Five Beye students choose transfer to another Oak Park school

Parents make request after school's poor showing on state standardized tests


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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Exercising an option required under federal No Child Left Behind legislation, five families from Oak Park's Beye Elementary School have requested a transfer to send their kids to another school in the district.

Those requests come two weeks after District 97 informed parents of their right to transfer out, following the poor showing of some Beye students on this year's state standardized tests. The "school choice" option is one of the mandates under the 10-year-old NCLB law. This is the first time in the law's history that a D97 school has been required to offer parents a choice option.

The five students whose parents requested a transfer could end up at one of Beye's two neighboring schools: Hatch, 1000 N. Ridgeland Ave, or Whittier, 715 N. Harvey Ave. Beye is located at 230 N. Cuyler Ave.

Students taking the Illinois Standards Achievement Test this year had to reach the 85 percent benchmark of meeting or exceeding standards in reading and math. Beye's African-American students failed to reach the mark, resulting in the school being placed on "federal improvement status" under NLCB. The ISAT's were taken by third-through eighth-graders in March, with students needing to show yearly improvement in reading and math.

D97 informed parents about the transfer option in an Aug. 8 letter.

Under NCLB, families have 30 days to request a transfer from the time they received the letter, but the Beye families won't get their requests processed until after those 30 days have elapsed, says D97 spokesperson Chris Jasculca.

That's because of a directive from the Illinois State Board of Education, which is requiring the district to ensure the transfers are based on the academic need and free- and reduced- lunch status of the students, Jasculca said.

Whittier and Hatch were chosen by the district because of their enrollment levels and proximity to Beye, Jasculca said. Those schools have enrollments of 412 and 326 respectively, according to D97 enrollment data for the previous school year. Beye's enrollment is 430 students, with a total of 325 families with students at the school.

A transfer form was included in the Aug. 8 letter, as well as an explanation of why the option was being offered and which students did poorly on the ISATs.

After receiving the letter, some Beye parents complained to the district because the subgroup was identified. Jasculca says that identifying subgroups in the letter to parents is a requirement for schools on federal improvement status. The district does, he added, share parents' concerns about that.

"Requiring school districts to publicly state in a letter which students failed to meet standards, to us, is more divisive and casts an unnecessary spotlight on that subgroup," he said.

"There needs to be some significant revisions and improvements in the law that places the focus on helping students rather than identifying failure."

The transfer forms were sent to D97's curriculum coordinator who oversees the ISATs and processed from there at the district's central office. The district would then work with the student's new principal to be enrolled, Jasculca said.

The meet or exceed benchmark has risen every year since the law's been in place. Critics of the law say that makes it increasingly difficult for schools to make adequate yearly progress on the tests each year.

"While we believe NCLB has some redeeming qualities, it also has significant flaws that tend to mislead the general public and unfairly malign the hard work of students, educators, and families," said Beye Principal Jonathan Ellwanger in a statement Monday provided by D97. "Our hope is that the legislation will eventually be changed to reflect a growth model that acknowledges academic success instead of student failure."

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Posted: August 28th, 2012 7:53 AM

JTF, do you know how it works for schools when kids transfer? I seem to recall that kids who go to other district schools that better accommodate their needs (for example, for special ed/physical access), the test scores are still counted against the school of residence. If the kids are transferred this way, would their test scores still be counted on Beye's, even if they are now attending a new school?

Just the Facts  

Posted: August 27th, 2012 9:04 AM

By the way, it might be a different subgroup missing the academic target in consecutive years. At Beye, it was Low Income (yr. 1) and African-American (yr.2) in the content area of Reading. Of course, some of the same students are in both groups but not 100% of them.

Just the Facts  

Posted: August 27th, 2012 9:01 AM

Please keep in mind that Beye was targeted for school choice because they met three key criteria: missed the academic target for a subgroup two years in a row, have at least 45 students in the subgroup, and receive Title I funds. Other schools have missed the academic targets but were not given the choice option because of the other two criteria. Principals have been tracking all subgroups, but choice and SES "penalties" only kick in if you have the lucky trifecta.


Posted: August 27th, 2012 6:55 AM

NCLB was established as a well meaning bi-partisan bill that needs revision or replacement. It does require accountability which is a good thing. My question to those who blame the parents; why would that reason become an acceptable scapegoat? Even if it is the cause, what percentage of failing kids due to parental neglect is acceptable - 10%, 20%, - or maybe just 5%? You can't legislate parents to care so find a solution and accept responsibility.

