Sunday, December 14, 2014

National Solidarity Sunday

On Sunday 12-14-14 New Bethel COGIC along with thousands of other churches and houses of worship all across America, participated further in the national movement to facilitate change for countless families calling for a revamping of the criminal justice system and community policing.  

The critic asserts that Blacks have run-ins with the law and are in jail because they commit more crimes, but nearly every study done on the issues creates totally different picture than those that appear in the news. Not only is a Black man more likely to die at the hands of police or a law enforcement official, (as of this writing there have been 5 high profile Black homicides at the hands of the police in 5 months) but once sentenced, Blacks are more likely to receive a higher and more lengthy sentence than their White counterparts. Blacks are also more likely to be engaged and stopped by the police during the normal course of life and living based on "suspicious" activity. 

The fact is that both Blacks and Whites commit crimes at similar rates, nearly 6.4%. Yet the prison population explodes with Black persons and persons of color at disproportionately high rates. Combine that with the seeming reversal of 4th Amendment rights and high unemployment and poverty rates within the Black community, then there is no wonder why we have a dangerous combination of frustration and unrest, which leads to a strained relationship between the police and the community. 

Below is a 7 point agenda developed by myself, that a group of associates and I will be promoting along with other items and issues in the coming days and on into the new year. We believe that these issues are fundamental to the process of change which must occur in our city, Peoria, and is inclusive of everyone in the community and not just the poor and minority. In our opinion, these issues have an importance for citizens on Grandview Drive as equally as they have importance for citizens living on Howett St.  You'll be hearing more about these agenda items in coming days and we will add to them as citizens speak up and out on the issues. 


  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Black Lives Matter...Most Of The Time

The recent excuses given to not indict individuals trusted to protect the public has created a firestorm of controversy in the United States. The Presiding Bishop of the Church Of God In Christ, Bishop Charles E. Blake, calls on the COGIC community along with all believers to send a strong message of solidarity Sunday Dec. 14th that Black Lives Matter! (I will save my continued and ongoing commendation to the church to prove the same in a future writing thus the "Most Of The Time" appellation in the title)

New Bethel COGIC, The Dunamis Word and entities in which I, Pastor Harvey Burnett, have association or oversight of, also gladly join in with our national church organization to send a message around the country that we believe that BLACK LIVES MATTER!

[Please join New Bethel COGIC at 824 N. Duryea The Romeo B Garrett Ctr. on the campus of Bradley University at 9:00AM Sunday Dec. 14th. Email for more details at Dunamis1@netzero.com]

Pastor Harvey Burnett, New Bethel COGIC, The Dunamis Word & Related Entities Also Believe:

The quality and current condition of Black Lives matter as well. 
Therefore, we call upon business and social and political leaders to help create and develop sustainable economic opportunities whereby Black and poor minorities can be and become gainfully employed and a relevant part of the development of their communities.


The quality of communication, between authority and the community, matters, and must be enhanced:

Therefore, we call on the police and other entities entrusted with the preservation of the public trust to create methods of communication and dialogue that are in the best interest of the entire community and that safeguard all citizens. We commend both citizens and authorities to be held accountable to following those established guidelines and standards, quickly fixing and redressing issues that arise.  

The tactics of authorities must be improved and developed in accord with the community:
We call on law enforcement at all levels to work with the community and community groups in developing strategies and tactics that best serve the public, fight crime and be of a benefit to all citizens.

We Believe That The Local Process Of Police Policing Themselves And The Use Of The Local Prosecutor Or States Attorney In The Cases Of Police Killing Is Ineffective And Ask For A Complete Overhaul In The Process Which Includes An Automatic Independent Review Of Each Occurrence In Which A Citizen Is Killed By A Law Enforcement Official. 
All around the country, in events such as those that took the life of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the public relies on the local States Attorney's office for Grand Jury assembly and due process. The States Attorney's office however is placed in an immediate position of conflict of interest because that office regularly works with police in order to produce convictions against criminals. We believe that process should be changed immediately simply based on the "appearance" of conflict. We believe that legal review should be an "at arms length" process and regulated independent review appears to be the best way to create and maintain that type of relationship.  

We believe that the community policing strategy of "broken windows" is a tragedy and must be done away with.
We believe the the theory of "broken windows" leads to tragic incidents and standoffs between police and citizens. We believe that this failed theory has contributed to the mishandling of both innocent citizens and citizens such as Eric Garner allegedly engaged in certain low level  crime or criminal activities. We believe that the "broken windows" strategy is a racist strategy at root and only leads to racial profiling.

We believe the courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, should backtrack historical decisions and reaffirm 4th Amendment protections for ALL citizens.
The historically wild and fanciful interpretation of the courts at the recommendation of law enforcement has eroded American citizens 4th Amendments rights. A violation of 4th Amendment protections has led to excessive "stop and frisk" policies reinforcing practices of racial profiling that we see in departments and communities that embrace such theory. This must STOP! 

Good and exceptional officers should be hailed for their values, efforts and commitments to their communities.
We believe that police departments nationwide are filled with good police who respect and serve the public. We commend those good officers and leaders to stand forward, stand up, and reclaim their departments from associates who may have questionable tactics, methods and philosophies.

From the parents of a police officer:
"OUR TAKE ON ALL OF THE "UNREST" CONCERNING LAW ENFORCEMENT:

We are so disheartened with some of the bad people in law enforcement because they are making it really hard for the good cops, as our son is here in the Orlando area. People are getting so afraid of anyone in a law enforcement uniform that it's making it very difficult for the honest cops out there doing the right thing and making a positive impact in the community in which they serve. It is so very important for ALL of us that when GOOD and HONEST law enforcement gets on the scene of an emergent situation, that they are able to get control of the situation or else a lot of lives can be at stake. If people have a preconceived thought that ALL cops are "crooked cops" this will add more chaos at the scene because of this preconceived way of thinking. All of us can potentially suffer when we ourselves may really need to call "911" because we may be in a life threatening situation where if law enforcement isn't able to get control, our life or our loved ones lives may be at stake. It truly is an unfortunate and scary situation that our nation is in right now because of the bad cops out there.

From: Concerned Parents Of A "GOOD" Cop,
Rodney and Rhonda Furness"
God bless the Furness family and may the protection and the guidance of the Lord be upon them, their son and his family as he serves both God and the community in his profession. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Test Scores. What Do They Really Suggest?

A recent article by The Peoria Journal Star's Pam Adams, displays the result of the most recent round of ISAT (Illinois State Achievement Test) scores. The ISAT has been the measurement by which educational success of students and schools are assessed within Illinois. 
The term "meet or exceeds adequate yearly progress" or AYP, which is not required when assessing private schools, is a term, deemed by the former Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind policy, to be the level at which all schools and the District itself should perform when it comes to closing the gap in educational achievement and success of all students. 

