PEORIA, IL --Concerns about changes at Glen Oak school
dominated the public comments at the Peoria District 150 School
Board meeting on February 22. They included the cafeteria
and gym use that would be overcrowded and the start time of
7:30 am which would cause more tardiness.
Supt. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat responded that the reorganization
would decrease the enrollment at the school. The transition to a
7:30 am start time will be managed, she said. "We're looking at the
best of the the kids," she said.
Bradley University professors have recommended that the district's
schools go to K-8 and 9-12 she said. But that would require new
buildings. "This is a start," she said.
Other comments included a complaint about the 3 minute comment
time. Sevino Sierra said the time for comments should be 5 minutes.
Activist Terry Knapp said he was pleased with the reorganization plans
because it would cut bus time, that is wasted time, for the students.
Here is a recording of the comments.
Activist Sharon crews talked about the need for family wages for the
poor. Her comments are reproduced below.
-- Elaine Hopkins
On Facebook, I asked Manual grads to give their opinions about my comments at the last board meeting. A 1974 grad offered these depressing but all-too-true observations: Social programs have removed the males from the homes, in order for the women to receive benefits to raise our children. If men can't go out and get jobs, then how will their children receive the money to sustain their everyday needs?
I'm sure if young men could count on good paying jobs, they would rather feel empowered, knowing they can bring home a decent paycheck rather than risk the criminal consequences of selling drugs to get the things a single mom can't afford with a government check.
It's time to remove the bandages and devise concrete goals to facilitate skills and opportunities to put these young people to work! What they are doing is working, though it may be illegal, so is the alienation these young people are forced to accept when they can't get sustainable salaries, to sustain and maintain a family. These observations are reality.
The day of good paying jobs for unskilled labor is gone. After dropping vocational training, the district made the mistake of putting all our hopes on making students college ready. Many grads go out into the world with few job skills.
Our high schools have the obligation of providing our grads with marketable skills so that they can earn money and go to college at the same time. Without the secretarial skills I learned in District 150, I would never have been able to go to college. At best, many college students have to spread their college education out over more than four years to earn money to live and pay tuition.
In 2014 the Obama administration, recognizing the need for job training, announced initiatives aimed at better training students for "in-demand jobs of the future" at both the high school and college levels. The so-called Youth CareerConnect grants provide funds for school districts to create career academies and early college high schools that focus on high-demand industries such as health care, technology and engineering.
A 1990 Manual grad offered a suggestion that I believe would be very beneficial to students. He recommended bringing in graduates who have made a good living in ordinary jobs—quite often without a college education. These more realistic motivational speakers might offer hope of job opportunities more within the immediate reach of students.
Many students will not make giant leaps but, with gradual steps, will find success. Certainly, what is going on at Woodruff, Lincoln, and Harrison is a great effort in the right direction. Remember that Hedy and Melvin, the Marine that is motivating Harrison students, are Manual grads. - 30 -