Another OP Parent  

Posted: August 27th, 2012 2:38 AM

OP Parent, going by your logic, the school is failing some students because of the "board and Roberts". Some others seem to think its the teachers. So, since Horace Mann is the highest achieving school in Oak Park, by the logic that you and some others believe, it must be because the "board" is better there and the teachers are better, and it has nothing to do with the level of parental involvement in that area. Please wake up!


Posted: August 26th, 2012 4:33 PM

OPRF is having to offer transfers, even though it's ranked #19 in Illinois and # 734 nationally by at least one source. I can't take this whole thing seriously. If folks want to go to Whittier or Hatch, I wish them well. I don't think the educational experience will be significantly different, but sometimes it's nice to make a fresh start.

OPRF parent  

Posted: August 26th, 2012 12:56 PM

@Mimi, no one is saying Beye isn't a fine school but the fact remains that it was the first of District 97 elementary schools to have to offer the transfer. Obviously that means it is failing as far as this law is concerned since none of the other schools had to offer such a transfer. It is somewhat interesting since Beye is always considered to be one of the "better" schools (at least in Beye circles) that some students have now chosen to go to Whittier and/or Hatch.


Posted: August 26th, 2012 8:39 AM

Don't be silly. Beye is a fine school, and no one is going to "flee." In the letter we got from the district and which was published somewhere on, it said that first priority would be given to kids in the lower income bracket. Beye is an oddly shaped district, and many of us live across the street from people who go to different schools. Maybe the students wanted a fresh start elsewhere, or maybe Whittier or Hatch was more convenient.


Posted: August 26th, 2012 5:48 AM

@Parent - this is what I find strange about the rule. What is the point? Allow the "successful" to flee since more resources will go to low performers? Allow those who need more/better help to get it? Disperse poorer performers? And as you point out, we know which group didn't do as well, so ... One more crazy aspect of NCLB.

OPRF parent  

Posted: August 25th, 2012 7:44 AM

I too wonder who transferred. Since the subgroups can be named, you would think we could find out who transferred. If there is a "failure" at the school, it appears to be on educating the black students so hopefully the 5 students were black. Although in the end, is that what Beye administration would hope too since it would help their numbers next year?

Curious Too  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 9:33 PM

I'm with OPRF Dad. I'd like some demographic info on who is transferring too tho I'm not convinced they are moving to greener pastures. My child went to Beye a few years ago and I thought they were very committed to closing the "gap".

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 12:18 PM

Terry, just for clarification's sake: which countries in Africa did those student immigrate from--Ghana? Nigeria? I am curious as to their race, though, as Africans are not all people of color. Maybe you meant BLACK students?

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 12:16 PM

Kids are baby goats...

Just the Facts  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 10:10 AM

(cont.) To continue to make growth at the required 7.5% each year is like asking a runner to improve his/her best time by 7.5% each race. Early in the process, this improvement can be made. As the bar nears a 100% requirement, you can't keep making the same large leaps in improvement. When you look at the improvement over the past 8 years at Beye (and other schools), it is very commendable. They just fell short. They are not failures or on a downward slide. The law soon makes everyone a failure.

Just the Facts  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 10:06 AM

OP Parent - Take a look at the IIRC.NIU.EDU website. It shows that Beye has moved the meets/exceeds rate of subgroups, especially A-A, from the low 40% range to close to the state requirement of 85%. They just didn't quite make it under the law. New reading programs, BOOST, and other things have worked wonders with their students. In fact, the subgroup not meeting the year before was low income, not A-A. But because both groups failed to meet the bar in reading, it kicked in the choice option.


Posted: August 22nd, 2012 9:41 AM

Can we get some demographic information on who is transferring? At the very least, we should be able to see if it is the anchor or the ship who is moving to greener pastures.

T Francis  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 8:41 AM

OP Parent - Yes, we get it. You clearly have issues with the superintendent and board. However, this is not about district leadership. This is about a fatally flawed piece of legislation. Perhaps you should read Dan Haley's column today.

