Saturday, April 4, 2015
More money for failing schools?
Charles Fisher had this letter in the April 4 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. "FOIA requests have revealed documents of meetings hosted by the Regional Office of Education "to promote passage of the 1 percent school facilities tax in Rock Island County." This activity is illegal: public resources may not be used to advocate referendums. These meetings featured lunch catered by Adolph's, Momma Compton's, and Subway, paid with taxpayer funds. Emails after these meetings (on district computers) included such commentary as, "Let's get after this thing!" ...... 2013 data for Rock Island High School indicates No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reading test scores at a 37.9 percent pass rate, math test of 28.8 percent, failure for the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) metric, and that RIHS is on Academic Watch List Year 9. ..... According to the NCLB Act, schools missing AYP targets for four consecutive years are labeled for "corrective action", which involves complete replacement of staff, new curriculum or longer class time. Five years of failure requires a plan to "restructure" the school, which is implemented after six failure years. Plan options include school closure, charter school conversion, private contractor operation or requesting state operation directly. ..... Illinois' NCLB waiver in April 2014 came too late for RIHS, which should be closed. Also, 2010 meeting minutes indicate "corrective action" for Rock Island Academy, Edison Jr. High, and Washington Jr. High, all failed AYP in 2013, all in "restructuring". ..... Should we approve a tax, tainted by illegal advocacy, for schools which should not exist? Vote no on April 7."