Although much can be said about "No Child Left Behind" and even more for the new "Common Core Curriculum" requirements, the point of her article was that Charter Oak school (down 47% from the previous testing year) and ultimately District 150 (down 6.2% as a whole from the previous year) as a whole failed to meet AYP and that many schools within the District severely reversed their previous or prior years AYP numbers leading one to question the quality of education not only in the affected schools, but in District 150 as a whole. 

While those criticisms may be in order, it is good to look further at what the numbers may reveal regarding District 150 that make it ripe for more resources and attention than what has been directed towards it in the past. 

What The Numbers Reveal

CCIRB Comparison Of Economic Data
The numbers reveal that nearly 75% of District 150 students are "low income". According to the US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, low income is defined as a family of three with annual earnings less than $49,100 in Illinois.

Now that may be true for the Dept. of Housing & Urban development but according to a Sunday Nov. 2nd article in the Peoria Journal Star, the term "low income" in education refers to

"students and families receiving public aid, free or reduced lunches, living in institutions for neglected or delinquent children or in foster homes supported with public funds"
The latter definition makes much more sense when evaluating the results.

Please note however, that what the numbers do not say is that the families and children of some schools themselves are much worse economic condition than the district avg. 

For example, Roosevelt School, which sits in the heart of economically blighted 61605 zip code, who's poverty and unemployment numbers are well above both state and national averages, has a 90% low income rate and demonstrates a 19% proficiency on ISAT scores. Those numbers are consistent with other schools sharing the same zip code, such as Harrison with a 91% low income student population and a 13% ISAT proficiency rating and Trewyn which has a 92% low income student population demonstrating a 15% ISAT proficiency rating. 

The previous numbers can be compared to schools outside of the 61605 "poverty zone" such as Calvin Coolidge (61604) with a 79% low income rate but a student ISAT proficiency of 32%, and Mark Bills (61615) with a 62% low income rate and a 48% ISAT proficiency.

Performance is in nearly every case associated with economics and economic opportunity. 73% of the nearly 14,000 students of District 150 are low income, as compared to 51% on state average. ISAT scores in the range of 30% proficiency (32.1% District 150) are consistent with the economic condition of students across the state likewise situated. 

To suggest that moving a Principal who does not teach a class, nor administers or prepares students for standardized tests, is the reason for low test scores, is not only a silly notion, it is down right deceptive. No student under-performs on an ISAT or other standardized test because the Principal is not in their office. Further, most students have no dealings with the Supt., and when they do it is generally positive within the school environment. So to blame the person of the Supt, is misplaced as well. If "policies" are to blame, one must first make the distinction between what is required by law and what is implemented as a District practice. 

I believe like many that certain legal requirements which schools are bound by are not good and do not facilitate best outcomes for our students. However, even in those cases, one is hard pressed to make a link that a particular policy has damaged or directly effected or lowered test scores.    

Economic Emergency

The numbers reveal that there is an economic emergency in a District whose primary constituents are Minority and poor.  Last year, the group 'change 150' duped the public into believing that voting for the 1% sales tax increase was a vote against an out of control school administration and a public mandate to change school leadership. While I am not debating the details over the implementation of the proposed tax, I am suggesting that the public was deceived in confusing 2 issues believing that they were one. 

First, as stated, neither the Supt. nor a Principal teaches a single class in this district. Neither do either of them administer a single standardized test. Whatever issues that the public may have with the Supt. or her leadership are best handled in the appropriate forums. Employees have Unions and pay Union dues. If there are issues, the Unions should be FORCED to stand up and address them one by one until the constituents of the union are satisfied. 

Secondly, and most importantly, to confuse any of the aforementioned employee/Supt issues with opportunities for our children incenses me to no no end, and only displays evil and insensitive hearts towards the real issues. The real issues are our children and their welfare, education and success which leads to their contribution to society; not the comfort of some Principal whose salary is more than twice that of the low income families that they serve within their schools. As long as individuals and organizations intentionally confuse those issues then other individuals and organizations will continue to rise to combat their ignorance, grandstanding and absurd notions. 

Necessary Upgrades

What is necessary is the continued access to resources for students and teachers and the support of those individuals both by continually encouraging them to develop lesson plans that wisely use school resources and explore opportunities to reach the students in the seats. 

The complete process of education must be relevant to the needs of the individuals being taught. A 1920 or 1930 model of education is wholly inadequate to meet a 2014 or modern education need of our students and families and no longer will we allow technology to simply be used as a method of babysitting in the classroom. Classroom education needs to be vibrant and active and must begin long before the doors are open to a student.

Above A Union Contract 

Teachers must be encouraged to go above and beyond the constraints of a Union contract or Title One reimbursement dollars in order to make a difference. In fact, following the low ebb of contracts, in most cases, assures failure of our students and will more than likely facilitate failure of everyone in this modern, and ever changing environment.

Children need broad base educational access and teachers full of dreams, not fear, because poverty always pulls dreams down, lowers expectations and creates fear and apprehension.

To address these and other issues, programs such as Dreambuilders are programs that teachers must have access to in order to prepare themselves to make a difference in the class and regain their education time. The language gap must be bridged and stereotypes removed along with the view of mass incarceration which is displayed in the schools through the process of mass discipline. The teacher must know each child well before the first day of class and know what associations and relationships exist that will make education pertinent and profitable to each child under their care. 
Dream Builders 1 Seminar snapshot
The handling and implementation of IEP's (Individualized Education Plans) for those students who qualify, must be of priority both in funding and implementation so that the education process within the classroom can flow more smoothly and efficiently. Facilities must be updated so that the best possible experiences within the class environment can occur. Who can teach in 110 degree buildings closed due to fear of neighborhood unrest, which most schools suffer from today? What can a student learn in such an environment? To see students and teachers subjected to this type of treatment in 2014 is a shame upon the community itself, yet individuals want us to believe that to vote against facilities improvements is a good thing??? They and their notions are beyond credulity and only prove to be self serving in nature. 

Peoria Business Please Step Up!

Woodruff Vo-Tech Tour
(L to R)Pastor H. Burnett, Lt. Gov. Paul Vallas,
Supt. Dr. G. Lathan, Larry Ivory Illinois Blk, Chamber CEO
The Peoria Black Chamber has made very valuable strides to support the progress of Peoria education, emphasizing the value of many new District 150 programs and approaches to our students. However, with that said, we are still mindful that there must be a concerted effort from the entire business community to find and provide resources to help facilitate school and public education success. 

The companies doing construction on District projects or providing HVAC services from ultimately taxpayer funds, should be made to have both apprenticeship and hiring standards and goals involving District 150 students. Why should those companies earn millions of tax payer dollars without a commitment to economically impact the student population in the area where they themselves do business? 

That may be the "old" way that things are done in Peoria, but God help us if those ways continue, because they only display a lack of concern for the future of the community itself.  

Conclusion

In summary, I say that the test scores suggest many things about Peoria, its population and the people that make decisions within it. It says that may folk are simply disconnected from the real issues and only want to waive a "magic wand" of some sorts to make all their "troubles" go away. Unfortunately for all of us, that is not how it works. 