OP Parent  

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 6:24 AM


Another op parent  

Posted: August 18th, 2012 9:57 PM

Beye parent, where exactly did I say"kids get punished, & teachers get to do whatever they want"? Right, nowhere. I call for parents, teachers and kids to take responsibility, and all you seem to be concerned about is teachers, but no one makes parents responsible. Teachers are always the fall people, whenever some kid under achieves. And it's usually the parent pointing the finger following the kid. Stop being the problem!

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 18th, 2012 9:46 PM

@Beye: Bull sheet. Teachers are under the gun to produce even though 90% of the kids are either autistic, ADHD, or disturbed. You are either envious at the few employees with decent salaries and benefits or balk at taking responsibility as a parent. Good night and good luck.

Beye Parent  

Posted: August 18th, 2012 4:49 PM

Ok, so you want a system in which parents are responsible, kids get punished, & teachers get to do whatever they want. Well, that's the system we've got now & the results are not good. What I'm calling for is a system that expects parents, students AND teachers to be responsible. I've spent enough time in our schools to know that teachers can pretty much do what they want - there is no effective supervision or oversight of teachers. Some teachers do a good job, others just collect that check.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 18th, 2012 12:57 PM a combination of hard work from teachers and parents pushing the child. This starts with the parent, as one doesn't go to school until a certain age. It's a joint responsibility. You know why kids in so many other countries manage to achieve better working habits, grades and self discipline? Because they have the support of both parent and teacher driving them. Please stop undermining the huge responsibility a parent has in this situation, your just being part of the problem.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 18th, 2012 12:49 PM

Beye parent, see, your attitude is what's everything wrong with the current mentality of some. It's all about, we pay you so we're your boss and we don't need to raise our children because we're paying you to do it. Rather than finding a successful solution, you are complacent with shifting responsibility, and in turn it teaches children that they don't have to take responsibility for their actions, cause they can just blame someone else. Whether you like it or not, a successful education cont.

One child  

Posted: August 18th, 2012 12:04 PM

Teddy, I'm with ya, I don't know the answer. I can tell you that in those early years, the teachers have to spend a lot of time refocusing kids on their classroom work, because the kids prefer to socialize in class. In our case, it took a lot of emphasizing the message with our son that school work matters and it is disrespectful to your teacher and classmates to goof off in class. The pride he gained from getting good grades eventually won out over the lure of fitting in with the knuckleheads.


Posted: August 17th, 2012 10:32 PM

What happens if parents refuse to do their part and a third grader fails? Sure the parents are to blame but now what? I honestly don't know the answer.

oak park parnet  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 9:23 PM

OPRF dad - don't forget the step in which district administration holds teachers accountable to (when needed) improve performance or get fired.


Posted: August 17th, 2012 8:57 PM

Education isn't that complicated. Teacher, your role in the process is X. Parent, your role is Y. Kid, your role is Z. Stick to fundamentals and outcome-based education and it is straightforward. The problem is that both the process and the subject matter have been distracted by blame and political issues. If a standard is set and all people involved are held to that standard, it would be much better. First step, kill NCLB. Step 2: empower teachers to flunk kids.

Beye Parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 7:32 PM

We can and should hold teachers accountable because we pay them. We pay them using public tax dollars. If they want to be able to pick and choose the kind of students they teach then they should go to work at a private school, not a public one.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 6:51 PM

Beye parent, yeah, it takes both parent and teacher, but the effort to push people to be accountable is only placed on teachers, not parents... And that's the problem.

Beye Parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 6:40 PM

Back to it takes both parents & teachers and teachers need to take responsibility to move every child forward. I taught school for several years. I knew that some kids came better prepared than others. I also knew that I had them for several hours each day & I had both the opportunity & responsibilty to make the most of it. When the kids are in your classroom they are in your "home" and they will respond to the environment you provide. Set high goals, support them, and they will achieve.

