’t understand the favorite government game of “taking from one pocket and hiding it in another” when they insist that “an interest free loan program…at no additional costs…”.  In fact, when the Summit Daily News government says something is “free”, hold onto your pocketbooks. This “interest free” program is socialized borrowing. Every taxpayer in the state including Summit County taxpayers pay for this loan since the state must pay for it when they borrow the money to fund the school district loan. And since there’s a loan shark government middle man who gets a cut paid to administer the program, the costs are most likely higher than if all the school districts would create a reserve fund and borrow from that when timing issues related to property tax collections arose. This program is “cost shifting” from the school district to the state, not “free” money. And we wonder why “local control” doesn’t really exist when the school district has to suck on the government teat.

Vote “Yes” on 3B for schools

Continuing with the “fear mongering” theme, Carrie Brown, Karen Mason and Julie McCluskie note that “no good can come out of trimming $2,000,000 more from the (Summit County) school district budget”. Additionally, they believe that because “salaries have been frozen….benefits restructured….cuts have been made to programs, etc. There’s nothing more to cut without making significant, drastic cuts that will affect students in the classroom”.

Here’s my suggestions: Cut all administrator salaries and eliminate everything related to IB including the admin coordinator, eliminate any district contributions to all benefit programs – health, retirement, etc. The implementation of all of these suggestions will require NO CUTS to classroom programs. Isn’t that what these ladies want?