If we want change in the streets, we must, by virtue of that sentiment, demand a strong education system where there are resources that are used and managed for the benefit of our children and where their are environments that suit and meet the needs of modern education. We must also demand that education be made pertinent to the demographic of students that are served by updating education and lesson plans and approaches to student behavior and discipline that eliminate the feeling of incarceration from education, but that recreates the feeling of family and community. 

These are things we CAN do and that we CAN change, but will we? Or will we simply seek to blame all failures and lack of success on other people? From what many tell our children at school level, to blame others is to not see your actions or to take responsibility for your part in it...What could YOU have done better to avoid this? How will you make it better?

I think in this case, those questions may be in order...       

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Peoria...You Really Want To Change Our Community? You NEED to Listen...

Peoria has declared its own renewed war on drugs through the Don't Shoot initiative. You need to HEAR why the proscribed approach, which is no more than what was already set before us, is wholly inadequate and will only lead to more mass incarceration of Black men and women. 

I HOPE we hear before it is too late!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

CCIRB A TRUE Citizens Committee To Address Peoria's Community Policing Issues

The events in Ferguson, MO. is becoming a measuring-stick of many communities.  Those who do not take measure or do not examine themselves in light of these events are simply missing the boat and I believe setting the stage for unrest in their own communities.

The following is a brief examination of the similarities between Ferguson MO. and 1 zip code similarly situated to Ferguson. We believe that a TRUE Citizen's review Board calling on multiple community members and partners to address the issues, is the way to both prepare for and address all things. When examining the numbers on Pg. 2, one cannot understate the significant and terrible similarities between Ferguson and Peoria:
We were intrigued to read a recent article in the Peoria Journal Star  outlining  an "advisory committee on police-community relations". While the effort to sound as if Peoria is doing much work on patching police/community relationships sounds good, there is little as it pertains to the bite of the program because of the apparent conflicts of interests, limited scope of inclusion and selective issues that the committee addresses.

One could ask, what issues has this so called "committee" addressed? How has this committee "advised" the police? Did it "advise former Peoria Police Chief Settingsgaard to drop its "broken windows" community policing strategy? Has it undertaken to address the multiple complaints of police overreach since the City adopted the "Don't Shoot" strategy to combat gangs and gang activity? Then, why would the citizens, especially them in highly affected areas, not know the benefits and objectives of such a committee and be encouraged to be involved in addressing issues that affect us all?

These are questions not easily answered, but neither are they being asked, and especially not by this committee. But let us examine this further...

In 2009, our office received multiple complaints about the interaction of Peoria police with its citizenry. There were over 8 Black men that contacted our office who had highly negative experiences with the police in which they felt that their rights and civil liberties were violated. Although the police claimed that they had not initially received complaints of these gentlemen, I was told that their complaints weren't "real" and that I (Pastor Burnett) was just "stirring things up" by the former police Chief Settingsgaard.



When  we filed the multiple complaints, the former Chief found out that they were "real". Each complaint was addressed and every person leveling a complaint was answered satisfactorily. Whether the end result was desirable or not for each individual, the men were glad to see that at least their issues were taken seriously.

It is that flippant attitude toward citizens of low estate and especially Black citizens, that the CCIRB is designed to address. Though every complaint may not have merit, every complaint should be heard and taken seriously. In addition, more than Black citizens are affected by these sort of events and occurrences. Community policing is an issue for EVERY man, woman and child of this city. We should ask, what can we expect when we are stopped? Is it simply street justice, or can we expect to be handled professionally and with integrity? In addition, we should ask, what type of persons are on our force? What is the temperament of officers, and what tests have been administered to gauge that so that officer rotations can be made in a corresponding manner? 

While I believe that a city should reflect the makeup of it's citizenry, it is a DEAD issue to assume that adding Black officers, or officers of diverse races solves or even addresses the problem with Peoria policing. We advised Settingsgaard to drop the "broken windows" community policing strategy. We have no idea whether that policy continues to exist in Peoria, but we do know this:

Currently there are a series of complaints dealing with the overreach of Peoria Police in the implementation of its "Don't Shoot" tactic to target gang members. The complaints that we have received are not from the criminals and gang-members themselves, but from non-criminal family members in how the program is being administrated. There are some serious issues that could lead to more intense and negative relationships on the streets. That coupled with the low economic environment of certain segments of our community creates a "powder-keg" environment that the so called "advisory committee" will not touch and or address. I believe that failure to address such serious issues is due to conflicts of interest and desire to cater to politics and political issues.  

We will not be so deceived and or entangled. implement a TRUE plan that INCLUDES All citizens of Peoria and asks the tough questions and formulates real and right now strategies that uplift the community. The CCIRB is a true Citizens sponsored plan that includes everyone that has interest in insuring that our community does not suffer unrest and that issues are addressed in a forthright manner. 

Additional info to come.

Pastor H. Burnett  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The "Well Respected Principal" Of change...

"The issue of a local, well respected principal's apparent character assassination is not only unfortunate but a distraction from what every one of us is called to serve- do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature of the race strawman, but rather serve one another in love!" 

This was the commentary from a confused and obviously uninformed citizen encouraging me, (Pastor Burnett) because I am Black, to commit my energy to freeing slaves in Sudan. At the same time calling me "misguided" and oppressed by the devil.

These are the comments that life is made of when one comes against principalities and spiritual wickedness that have bound the hearts and minds of individuals and they are filled with confusion. First, because I am Black does not give me a greater concern for Sudan. I am an American and have never been to Sudan. That suggestion in itself is RACIST and based on racist, stereotypical notions. Secondly, if one believes in God and biblical truth, how can one believe that God will use anyone to free anyone else when, according to them, that person is yet bound and in an even worse condition? Not only is a biblical interpretation of such out of line with scripture, its is contrary to all that Jesus taught about the mote and beam. (Mt. 7:3-5)

Third, and more pertinently to the issues at had, is this person's reference to the "well respected principal's apparent character assassination" part:

John Wetterauer
We all know that John Wetterauer was relieved from his duties at Charter Oak GS due to his failure to detect and report testing irregularities. According to many of the group's leaders and adherents, this removal was the "straw that broke the camel's back" giving rise to a vocal outcry from the Charter Oak Parent group which eventually gave way to the group "change150". Out of all the supposed "injustices" and "mismanagement" of Dr. Grenita Lathan. According to them, the removal of Wetterhauer demanded action because he was a "good man".

While the later may be true to some that he may have had positive experiences with, the record paints a slightly different picture of the person that the group, change 150, has championed. I will just say this, if he wasn't already a bad employee, he became a bad employee over time, and there is noone to blame but himself for that.

The part that I find interesting, is that this Supt., his boss, was willing to deal with his character issues, and all
Supt. Dr. Grenita Lathan
the negative that he was placing not only upon employees, but also parents and ultimately children in order for him to even keep a job. Certainly, it appeared that all was well on the surface, but there seemed to be something building underneath that reached epic proportions and disregard of rules and procedures.

