PEORIA, IL -- The re-naming of Woodrow WIlson school continues to roil the meetings of the Peoria Public School District 150 board. It heard two opposite sides of the issue at its May 7 meeting.
This has become Peoria's issue that's equivalent to the fights over removal of statues of Confederate War heroes in the South.
Activist Terry Knapp opposes the renaming. During the public comments he suggested that one of the schools without a person's name be used for honoring Dr. Maude Sanders, as some have suggested. (Later he asked whether the schools named for Washington and Jefferson would be next to be renamed.)
Then Jackie Petty spoke to board, and presented written information on Wilson and Sanders, reproduced below. She asked the board to consider the facts on the two people. Though Wilson was a president and led the nation through World War I, he was also a racist and segregationist, she said. He expanded segregation, and supported the Klan, she said.
Students get messages from their schools, she said, adding that the Peoria NAACP also wants the school renamed.
Here is a recording of the comments:
Activist Sharon Crews said her comments were a eulogy to Compass Learning, a computer program that the district bocught, and now is ending.
Her comments, reproduced below, document the wasted money spent on computers and other technology, especially in minority schools, while the real impact on students is from their teachers, not technology. Now Compass will be replaced by another "magic cure" to remedy low student performance, when investing in quality teachers should be occurring instead, she said.
Others spoke about school issues, well covered by the Journal Star. Afterward board members thanked the participants. Member Dan Walther said he welcomed the comments and written information. "Transparency can be a pain, but it's a better way to go," he said.
-- Elaine Hopkins
Here is the information from Jackie Petty:
???? WHY CHANGE THE NAME ????
Facts: Woodrow Wilson 12/28/1856 – 2/3/1924
- A graduate and president of Princeton University
- Governor of New Jersey
- 28th President of the United States: 1913-1921
- Wilson led America through World War I
- He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919 for his efforts to avert future world wars
- Historians rank Wilson as one of the nation’s greatest presidents.
But some facts that overshadow these achievements:
- The Virginia native was a racist and he believed in segregation. In fact, he allowed his cabinet officials to expand segregation within government departments in ways that had not been allowed since the end of the Civil War.
- Wilson supported D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation”, which even included the following quote from his book, “History of the American People”: “The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-
preservation until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the south to protect the southern country.”
- On 11/12/1914, William Monroe Trotter, owner and editor of the Boston Newspaper, The Guardian, and an activist for African American civil rights, had a meeting with President Wilson. Trotter was accompanied with a small delegation which included Ida B. Wells. Mr. Trotter also carried with him 29,000 signatures from 38 states protesting segregation. Mr. Trotter discussed their dismay over Jim Crow and the surge of segregation in the country. Trotter also protested a screening of the film “Birth of a Nation”. Not liking this conversation, President Wilson had them all thrown out of the White House. Of course, there were reporters everywhere and Mr. Trotter gave them an interview. The incident went viral. Wilson realized instantly his error, unfortunately, not the error of his being racist, but his error in public relations.
???? WHY CHANGE THE NAME ????Facts: Dr. Maude Sanders 1/9/1903 – 10/14/1995
- Attended Xavier University in New Orleans, LA
- 1935 she entered Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN and graduated in 1939.
- In 1942 she completed an internship at Homer G. Phillips Hospital for Colored in St. Louis, MO, where she was one of the first two black women to intern.
- She began her medical practice in Peoria, IL in 1942, retiring in 1990.
- When she moved to Peoria, she took a street car every day to treat black men’s pneumonia. She cared for
their serious wounds in her office when no hospital would admit them.
- Her first office was above a car repair shop, because no hospital would allow her to have an office
Dr. Sanders served on many boards and received numerous awards and honors during her career:
- She served on the board of the Illinois Department of Public Aid. She was a member of the Peoria Medical Society, American Medical Society, Illinois Medical Society, and the National Medical Association.
