PEORIA, IL -- The Peoria District 150 School Board heard activist Terry Knapp criticize wasted money in his comments at the Nov. 23 board meeting.
Fifteen years ago the district had a $60 million surplus, Knapp said. Now it's in debt after "recklessly" spending $45 million on Edison schools, and other items such as the P-cards or credit cards used during the Lathan regime, he said.
Here is a recording of the comments.
"Money went down the toilet," Knapp said. Now the district is taking out bonds, he said, for a "spend it now" mentality. He called it reckless spending.
Critic Sharon Crews, whose report will be posted below later, said inflated grades, no summer school and Compass Learning are contributing to lack of achievement in students.
She asked several questions about Compass Learning, and said research is needed into its efficacy.
A presentation on the district's report card revealed the district students are 56 percent black and 75 percent poor.
-- Elaine Hopkins
Here are the comments from Sharon Crews:
I believe inflated grades, no summer school, and Compass Learning prevent District 150 students from achieving academic success.
I have tried and been unable to get answers to these questions about Compass Learning:
How many minutes a day and for what length of time (weeks, grading period, semester) does a student spend in order to recover credits for an “F” in a class? Is all the time spent on the computer?
For what specific courses is Compass Learning used?
Does the material covered correlate with the curriculum guide for each subject?
Are students required to do any work outside of class (as is expected in the class that was failed)?
What is the grading system (are daily grades given, what determines the final grade, and is it pass/fail or A, B, C, D, F)?
I definitely am of the opinion that Compass Learning is primarily for the purposes of keeping failing or expelled students from being held back, increasing the graduation rate, and eliminating the need for summer school. I do not believe that it is of much help in preparing students for college or jobs.
I believe summer school is good for students for the following reasons:
It allows students to make up required failed classes.
It provides extra time to acquire skills and knowledge missed the first time around.
I found the three-hour class periods allowed me more time to spend with individual students.
Also, students weren’t distracted by a full schedule of classes—concentrating on one subject, usually their most difficult one, helped them catch up for the following school year.
I have heard negative opinions about Compass Learning, but please ask teachers to offer their opinions. Also, high school’s academic problems indicate that something is going wrong at the middle school and even primary levels. Discipline problems could well be major factors there.
As to inflated grades, one of my former students wrote, “Working hard to make a C teaches us to work hard. Easy A's and B's do not teach us to work hard. The bottom line is working hard teaches us to persevere in order to succeed in life.”
Please let’s research the data that reveals which practices are leading to success and which are not helping students reach their full potential. Please let’s pool our ideas to find the solutions. - 30 -