One child's story from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 5:08 PM

I really believe all kids can achieve academic success but it has to be a family priority. My 6th grader will take algebra in middle school this year. He qualified because we began supplementing his school work after 1st grade. And because a few really great teachers saw his interest and pushed him. Once he started to enjoy some success, he was hooked. Parents must 1) encourage kids to value learning and academic success and 2) partner with the school early to get on the right track.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 3:53 PM

Q, you're right, I never went to dental school, but I did learn about analogies.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:24 PM

This whole "helping the kiddies" is IMO a cover for anti-union types to concern-troll/shill. Funny how all of a sudden everyone's wringing their hands about the kiddies. Where were they 32 years ago when my childhood friend (who happened to be Black) was in 8th grade and barely able to read? And got pregnant soon after, only to disappear from school? We are seeing a full-on ASSAULT on public servants because of the move towards privatization. And I know there are shills paid to troll boards.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:10 PM

Another op parent, you obviously don't recall or didn't go to a school that had people come in and teach about dental care, and many other programs.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:08 PM

Teddy, if you had a good experience learning in school, then why don't you explain to the board how to correct what they are doing? I just don't get the problems why the teachers can't teach. You certainly must have had a few students not that interested in your school. People like Brian are the real teachers. They do it to help advance people, and aren't concerned about advancing their own pay check. Best teachers are the one's who care to teach to others and not for a pay check.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:08 PM

Never teaching them to brush teeth, then blaming the dentist when their have cavities that can't be fixed and need root canals. Good dental health starts at home, just like education

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:05 PM

Cont... Huge advantage in being successful. Parents who don't read to their kids at a young age, who don't have their kids reading, practicing math... At home, don't help them with their homework (or make them do it), don't teach them to accept responsibility when they've done something wrong, don't teach them respect... These kids are bound to fail even with the best teachers on earth. It's the educational equivalent of allowing your kids to eat candy all day, never brushing their teeth cont.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:01 PM

...and thus the GAP is discovered.


Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:54 PM

Thanks for your tutoring Brian; you are on the front lines. We can't legislate parental involvement (effectively). Blaming (or protecting for that matter) the teachers as a blanket statement isn't fair either. I'm not sure what the board and/or superintendent is or isn't doing on this issue but I am not impressed with their response thus far. Most charter school criticism is bombastic rhetoric and not worthy of a response. So we're still looking for a solution, not blame.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:53 PM

needles full of God-knows-what and we have this epidemic of HIV on that continent all of a sudden. But the kids are getting vaxxed left and right for their "protection."

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:52 PM

And with your stellar comprehension skillz, you also failed to suss out that I am not a teacher YET. I am about to begin student teaching. And the environment for teachers is precisely what I am lamenting. But I know the deal; I know what's really going on. The irresponsible parents love for the onus to be on teachers! That's why "they" are pushing this meme. Because dumbazz parents will allow their children to go to charter schools funded by Bill Gates (who's traipsing around Africa with...

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:52 PM

Beye parent, the problem is, it's gotten to the point where some parents not only expect teachers to educate their children (which is more than reasonable to a certain extent), but are also expected to raise them. These parents take a hands off attitude and think that just because their kids go to a good school their kids will automatically perform well. Whether you like it or not education starts at home, and parent who install positive learning habits in children give their kids a cont...

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:49 PM

@This is ludicrous: What is truly ludicrous is your attempt at reading comprehension. I never said the goal is to go into people's homes. We were discussing NCLB. I was saying that WE. NEED. TO. REPEAL. NCLB. The REASON we have to do so is BECAUSE OF THE POOR PARENTING in too many of the families where the children are under-performing. Even President Obama has lectured Black people (not mixed audiences) about turning off the tv and getting rid of the video games so their kids can do homework.

This is ludicrous  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:44 PM

Also, is anyone else frightened that Violet Aura is a teacher or am I the only one?

This is ludicrous  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:38 PM

From what I am reading here, the D97 Board and the Superintendent are supposed to: a) solve issues that are nationwide, if not worldwide, problems and b) go into parents' homes and turn them into "better parents" by turning off their smartphones and reality TV shows, etc. Let's get real. That being said, what would be interesting to hear is if there is any evidence how the program instituted at Brooks last year for, I believe, kids with achievement issues worked and what's the plan for Beye.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:17 PM

@John Lewis: I agree with your anti-NCLB sentiment but mentioning it was from Bush's era muddies the waters. Yes, very true, but what has our current president shown us about his views on the future of education? He installed that Lee (Li?) Tiger Lady with the bared teeth who head edumacation federally (she was in that pseudo-documentary "Waiting for Superman" which was nothing more than a hit piece on public education and shilling for charter schools) and Arne Duncan.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 1:13 PM

@Another Beye Parent Alum: Right on! Tell it! And teachers can have 25 kids in the class so even if they try to give extra help, it's not humanly possible! If you want your child to do well, put down the DumbPhone, turn off "Basketball Wives" or whatever tripe people watch these days and work with your child. Even don't have a college degree (or even a high school degree!). Take your child to the library, read to him or her every day, TALK TO YOUR CHILD EXTENSIVELY from Day 1!