I believe that under any other boss, and even many of them defending him who own businesses, that Mr. Wetterauer would not have had a job long before there were questions about "testing irregularities". This "monster Supt" as she has been called by critics, not only gave this breaking bad employee a chance, but still, in the end, did not fire the man from his job but helped save his pension by placing him on administrative leave with pay (before he took sick leave) and before ultimately transferring him to anther location prior to his resignation.

What you will see in DOCUMENTED reports, is that the character by which change 150 gets its fuel to act. It seems from the reports, that he signed off on, that he was not a team player, did not follow the outlined and proscribed rules in many instances and even made up his own rules, violated outlined school policies and procedures all while complaining openly about leadership, and was not only accused of racism but spoke to Black students and parents using negative and racist connotations and language in his unwarranted diatribes.    
Below you will see 3 reports from this "well respected principal's" file with Peoria District 150. These reports are public knowledge and something that the principal was willing to live with regarding his person and the interpretations of his character. Believe me, this is nothing that I would ever have made up, but certainly adds much context to the "tails" continued attempt to "wag the dog", when it comes to answering what some folk really want "changed" in Peoria education. As I have said previously, as we look more deeply this whole issue has nothing to do with children or their progress...  
 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

ISBE...change 150 Declares Victory...Sure...OK...

I have never seen so many blatant lies, half truths, and such a need to deceive at almost every hand. When it comes to District 150 and their current and welcome efforts to modernize District 150 education, making the District a place for the improvement and acceptance of ALL of our students, and yes, that does include IMPROVEMENTS in education for Black, low income and all minority students as well, there has never been so much public deception and efforts to steer the conversation in ways that it was never intended to go or even suggested.

One such effort begins with the reporting of information and claims that there was no evidence that neither the former Charter Oak Principal, John Wetterhauer nor certain Special education teachers manipulated or changed test answers. Interestingly enough, and what makes this so deceptive, is that this is an issue that neither District 150 nor its board never asked or even suggested, however, it is being reported as some sort of clearing of the Charter Oak teachers and administrators of their alleged misdeeds. Let's look at one groups continued misleading of the public on this issue.  

"Cleared of cheating"???

According to the group calling itself "change 150" the former Charter oak Principal and teachers have been "Cleared of ISAT cheating" by the ISBE letter (which can be viewed below). The assumption is that the letter, cleared both Charter Oak teachers and administrators of cheating and that, according to them, the letter only serves to sheds light on the "monster Supt." the WOMAN who is at the head of District 150 destroying it piece by piece starting with our "pride and joy" Charter Oak....

Change 150's statements and assessment of facts are borderline DELUSIONAL.

First, the findings of the ISBE are not in line with and have no bearing on the initial complaint of the District as I have stated above...NOBODY and their Grandmother claimed that tests were manipulated as in having answers changed after they were handed in...The claim was that the tests were IMPROPERLY administered and administrated. This means that the tests were given outside of the guidelines of the accommodations specified by the children's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) This does not suggest in any way, that the teachers, after obtaining the the tests from the students, took the answer sheets, read the tests and erased and corrected the answers...That was NEVER the claim. The ISBE found no evidence of that. District 150 found no evidence of that either. Neither District 150, nor Supt. Lathan made that claim. The CHEATING comes in when, from all evidence and results, that neither the administrator nor the teachers were following the outlined guidelines, and were possibly, according to the resultant numbers, steering students into answers that they otherwise would not have had or would not have come up with on their own. This had NOTHING to do with changing answers on a test or multiple tests. The proposed cheating was much more ominous and less obvious than that.  

The ISBE report in no way clears ANY person of the allegations that District 150 made or the findings of discrepancy which are evident among the scores, even according to them. 

To interpret the statement as a "clearing" someone of "cheating" is simply a deception and a delusion that this group continues to perpetrate. This only leads to our second point:  

If one simply reads the statement PRIOR to the answer for which no allegation was ever made, one will find that the ISBE agrees that Charter Oak test scores were irregular. Here is the ISBE statement:
"While ISBE recognizes that the results of the administrations over several years have yielded highly discrepant results for a select group of students, as identified by the District..."
Now, let's look back at the change 150 statement and even the suggestion by John Wetterhauer's attorney claiming that the report provides some level of "vindication" for his client. Examine their statements and ask yourself, what do we have? I'll tell you, it is fairly clear...We have the TAIL wagging the Dog unfortunately...Plainly and simply, we have manipulation and misstatement of the argument and certain facts in order to steer public perception and conversation on the issue in the wrong way....only the INFORMED need inquire further. Neither of their statements (neither change 150's or Wetterhauer's attorney) can stand light of day and examination under the perspective of truth.

Taking The Complaint Further

One should ask, what does the ISBE see that makes them feel compelled to take actions further than anything the District requested, by turning over the report to the unit which regulates licenses. In other words the ISBE basically avoids all the issues that the District outlines, answers a point that was not asked or ever brought into question, admits that 4 years of discrepancies were brought to them, but they only examined one, and then turned over everything to the Educator Licensure Division for further determination.....

This is very interesting because according to an article written by Pam Adams of the Peoria Journal Star, the District's case and allegations were "uncommon". This is what Pam wrote:
"This case was uncommon, according to a state board spokeswoman, because it covered allegations spanning a four-year period, rather than one instance."
It would seem that there was no rush to judgement here on District 150's behalf as has been suggested by Dr Lathan's opponents and detractors. It would also seem that from ISBE eyes and assessment that allegations from ONE instance or ONE year are sufficient to make a case for review. Does this 4 year wait sound like a Supt. or Board run amuck arbitrarily making decisions to destroy people and take apart schools as we have heard ad nauseum in this case? Does it even make sense to suggest that either the Supt. or Board were ready to destroy Charter Oak, their teachers or administrators by taking 4 years to do so? The suggestion and fundamental charge of change 150 and Wetterhauer's attorney is ridiculous and revealed to be nothing more than a smokescreen and obfuscation of truth.

Licenses May Be Revoked?

District 150 did not ask the ISBE to review any licenses. Who did this? Noone wanted educator licenses revoked or called into question. However, do the allegations warrant this, or is this merely a diversionary tactic or plan. I ask this because I would like to know who and which individuals wanted the ISBE to drop the entire matter and not make any determinations at all? Could someone, PLEASE answer that for us...The peanut gallery would like to know!

We are in receipt of certain information which strongly suggests that the the ISBE was pressured by powerful interests to NOT proceed further with any of this. It would seem that the ISBE making judgement on issues which were not in question may be their best response to that pressure. 

I simply ask, WHAT IS THE "SECRET" that these "interests" do not wish to come to the surface? Was the ISBE report deliberately misdirected or redirected to NOT address any of the substantive issues that the District claimed at this point? Certainly there was high level discussion regarding the District 150 issue, because it was and is "uncommon". Shouldn't such an "uncommon" situation warrant more than a simple one page response of less than 300 words, especially after all this time? Since there is no timeline for review of the more substantive claims, will there be further manipulation and redirection away from the initial complaint to serve the "talking heads" as they fill the air with confusion and deception to serve their own needs?