- She served on the board of the Illinois Department of Public Aid. She was a member of the Peoria Medical Society, American Medical Society, Illinois Medical Society, and the National Medical Association
- She was a lifetime member and past president of the Peoria local NAACP chapter. She was also a member of the Peoria Historical Society, National Association of University Women
- Sanders received Methodist Medical Center’s Community Health Service award, the Governor’s Award for Unique Achievement, YWCA’s Leadership Luncheon Outstanding Professional award, Peoria Christian Leadership Council Award, Martin Luther King Junior Leadership Award and Planned Parenthood’s Betty Osborne Award. She was also awarded a special Lifetime Achievement in Medicine Award from Bradley University. She was inducted in the African American Hall of Fame in 1987.
- She also was honored by Carver Family Health Center, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, National Council of Negro Women, Southside Pastor’s Association, Tri-County Urban League and Black Women’s Network.
Dr. Maude Sanders faced and overcame sexism and racism. Her life is a testimony to hard work and perseverance
Here are the comments of Sharon Crews:
I just read the agenda, so consider this a eulogy for Compass Learning.
In 2004 in the public schools of Camden, New Jersey, barely half of the math and reading teachers were considered as “highly qualified.” However, the school system had invested $8 million in computers and software for their Compass Learning labs.
Nearly all first to eighth graders visited the labs up to five times a week for drills on sample test questions that administrators believed were critical to achieving the goals of No Child Left Behind. Many struggling schools spent heavily on Compass Learning and other “drill and practice" programs. One observation is that Compass Learning’s approach is, in many ways, no more sophisticated than an old-fashioned workbook and it can leave students as lost as ever.
The software was bought at the urging of vendors who targeted poor schools, probably because of the large amounts of federal funding available. On the basis of questionable evidence, these gullible administrators believed that their schools could raise their math and reading test scores with the software. I believe this narrative very much fits what happened in District 150. Because Compass Learning is most often used in lower grades, I believe it is inappropriate for our high schools, especially wrong for credit recovery.
This article continues with the following observations:
The costly emphasis on test preparation software undoubtedly came at the expense of in-depth education and high-level thinking for students. Even if these programs raised scores a bit, they were unlikely to produce lasting results. In many cases Compass Learning and such programs became a stand-in for an actual teacher. In District 150 Compass Learning has taken the place of teachers and summer school.
Instead of closing the achievement gap between rich and poor students, NCLB quite possibly widened the gap. Believing the hype of the software vendors, administrators spent large sums of federal and state money on computers and software instead of hiring more and better teachers who actually are the driving force behind student achievement. One commentator stated, "If our education strategy for poor kids is to do nothing more than remediate them so they'll do better on tests, we're failing them much more dramatically than we have in the past.”
Another said that low-income students would have been helped more if money had been used to achieve smaller class sizes and to provide bonuses to hire high-quality teachers. . Critics argued that by spending so much of the funding for struggling schools on test-preparation software, poor schools had less money left for the kind of improvements at the heart of real learning. A Stanford education professor stated that suburban schools invest in people while poor districts buy more and better machines. All of the data I provided showing how much Lathan spent on computers and software proved that our district invested more on technology than on hiring and rewarding teachers. You still have been paying Compass Learning thousands of dollars in usage fees every year.
Camden—one of the poorest cities in America—in 2004 had 19,000 mostly low-income students who were mostly African-American and Hispanic. Its schools were accustomed to shortages of workbooks and other supplies and in recent years had been faced with deficits as large as $40 million. This article states that the atmosphere of poverty vanished inside Camden’s Compass Learning labs. Rows of gleaming Dell computers filled the labs, complete with large headsets that students used to receive audio instructions and encouragement from Compass Learning, a San Diego-based company that is owned by WRC Media. In much the same way, Compass Learning conned our administrators into spending Title I money on their wares, etc.
I see on the agenda that Compass Learning folded on its own, so you are voting tonight to replace it with yet another miracle cure—which is still not a replacement for teachers or summer school
It’s time to get rid of Compass Learning and raise current teachers’ salaries to entice additional qualified teachers and to reinstate high school summer school. - 30 -