OP Parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 12:53 PM

Again - LACK OF LEADERSHIP by Roberts and Board. If this were a company and a division were failing, or a military branch or any organization - The board needs a plan that is better than just moving kids. come on.

Beye parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 11:07 AM

The fact that D97 and Beye in particular provide a good education to some students doesn't mean they don't need to improve. It's not about teachers vs parent. Its about teachers AND parents. Teachers are paid with public money. They are hired to teach all students, not just the ones who have already been educated at home. Some teachers do a great job, but others sit back and expect parents to do all the work. Time we expect quality performance from all teachers.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 10:59 AM

Dr. Roberts - your silence is deafening.

empty nester in OP from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 10:37 AM

I like the comments I am seeing....admitting that good education begins at home w/the parents and family starting when the kids are very young. In such a PC village such as OP, so much need is placed on the teachers, w/very little mention of the parents' role in learning/attitude. Also, big gov't programs aren't the answer; each community is different, so leave it to the city/state educators/leaders to make the decisions for their own communities' needs. More regulation=less control/big taxes

Jonesy from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 9:47 AM

The answer isn't more's more choices for parents. The problem is big education & big government.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 8:55 AM

To Teddy & another: I tutor at Clusters one night a week at Augusta and Pine. I will make every effort to tutor at Beye School. However, if NCLB is so ineffective, why didnt the present Federal Administration do anything to repeal this law. Now the children suffer directly because a supposed progressive government was unresponsive to the needs of the children.


Posted: August 17th, 2012 8:26 AM

Another OP Parent - you are dead on. Once the schools go, so too will Oak Park. OP is dangerously close to a death spiral. We're already seeing the first stages. Performance is starting to decline in all schools, despite increased spending. Unfortunately, OP, like many urban and near urban communities, is trying to address societal and family issues through school spending, when that's not the job of schools. The solution isn't ... if we just spend a little more.

Another Beye Parent Alum  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 7:17 AM

To blame the board or Beye teachers is downright lunacy.When my son went there, brain storming and implementing programs to reach the kids who don't meet standards, took up a lot of time and energy."You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."If education is not supported in the home, how is it the fault of the board/school?I volunteered in the classroom there & saw for myself the vast divide.If you think you know what will make the difference, GET INVOLVED & stop venting!


Posted: August 17th, 2012 6:53 AM

This discussion has taken a predictable left turn against the bi-partisan NCLB and bad parents and pro unions and teachers. No one has offered a solution to help a handful of failing kids. My guess is that it would take less money/effort than a failed Tiger Grant bid.

nclb is a true pozi scheme  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 6:12 AM

nclb is a ponzi scheme. education is big money, look at you tax bill. fail schools, parents and kids have no option to transfer to another school so they are given a voucher to go where? a charter school, with no union teachers, run by corporations. charter schools are the el-hi equivalent of for profit higher ed/career schools. nclb has not gotten us to talk about education, only misdirected anger about the educators salaries/benefits and short work day/year. nclb does nothing for students.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:41 AM

The reason why property values in OP are/were so high and stable is largely due to the fact that you can live close to the city in a nice enviournment, walk to amenities and most importantly send your kids to good schools. Once the schools go, you can watch the village crumble... And no amount of taxes will bring it back. You'll see property values plummet, and families move away, and potential residents choose other towns.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:35 AM

Oak Park schools provide a great education, and all it takes is for parents to care about their kids enough to take advantage of it. These parent would do better to stop blaming their own failures as parents on schools, and get themselves into shape, so that their kids have a fighting chance. Parents are the most important teachers in a kids life, so if a child is failing these parents need to start being parents and stop passing the buck, or else OP schools will one day go down the tube.

Another op parent  

Posted: August 17th, 2012 2:25 AM

Accountability is of up most importance, but it's disproportionately shifted towards teachers when greater accountability should be placed on parents. Parents who show little to no interest in their kids education, let them watch countless hours of tv, countless hours of video games, allow them to behave in whichever way they please... Are the ones installing poor work and social habits into their kids... And then they expect teachers to turn around years of neglect, and blame them for failure.