I don't know, but one thing is for sure, this is a real battle and issue and it is filled with mystery, intrigue, deception, posturing, and all the political games that one would expect from the worst political pundits ever. For sure, WE won't be deceived by any of them and we will continue to examine this matter further and on a more proactive basis.

Let us make a few phone calls and find out what is really going on and who it really is, aside from those already identified by our efforts, that have a vested interest at removing this Supt. and undermining this Board, by creating so many lies and hysteria about this issue and more.

ISBE Letter to District 150:

      

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Press Conference Transcript

Want to know what I said? Don't go off on the bits and pieces, or what you heard someone say and simply fall in line with. Be bold. Be brave. Read the material. If you are given to the truth, this will open your eyes as to why I say what I said and why I will continue to question both the motive and mission of 'change 150' and the Mayor's commentary.

The one thing that is making a tangible and marked difference in the community, especially the Black and poor minority community,they say is going the "wrong direction"...PLEASE! They need to be ashamed of themselves!

Transcript:

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Core Values"...Let's Get To The Truth!

Since the transfer of a John Wetterauer, the former Principal of Charter Oak Grade School, the parents group and certain others, now calling themselves 'change 150' have been up in arms even demanding the immediate removal of the District Supt. Dr. Grenita Lathan.

This group has not only rallied, they have overfilled board meetings, heckled those who disagree with them, insulted the Supt, demeaned Board members and continue to do such openly and happily.

Until my statements this week at the board meeting, noone really knew how low certain individuals, in the "funk" of this group's horrible advances had gone to intimidate the Supt. and Board members and to strike fear in their minds. There have been "blue ribbons" thrown on the Supt.'s lawn in late night drive-bys, personal threats toward both the Supt. and Board members causing some Board members to secure personal security for themselves.

The question is where does this "hatred" and this supposed urgency for "change" in leadership come from? 

One would think that it is because the District has failed in reaching our students. Yet the record reflects the opposite. Part of the District's record is as follows:
*Balanced budgets. Balanced and in the BLACK the last 4 years even with the State holding money.
*Greater and more extensive teacher training to reach students in the seats.
*The Acquisition of current textbooks to better facilitate modern education.
*Technology necessary to make the learning experience relevant.
*Updated and modernized school facilities and environments.
*Teachers who now are accountable not only to their bosses, but also to parents.
*An atmosphere of accountability throughout the entire education system.
*Vocational & Technical Training to serve the needs of students who want to immediately be a productive part of society after school is over.
*Open communication, participation and dialogue through Parent Universities, and the Parent/Teacher Advisory Committee.
*Environments where the considerations of our children are placed first and foremost.
*Multiple opportunities of gainful employment for a diverse population of Peoria citizens. 
I am proud to be a part of this because I know the impact of a good education on crime and violence and overall benefits to and towards the community. Some of the critics say, "well ISAT tests results were lower last year, therefore this District is failing"...Well, it is true that ISAT scores were lower. They were lower for nearly all school districts in Illinois due to the implementation of Common Core, which some teachers spent the whole summer preparing for, but were yet learning on the fly, when school started last year. In fact, in math, one teacher told me that nearly 2 years of learning had to be given to students to bring them up to speed with the CCC (Common Core Curriculum). The Daily Herald.com reported this of the lower scores for most school sand school districts in Illinois last year:
"The decline is largely due to a change in the way the state board grades standardized tests. The 2013 state report card results released Thursday incorporates the more rigorous Common Core State Standards, and higher performance expectations on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test with different benchmarks to better align with the Prairie State Achievement Exam, given to 11th-graders. 
Also included in the state report card is a new growth metric showing how much progress individual students or schools made from one year to the next." ~ 10/31/2013
It seems that most forget that Dunlap 323 consequently, also failed to meet AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) in test scores as well. Unfortunately, they blamed it on the Special Needs children of their district. By far most of those students were Black. (This is a little something that Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis also seems to have a little memory lapse regarding)

So what is the deal? If information is readily available, why are we at this point. I have claimed racism, and certainly believe that to be part of the case, but I will agree that there is more to it as well.  

This group has recently placed their "Core Values" statement out with the following supposed "values". I will outline the portion of what they say and critically examine each one. My commentary is highlighted and within parenthesis from this point on. 

Core Values Examined:
1- "Culture of collaboration where the school board, administration, teachers, staff, parents, students and community leaders collaborate on issues of importance...more..."
[This value CURRENTLY exists, and is nothing new. As a leader of community organizations, I and others with and without me, have always been able to access this Supt. and School Board for meaningful dialogue. For example, ANY PARENT can be a part of the Parent/Teacher Advisory Committee, which comes together to review, revise and recommend policy for the School Board to undertake as District policy. This group meets every month and Dr. Lathan does not oversee it. 

Then there is Parent University. I was the volunteer Parent Participation Liaison facilitator for 2012-2013 of this group. There were about 10 meetings over the 2012-2013 school year and I was at every one of them, helping parents address issues at their local schools, giving ideas on how to draw other parents into the classroom and schools and overall directing individuals on how to get their needs and the needs of their children met.    

I don't know how anyone else feels, but I DO NOT want any parties simply coming into the District who has no vested interest within the District. I don't want business and business owners with no children in our District and who do not live within the District to simply come in and control what happens in our District and among our children. The district is over 60% Black and poor, but we're not cattle and should not be treated as such.] 
"2- Consistent practices of accountability where rewards and consequences for following district policies and procedures are the same.  Staff needs to clearly understand what the policies and procedures are, well in advance, and should be held accountable for following them.  Correct actions or infractions must be documented and result in consistent rewards and consequences."
[Prior to this administration, THIS was the problem. Any dissatisfaction seems to stems from this...ACCOUNTABILITY. NOW, teachers are not held to be infallible any longer, and the grades that they give have to be reasoned and can be called into question. Then the relationship of Principals to the parent and teachers is somewhat different. Whereas there was a time when Principals were expected to uphold almost all that a teacher did and held to be true without question, now the Principal is a partner with both the parent  and teacher. The distress that the parent faced under the old system, which I suppose this group wants us to revert back to, is no longer there. The parent's voice is important and cannot simply be overlooked.  There is a standard of service that the parent can expect from the teacher and that will be overseen throughout the system. This is a good thing that takes "hopelessness" away from the parent and helps facilitate a partnership in education. 

Then, under previous regimes and normal practices, there was no documentation or "write ups" of employees who failed parents and there was no way to deal with rogue individuals and employees. It seems that day is over within District 150 and those who continue to want privilege of being unaccountable without responsibility are upset. The problem is that if there are teachers who have an issue, they have the protection of a union and a grievance process. Personally I feel that process (the Union process) should be used to approach any teacher dissatisfaction issues with their boss.] 
3- Coalitions with community organizations and groups who care about the education and welfare of all students in our school district.  Partnerships with parents, city leaders, civic organizations and other interested community groups can serve to enrich the educational experiences and opportunities of our students.  
[The school already has business partners who provide resources, donations and help with many things as it pertains to the education of our children, and partnership with community groups and organizations on nearly any given level. As far as I am aware, such relationships have never been prohibited. For example, Dr. Lathan personally asked pastor's groups to get involved in many aspects of the schools, Parent Universities and other processes and operations of District 150. So this suggestion is not a new thing or not anything that is currently not being done. 

However, in essence, this core value, if taken too far, is very similar to #1, and runs amuck of the same things cautioned against previously. Our children and what they have access to is not for a part time salesman who has no stake in the game. How can anyone effectively engage the district by just collecting a check? The School, is a business, but cannot be run like the everyday business. We are talking about people and their lives and highly impressionable children who know and understand when people have a vested interest in them. 

What this group is seeming to suggest, is that the leadership of the District relinquish a certain amount of "control" to community partners, and that is certainly a wrong move. There should be no outside corporate control over our children's education. That is a ridiculous move. In fact, I believe that would even be prohibited by law. The citizens, through the representative board member process, should maintain control over the district, for the benefit and the welfare of our children.]   
"4- Communication involves both listening and dialoguing.  A circle of communication requires all parties to speak and to listen to one another in a way that results in a shared understanding and resolution of issues."
[As I have already established, the Supt., as I have known her, is open to all communication both positive and negative. Then to my knowledge open dialogue, is what Board meeting are for. For the Board to discuss openly the process and policy of the district in an above board and forthright manner. Then what's more, just because someone disagrees with you, or your suggestion is not followed, does not mean that you were not heard or given serious attention or consideration. I have made many arguments and decisions have been contrary to my arguments. I was heard, but simply not agreed with. One cannot root up the whole process, simply because things don;t move when one's mouth is opened. It seems that this group simply wants to redesign the process of board business and policy and or have some sort of special access, kind of like a VIP status. if that is the case, and I don't know that it is, that kind of elitism is exactly why our education processes were lacking prior to this administration.]   
"5- Clarity of issues, whether they are financial in nature, or policy and procedural issues.  In order to build trust, honesty and transparency need to be practiced and apparent to all involved."
[If there is a question, all one has to do is ask. I ask and I receive answers and I know many others who have done the same thing from district 150. On the other hand, from 2 or 3 people, there is quite a controversy over FOIA's. Over the years, every FOIA I have asked for has come in. I have asked others who have FOAI'd the district to make sure they have received answers and there is no problem of which I am aware. They are after all constrained by law on the issue. under this administration, I have not seen anything "hidden" in the details. I said this administration. 

At this point, this seems to be an ultra-critical approach to incite suspicion. With that said, I DO believe that any public organization should be held accountable and simply not taken at first blush. That is a good approach, and I can agree that entities who are to serve in the public interest should be examined and made to make sure that they stay true to that mission.]  
"6- Care and concern for all of the schools, students, staff, and parents in District 150.  Caring for students and staff begins with providing a safe environment for students to learn.  It also involves protecting the reputations of all schools, students, principals, teachers and parents and treating them with respect, dignity, and fairness."
[Once again, this one escapes me and seems to simply feed into stereotypes and fears that have been perpetuated ad nauseam, ad infinitum by this group. First of all, due to the advances and resources and training that this District has spent money on (that the critics do not want them to spend) our children are being educated much better and teachers have many more and modern resources available and at their fingertips to reach our kids with. That is an advent of THIS administration which has worked feverishly to update modern education within Peoria District 150. I know because as a volunteer parent, with absolutely no remuneration, I have been on the front lines of that fight as well. 

Secondly, we all want a safe environment for our students. For some reason, even against clear and cogent instructions on the issue, this group feels that the Supt. took away armed security within the schools. This has has come up from and by members of this group on 3 occasions in which I have listened to them. EACH time, save one, at least one Board member rose to assure that it was not the District who disarmed these officers. It was a court order by the ruling of a judge who did so. In fact, a failed move of the resource officers group is ultimately responsible for this and now we can only wait until it is fixed...

So, in essence, I am wondering exactly what these things mean taken together? There are some good suggestions, but most of the "care values" ascribed here are already implemented by the District.  I know this because for 13 years I and my family have volunteered...EVERY DAY, doing something that betters our child's and children's education at various schools. Ours is not an hour or half hour per week interlude, although any time that a parent could spend in the schools is welcome, of that I am quite sure...We have set forth multiple hours of free time and professional efforts helping improve this district. I have STAKE in the game and I proudly say so. 

Where this group comes from after the fact, I have no clue. I have not seem one of them at any parent meetings or Parent Universities or any other forum pre-Wetterhauer or Charter Oak wanting anything "better" for our district. When our inner city children were facing deficits in technology, bad lunches, and school closings, this group was not there and current individuals promoting it, were absentee on these issues and issues that pertained to the educational advance of our children. 

I am not convinced that this group wants anything other than simple corporate control and influence and power over money, and will suggest and do nearly anything to obtain it. 

I will examine their supposed "core issues" next. Maybe that will help us understand them, and what they actually want, a little better. 

Pastor Harvey Burnett

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Radio 1470, Or Should I Say 'change 150' Radio?

In a classic radio interview (at the end of this article) on AM 1470, the hosts, Jamie Markley and Scott Robbins sought intently to assert that my recent commentary at the Peoria School Board meeting wasn't appropriate and even "harmful" to the community. Here's what I said:
"You're not the sheriff, CHANGE 150,"..."We will not run
and we will not allow you to publicly lynch a Black woman in office. Yeah, that's right. You heard what I said. We won't allow you to lynch her or allow you to lynch any one who is helping our children. Yes, 'Wow' is the story," ..."If you don't like me, then you really won't like me because we are galvanizing to make our voices heard and voices known."
They asked if I wanted to take any of that back. To which I continue to state NO.

Further, they asked if I was remorseful for suggesting that the group 'change 150' were racists, by the use of the word "lynch". First, did I call them racists? At first blush, if one were to link the concept of "lynching" to historical racism and the attempt to use that methodology to shame, disgrace, dishonor, and ultimately place fear in the minds and hearts of others, the answer is yes. As I stated what has been done to and said about Dr. Lathan and some School Board members is nothing short of a 2014 modern media lynching. This is a long standard and common practice within Peoria. Both former Supt. Dr. Kay Royster, who "they" also refused to call Dr. at some point, and former Peoria Mayoral candidate General Parker have seriously found that out in modern times.   

The problem is that a certain faction of individuals, within this group, use historically racist methodology to promote their message which includes, disgrace, dishonor, shame disrespect and fear and intimidation of others. Further, it is clear, that the group's most vocal proponents perpetuates false information and misrepresentations under the guise of "change" to promote their position.