OP parent  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 10:46 PM

Yes, Bush wanted to privatize public education, but the introduction of accountability was a good thing. We just need to use the results to improve education not defund it. Too often I have seen teachers step in to help/instruct the white upper-middle class already acheiveing students, then look at the lower income kids (white and black) and kids with disabilities, shrug their shoulders and say "what can you do?". Time we expect all teachers to teach all kids.

John Lewis from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 7:17 PM

You more you know about teaching and what makes students learn, the less you like NCLB. It is a Bush era con intended to be a stepping stone to privatizing American education. Nothing more.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 6:22 PM

@Tired: Part of the evil plot. Because bringing performance standards into the mix is yet another way to demonize teachers who are dealing with a lot of poor parenting. So bust unions, increase charter schools (which take tax $$$$ and therefore make it fascist) and install a CEO at CPS like schools are corporations, my friend! It's a frigging nightmare and the worst part is it has so many citizens as cheerleaders. They know not what they do...

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 5:39 PM

That NCLB sets ridiculus standards is no doubt true. But one thing is for sure. It has gotten people to talk about education and performance standards like never before, witness all of today's responses.

To the Rescue!  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 5:33 PM

Never fear... Fast Forward is here to raise all children to passing!

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 5:32 PM

grade. Then Black students as a whole begin to fall behind. So even in the ideal environment, it's still happening. Again, I guess you didn't read my prior posts (or not very well). We HAD ANNUAL ASSESSMENTS! The California Achievement Test. But these high-stakes tests THREATEN SCHOOLS. That is not acceptable. Oak Park schools do not need to be threatened with closure. They are good schools. I was allowed to teach small groups of children at an OP school earlier this year and was very impressed.

Beye Parent Alumnus from Oak Park  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 5:30 PM

If enough members of the subgroup transfer to Whittier, then Whittier might fail the test next year and Beye would pass. What happens then? Do those students transfer back to Beye? and on and on into infinity...

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 5:28 PM

BeyeMom: How is it an insanely bigoted remark? On what planet? I didn't say that Black and Latino kids have the DNA that prevents them from succeeding in school. I am saying that I believe NCLB was designed to destroy public education. Look at Bill Gates' reach into the charter system. Even in Oak Park (where racism most likely does not exist in the public schools), the same divide is being seen at a certain point in the child's education. Black and White kids are the same until around 3rd cont.


Posted: August 16th, 2012 3:11 PM

I don't think NCLB is perfect, but it is not designed to "stigmatize" blacks and latinos who can not "keep pace" with whites academically. That is insanely bigoted. We should measure how all our kids are doing, and make sure all our kids are succeeding. Middle class kids have books to read, words early in life, and expectations of them. All children should--those things cost nothing. They are primarily gifts from a responsible parent, schools merely build on the potential they are presented

OP Parent  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 2:15 PM

Sorry to beat a dead horse but where is the OP97 Board Leadership on this issue? Why must the feds step in to get our house in order? OP achievement is way down from 30 years ago when OPRF was 12th in State. Leadership=plan action= results.


Posted: August 16th, 2012 1:33 PM

No I did not attend school in Oak Park. I was a horrible student with disinterested parents. I graduated in the lower 25% of my high school class. Despite it all, I scored a 29 on my ACT and put myself through college and have made a nice living. I would have been thrown out in your world - so that's my frame of reference.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 1:07 PM

Why this sudden need? I repeat: did you attend OP schools back in the day? We had the California Achievement Test. It was great to compare my abilities to others in the country (above average, thank you very much!). But this high-stakes bovine excrement is nothing but a blatant attempt to shut down public schools as we know them. And Obamacare sucks schweaty ballz, except if you're in the insurance racket! SINGLE-EFFING-PAYER!


Posted: August 16th, 2012 1:03 PM

@VA - We need some kind of measurement and effectiveness of schools and teachers; not all teachers are gods nor are all failing kids criminals. Kicking out so-called troublemakers to where? I liken NCLB to Obamacare - both bad in practice with good intentions.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 12:40 PM

@RLM: Bingo! And it's not supposed to be properly funded--don't you get it? Do you think Obama is helping with public education? That Yee woman (Tiger Education Chief), Arne Duncan?! Why not end the illegal, immoral wars on Day 1, no further drone attacks, and use the excess money for funding NCLB properly?

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 12:36 PM

One more thing regarding the ED students--if children of other races and ethnicities keep seeing the majority of the disturbances occurring with Black students, they will unconsciously become biased. It is difficult to explain to a young child the historical and socio-economic reasons for it. And some of these kids will go home and tell their parents (who may be racist as it is) and it just perpetuates unfortunate views.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 12:33 PM

troublemakers. The ED/BD numbers of Black students is highest and they need a therapeutic setting. The level of disruption in the classroom is unreal. I was observing in an area school recently and this little Black girl was obviously mentally disturbed. She should not have been in that classroom in the first place. Now the other kids looked like they were used to it, but it is so unfair to them! She had a complete flip-out for no good reason. She had serious cognitive delays. It was horrible.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 12:30 PM

Teddy, we have to abolish NCLB because it was designed to fail, designed to stigmatize the Black and Latino communities, who have problems with academic achievement at the same rates as Whites and even some foreigners. I also believe that we have to become very aggressive in demanding parental involvement. I've worked in schools and am about to begin my student teaching. Some conferences yield very few parents. Nope--they should be REQUIRED to attend at some later date. And kick out chronic...


Posted: August 16th, 2012 12:09 PM

@VA - I agree that parents can be a big part of the problem in some instances, they always have been, even in the "good old days". So what are we supposed to do with the kids if the parents won't help? Perhaps I still believe the kids deserve help despite disinterested adults, including and especially their parents.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 12:03 PM

Teddy, continue on with your victimization meme. We're done here. Parents. are. part. of. the. equation. The. main. part. Why are Catholic schools highly regarded and parents willing to pay tuition? Because they do not have to accept nonsense and they make parents part of the solution. Just as police are being asked to act as mediators and surrogate parents (ain't gonna end well, folks), this burden on schools to produce with children of (possibly) dysfunctional, disinterested adults in insane.


Posted: August 16th, 2012 11:59 AM

@b-Mom - Now we're getting somewhere. A correlation between poverty and low achievement. Poverty isn't the cause of course, but what exactly is and what can be done to help? Giving them money and living in a mansion wouldn't increase their test scores. Clearly they have all the necessary materials for instruction. This is a very small group - what can/should be done?


Posted: August 16th, 2012 11:43 AM

2012 numbers are not published yet. In 2011, 58 African Americans attended 3, 4 & 5th grade at Beye. Of those, 67.9% met or exceeded standards in reading, 81% in math. 18 AA children struggle. 58 students in 3-5 last year at Beye were economically disadvantaged. Only 64.9% met standards for reading, 77.1% for math. 26 poor students struggled. There is likely overlap in these groups. Hatch has similar census, and 80-90% of these students there performed at or above standards for 2011.

Natural Selection Guy  

Posted: August 16th, 2012 11:24 AM

If the government would quit propping up the Darwin candidates of the world, we would'nt have this problem.


Posted: August 16th, 2012 11:09 AM

So there are a handful of students/parents at Beye who can't seem to get it together. So the solution is to allow the parents who give a damn to transfer to other schools? WTF? Why not just focus on the kids/parents who are having problems? How many kids are bringing down the scores? 30?


Posted: August 16th, 2012 11:01 AM

I don't care what the legal requirements are or who is to blame unless that information helps find a solution. We know throwing money at the problem hasn't worked, perhaps the money is going to the wrong places. I think most (many) people don't mind paying for schools or other taxing bodies for that matter so long as the money isn't being wasted.

RLM from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 10:07 PM

NCLB requires the subgroups be every letter I've received at another D97 school about not meeting AYP the subgroups have been identified as well. This is not the problem. Even the fact that they are "low" performing isn't the problem. The legislation is the problem, the standards go up and no money is tied to it to help schools help the kids...this is flawed legislation since its inception and nothing has been done about it.


Posted: August 15th, 2012 10:01 PM

@VA - So the subgroup really should be those who do not have family involvement, right? Is that one of the subgroup categories? Or.... perhaps you are stereotyping, huh?