The Mis-Use Of The Media: 1470 Hosts "Pretend" To Be Confused

I may have been talking fast, but I wasn't talking that fast. From the beginning this presentation was one of bias. One of the most absurd things was the radio hosts attempt to seem oblivious to the connection between District 150 employees and citizen supporters of and within this group.

This is not a mere parents or citizens group. They claim to represent many different factions within the community. Here is an excerpt from their website which makes who they are and who supports them very clear:
"We are also a group of concerned parents, civic and religious organizations and political leaders who have come together to bring focus to the myopic leadership practices of current District 150 Superintendent, Grenita Lathan."
Then there is also this groups funding issue:
"Many of our donations have been in small amounts and come from teachers and staff who work within District 150." 
So at the very least, change 150 is a "non profit" organization. let's stop there for a minute....Since they are (or were) endorsing a School Board candidate for election, could they be a Illinois Political Action Committee For Education? If  this group is a political action group, do they have an obligation to release their donor information? They say NO for the protection of their donors, and that may well may be so, but why aren't the critics asking for additional information regarding this and why Sue Wolstenholm actually dropped out of the race? The reasons could be on the up and up, but it could have also been in effort to avoid the IPACE designation and any resultant donor disclosure requirements. That should be examined.  

Nevertheless, aside from change and endorsing candidates for School Board who have "dropped out" of the race, their primary intent is to remove Dr. Lathan from office. We know however, that there are several disgruntled District 150 employees not only and merely "donating" to the cause, as is their right, but actively spreading and promoting the vitriol of this group. Jeff Adkins Dutro, the Peoria Federation of Teachers Union leader, and District 150 EMPLOYEE, is most certainly promoting this group. Various employees, without refrain from him, are emailing and continuing to email other employees asking them to ascribe to this group's  statements and petitions. The only purpose of these actions is to give this group greater credibility under the guise of "bringing positive change to the district" and district employees.

Even though employees already have a union to redress issues of employment and employer/employee relationship issues, it is abundantly clear that this group has taken it further by fueling their dissatisfaction with leadership at street level confusing the issues and lines of policy, process, regulation and employment relationships. This is a very deceitful process and approach, and one which I believe that this group will ultimately pay for in the end.    

With that said, as I stated, I clearly did not believe that every member of the particular group is racist. Some are promoting their opinion, which is ultimately good for the community and as I have said before, everyone should have the right to voice their opinion. However some others, to whom those people are tied, have twisted themselves so tightly, until the voice of reason is hardly distinguishable from the voices of irrationality and hatred.

In my interview, I concluded by saying, "if the shoe fit" basically stating that if they or certain individuals and members were "racists" they should own it, and they should. Racism in the North has always followed this beneath the surface, "how dare you say that" pattern. Every Black person I know, and I have known them ALL my life, that has lived in both the South and the North, will readily say the same thing. The pattern of hidden, undercover and non-overt racism is a Northern(ly) inspired negative cultural value. 

Those who are not racists, know that they are not racist and should not own any suggestion to the contrary and certainly shouldn't be offended, but those who are, are exposed not only by their actions, but what they stand by, allow and by virtue of their silence endorse.

No One Likes To Be Called A Racist

In most cases, even those who are racists, don't like to be called racists because the term is filled with many negative connotations. Many individuals who deny that they are racists, have a disconnect in understanding just exactly how, they are racist and which actions are easily and readily interpreted as racist by those looking on.  

What sticks out like a sore thumb is that this group, was inspired by "change" in part because they feel that the removal of a White Principal from his long time position at Charter Oak School, due to testing irregularities (not merely mishandled paperwork, but changing of answers which led to changing scores) was too much,  and ultimately the straw that broke the camel's back. It was this event and removal of a "good man" (who has purged himself of it all through a voluntarily requested UNPAID leave of absence) made them come out of silence as to the demand to remove the Superintendent.

For them, it is a righteous fight to help deliver the employees from the "fear and intimidation" of the Supt. and her policies. What is interesting is that in the process this group has done nothing but:
  • Continue to bully and demand their way at public meetings
  • Heckle opponents of their position & 
  • Use tactics of fear and intimidation in demanding that their issues be acted upon
These are the very things that they accuse the Supt. of. Inspired by the utter disrespect displayed by this group, another certain faction has even thrown blue ribbons in front of the Supt's home in night-time drive-bys. To understand this, one need to understand that Charter Oak was named a 2012 Blue Ribbon School by the US secretary of Education Arnie Duncan. So certainly, this deplorable, and sick and twisted act is a message to the Supt.

This tactic, and things such as this, are all too reminiscent of the burning crosses that the KKK  placed in the yards of Black people and those that supported Black rights in  the pre-civil rights era. The instillation of fear and intimidation and shame was the purpose. Could this be some type of modern equivalent? I think so, it is certainly not coincidental. Then, there are threats towards various Board members which have caused some to secure personal security and body guards. All of this, because some disagree with Board members that the citizens elected and who are doing the job and following regulations.   

If these are not the actions and endorsements of people seeking CHANGE within or associated with this group, then how is it, that the instances of threats and intimidation align themselves so closely with the rise of this group and their demands?

A small amount of critical thinking is enough to raise the question of why there is such a strong push to remove this Superintendent and why such a vehement hatred is being sent out by this group, if not in print, certainly in it's actions or at the very least, by those who claim to be associated with it?   

If this is really about the "progress" of our district, then allow me to ask, why Change: 
  • Balanced budgets. Balanced in the BLACK the last 4 years even with the State holding money. 
  • Greater and more extensive teacher training to reach students in the seats.
  • The Acquisition of current textbooks to better facilitate modern education.
  • Technology necessary to make the learning experience relevant.
  • Updated and modernized school facilities and environments.
  • Teachers who now are accountable not only to their bosses, but also to parents.
  • An atmosphere of accountability throughout the entire education system.
  • Vocational & Technical Training to serve the needs of students who want to immediately be a productive part of society after school is over. 
  • Open communication, participation and dialogue through Parent Universities, and the Parent/Teacher Advisory Committee. 
  • Environments where the considerations of our children are placed first and foremost. 
  • Opportunities of employment for a diverse population of Peoria citizens. 
What Changes has this group proposed outside of changes in the Superintendency? How do their efforts make the children in the seats have a better and more positive learning experience throughout the district? How will their efforts better the educational progress and services rendered to this nearly 65% Black and minority school district? 

You will not hear the answer to those questions from this group. All you will hear is that THEY want change. In reality, they want to take over because someone "close" to them has "suffered". That someone is a nice, good, White guy, and that's ALL they need to know...forget all else...CHANGE!

I KNOW better. The cash cow of this district has been cut off and and those that know this and were used to taking advantage of overtime payments, checks in addition to salary, and overall cronyism has ceased!

Unfortunately for some of them motivating the complaints, cronyism, has ceased at the hands of a Black woman, and no matter how she has personally achieved, she is their nemesis, and is due no respect. This group shows a display of utter disrespect towards the leader of a group of children (the students) who who also identify with her. But for them, their blatantly disrespectful actions towards her, in spite of all the good changes that have been made without one word of encouragement from them, is of no consideration. Only their desire for "change" should be heard according to them.  

This is 2014, and Peoria, IL. is still suffering from a blast of 1920's styled racism. Shame on US if we, the citizens of Peoria who recognize this, don't take a stand!

Pastor Harvey Burnett

Radio Interview, or attempted radio "lynching"?
 
    )


HERE: Cindy Dollman Director of Development for the Peoria County Regional Board of Education said following proper protocol all comes back to the school’s top administrator. She said it’s typically up to the school to catch any possible mistakes or irregularities when analyzing its data. “The principal is in charge of making sure everything in the building is following state law, federal law, that all guidelines being followed within that building.”.

Special & Comical Note: 

In attempt to justify himself and his approach in demeaning Dr. Lathan and to diffuse my statements, (I suppose), Former Teachers Union leader Terry Knapp said the following:
"We're all Black!" 
He went on to state that the only people who were really White were albinos. I can't tell whether his statements were a justification towards "lynching" as if "lynching" is purely something for Blacks, or something that only Blacks can or ever will experience, or an effort to spark some "identity" or commonality among all people. He went on to continue to demean the Supt. and the Board. All I can ask him, and others that believe him, WHAT'S ON YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE? and DID YOU PUT THAT ON YOUR LAST JOB APPLICATION? I would like to know how that worked out...  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A 1 In 10 Million Chance

I suppose that the supporters of the change 150 group will be touting the phrase "struck by lightening twice" after this one. Based on their MAP scores, 1 in 10 million are the chances that the special needs students at Charter Oak would have had receiving the type of scores that they were credited on ISAT if CHEATING weren't going on.

It is a sad day when educators, and those claiming to direct the moral value underpinning of our minors, not only make a fool of themselves publicly, with the display of blatant disrespect and baseline racially centered rambling, but then go even further to support causes that they would condemn others for following and practicing.

Based On The Numbers Submitted, Scores Were Manipulated
Here is the email from a university mathematician regarding the test scores submitted from Charter Oak. It seems it would have been gross negligence NOT to have done something about the irregularities...unless one really wants to believe that they were 1 in 10 million EVERY year!

"I've shown page 10 of that report to my two best friends here in the math department today. Neither of them had heard a single thing about the incident prior to looking at the numbers. They both had a good laugh over the idea that anyone could look at those numbers and not believe there was cheating going on.
If I understand what you are asking me to calculate, I think it's the likelihood of all of the kids on page 10 passing their math and reading ISAT tests, given their extremely low rank on the MAP tests. This is a rough calculation, but in the interest of keeping it simple, I just multiplied those probabilities, which is how you calculate the likelihood of multiple, independent events occurring. I threw out the kid that didn't appear on the ISAT data (he would undoubtedly have lowered the number further).
Using the median number when the report provided a range of numbers, I came up with a probability of 7.88*10^-8. Don't take it as gospel. I only spent 5 minutes on it. That means there's a likelihood of 1 in 10 million that all of those kids would have passed the 2013 math and reading ISAT tests based on their 2013 MAP scores.
Keep in mind, however, that most of those kids did not just pass the ISAT. Many of them scored in the top 20% of all students (some even top 10%). That means they didn't just pass. Some of them went from a score that would indicate they barely knew anything on the MAP test to a score that would place them in honors classes in most schools, not special ed.If the firm that had prepared the report had provided the "unlikelihood" of the full increase into account, that 1 in 10,000,000 number would drop considerably. How much I can only guess without access to the proper data, but I'm guessing it would be a dramatic, dramatic drop, like the likelihood of being struck by lightning twice on the same day."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Change 150...Not Now & Not For Your Reasons Or By Your Methods!

UPDATE: Based on the numbers Charter Oak placed in their report, there was approximately a 1 in 10 million chance that they were telling the truth...1 in 10 MILLION! Incredulous! People trained to decipher numbers readily know that Charter Oak numbers were false. Read about that HERE

Recently,  I was motivated to act and get involved in what seems to be a fight over the leadership and direction of Peoria District 150. As I have previously stated, there is nothing man made that is perfect. However, I will take the modern and current District 150 under its current leadership with all of its imperfections any day over the alternatives that have been proposed. The dissent from a group called "Change District 150" is simply because they are discouraged in their vision for the handling of the the business of the District  and the recent reassignment of the Principal Of Charter Oak MS.

I want to set the record perfectly clear, as I am sure this group would like also:

I never had to "break away" from this group as I never was associated with it in any way shape or form. They have no credibility or validity associated with me or my name. ~ Pastor Harvey Burnett (Facebook Parent Connection Peoria District 150 Parents)

Week News
[WEEK: PEORIA, Ill. -- After Peoria District 150 parents and community leaders rallied last night over growing concerns with district leadership--one parent is breaking away from the newly formed coalition CHANGE150.
"I think they're picking the wrong fight, and they are fighting the battle the wrong way," said District 150 parent Harvey Burnett.
Burnett says he is also unsatisfied with Peoria's education system but he says shouting louder is not a solution.
"I think that this particular group has been heard, but now there's a desire to infiltrate the system, undermine the system and to try and strong arm," said Burnett.
After attending the change 150 rally last night, he was disappointed.
"It is like we don't care about the mishandling of test scores, which essentially amounts to cheating. It is as if they do not care about that and just want to proceed," said Burnett.
He is even more disappointed with what he says is a destructive and negative approach to change.
"This superintendent has brought positive change to the district and to the class room," said Burnett.
He says problems in school systems stem from underlying issues in the community like socioeconomic inequality. He believes a single person cannot be to blame.
"I refrained from using the word bullying, and I didn't use it last night, but I really think this is," said Burnett.
Instead, he says that all parties including the parents, the district and the city could to more to be a part of the solution.
"If we can be proactive and try to find some way to connect. If we can raise the level of expectations for our community as a whole, we'll be better off than just saying, 'Hey you need to move so the next one can be in place.' " said Burnett.]

The group Change 150 simply wants what they want with no rationale as to what is actually happening and or the big picture. The big picture is that although veterans of Peoria's education system may be uncomfortable with changing rules and regulations as it pertains to standards and performance policies many of which are state wide and nationally inspired, the greater issue is that we are much further along in the RIGHT DIRECTION in education than we have ever been as a community. Though one may pick over and debate methods and "management styles", one would be hard pressed to say that we need a reversion to former policies and results. The City can help by bringing a better community plan inclusive of all segments of Peoria and especially inclusive of its South Side and Black and minority owned businesses. Opportunity coupled with education and a serious redevelopment of many of Peoria's most devastated neighborhoods will do far more than building jails and community policing efforts can do. I for one certainly don't have all the answers but we have some good people in Peoria who can work together to come up with solutions to make this community a desirable community for ALL citizens. That is my prayer and for that I can't wait! 

District 150 Braggin' Rights