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 8:53 PM

cont. extra services (tutoring, after school care, etc.) and where does the family fit into the equation? About identifying the subgroup, I believe the parents have every right to know the results of the test. Granted, not all Black studets probably were in the lower results list. So it makes my case that publicizing it is not injurious to BP as a whole. And about "dragging down the school," that's what NCLB was designed to do. And of course it will lead to more in-fighting amongst the races.

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 8:50 PM

Teddy, as soon as you uttered the word 'union,' you had me at hello. See, I get where you're coming from and I don't like it. Did you go to OP schools? Was there any problem with them then? Not only wasn't there any problem, they were consistently the best in the state, if not the nation! Now those kudos go to Naperville, RF, and other areas in the state. The solution is NOT to place the onus on schools. Let's see: now they are required to feed kids for at least two meals, provide *cont.

OP Parent  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 7:23 PM

naming the group is idiotic and poor for all AA parents. if you are poor performing - it basically says they are dragging down school and if you are not, you are still seen as part of the problem. i would love if they spent less time studing problem and more time fixing it.

OP Parent  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 7:18 PM

Teddy brings up an insightful comment. The district's response that is is a rule/ policy is the typical non creative response. Get special group of teachers, lead the parents, and explain the issue - get results. leadership is about moving the needle not following the rules.


Posted: August 15th, 2012 7:04 PM

I see no value in identifying a subgroup unless everyone in the subgroup has the same problem and can be helped with the same solution. It's called stereotyping and it has limited value in school and life. Isn't the only subgroup that REALLY matters is those with low scores, regardless of any other physical or emotional attribute?


Posted: August 15th, 2012 6:27 PM

NCLB is far from perfect but there needs to be some accountability and way to measure if kids are learning or not. Extra help doesn't need to mean extra money; unless the union makes its members demand it of course. Dumbing down everyone to the middle is as silly as everyone needing to take advanced calculus in the 8th grade. Clearing out a school one above average student at a time isn't the answer, but what is?

Violet Aura  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 6:15 PM

Ugh. (((facepalm))) The subgroup was identified?! So we are supposed to protect a whole group when it's the reason the school is on the watch list now?! This is unbelievable. And now I hope people will understand why NCLB was designed to destroy public schools! What if those families take up Beye on its offer? Then the school is left with the underperformers? Ugh to the nth power!

OP Parent  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 4:40 PM

This is a lack of leadership by the Board. If the leadership knows it is an issue, they should have extra development available. Also, some of the issues have to do with wealth inequality. If I am affluent, I can get resources to offset any issues. Let's give the children a bteer chance if needed - and ask the district 97 board some tough questions.


Posted: August 15th, 2012 3:00 PM

OPRFDad -- I agree it is bad policy pretty much no matter how you slice it. But it's currently the requirement under No Child Left Behind. I have grade school aged kids and would be happy to send them to any of the elementary schools in Oak Park. As for Former Oak Parker, I'm with Kevin.

Kevin Cassidy from Oak Park  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 2:23 PM

@Former Oak Parker --really a shame you're not with us anymore. You must have been a really positive influence in our community.

Former Oak Parker  

Posted: August 15th, 2012 12:15 PM

If the "low performing subgroup" hadn't been named, how many readers of this article wouldn't have been able to guess? Let's see a show of hands...anyone?


Posted: August 15th, 2012 8:59 AM

@ What about - But what if we hadn't spent all that extra money? Think about how bad things would have been then. Now off to explore all the brand new playgrounds installed by D97 and their various programs purchased and sitting on shelves. Cause if they ask for it and don't spend it, they can't ask for more next time.

What about the children?  

Posted: August 14th, 2012 8:35 PM

The pro-referendum folks were right about one thing; bad schools reduce home values. See what happens.... wait, I guess it did pass....


Posted: August 14th, 2012 8:16 PM

So the logic is: your school has a disproportionate share of low performing people from a certain group, do you want to get out of this school so you can be near higher performing people from that group? Or is it to allow people from the low performing group to go to a school that does a better job with people of "their kind"? Does this strike anyone else as bad policy?

Debbie from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2012 7:26 PM

No Child Left Behind is ridiculous. It needs to be scrapped and replaced with something that makes sense and is achievable.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: August 14th, 2012 5:19 PM

If you want to make sure a race doesn't get mentioned as not meeting the standards then don't include race on the tests because how else would they know? Now the school leaders go and ask why the teachers can not teach Black students, as well as they can teach the White students.

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