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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Response To Mayor Ardis Criticisms of Peoria School District 150

When we initially formed the Peoria Association Of Pastors as we have become known, we identified 3 primary areas of concern that we would focus on and bring attention to. Aside from spiritual renewal, as we believe the only hope for any and every community is Christ and acceptance of his Lordship in the lives of individuals who make up the community, the areas of concern were 1) crime and violence 2) quality of life/social justice issues and 3) education and its impact on our children, family and community.

Peoria Education

The education system itself is not perfect. It is changing to accommodate the needs of the community. Needless to say that in every corporation there is room for improvement, enhancement and further development. There is no corporation, no matter how profitable, affluent or large that does not need to be improved in some way, shape or manner. Peoria School District 150 is no different and the Corporation of the City of Peoria is in the same boat...needs IMPROVEMENT!

With that said however, I can personally point to the areas in which Peoria School District 150 under the leadership of Dr. Grenita Lathan, has done an excellent job in many areas that have gone unheralded by the media and totally overlooked by Peoria Mayor Ardis in his state of the City address. Here is the link to the Mayoral address:

State Of The City Address  

In it you will note that the Mayor blames the lack of attractiveness of the City on the School District. He states that the District is going in the "wrong direction" and that it is a "pig" which lipstick can't make look any better. At the same time, the Mayor introduced that people are leaving the City because of the negative "perception" of the District, a "negativity" which the Mayor certainly fuels by his statements. I would like to know a few things however. Since the Mayor likes to play word games as well then:

1) Who Is "The District"

As the attached clip shows, when I challenged the Mayor on his statements, the Mayor said:
"Nowhere in my address did I place blame on educators, children or their families for problems in our educational system"
Yet he says he stands by his commentary that "The District" is going the "wrong direction". I think it is pretty clear, but since he didn't say who he blames specifically, the question is "who is The District"? If "The District" is not its teachers, children nor their families, then who is "The District"? The District is not the School Board, neither is the District solely who is "The District"?  Since they are going in the wrong direction and the City is worse off because of them, who is "The District"?

As any reasonable person can see, "The District" INCLUDES ALL of its components. Its TEACHERS, STUDENTS, ADMINISTRATORS (whom the Mayor did not include in his exclusion) CHILDREN and of course the families. His attempts to cover what he is saying and redirect blame are simply attempts to OBFUSCATE the truth.

According to, the word Obfuscate is defined in the following manner:
1- to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
2-to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
3-to darken.
The Mayor does all three of these things with his statements of course quite on purpose.

2) What Is The "Wrong Direction" That The District Is Going?

We all know that Mayor Ardis wants a leveraged takeover of District 150. He wants a system similar to Chicago, in which he has power of appointment of both Board members and the Superintendent...Believe me, that would be a tragedy!!!! Not simply because Ardis is Mayor (his person has little to nothing to do with it) Simply by concept of allowing the office of the Mayor to rule would be horrible, no matter who's in office in Peoria. Why, because as we have seen with other efforts, LARGE segments of our community would go without representation and would be under-served even worse than we already are...In addition, a school is a business, but does not run like a traditional business...Children are NOT clients and their families are not customers...

3) Since The Economic Blight & Devastation Of The Black Community In Peoria Can't Possibly Be Laid At The Feet Of School District 150, How Can The Mayor Or The City Claim That They Are Going In The "Right Direction"?

Many folk do not really understand. The 61605 zip code, by virtually every statistic that one can pull together, is one of the most economically devastated zip codes in the COUNTRY considering size and population demographic.

There is nearly 50% poverty and nearly 30% unemployment in that zip code alone. services include more retail liquor establishments most of which are not owned by residents in and of the area, but by foreign nationals and those who for 14 years, according to law, pay no taxes on personal income and many of whom turn over their business after such time, to other family members who also enjoy the tax breaks.

Where are the City's ideas to help the poor Black and minority inhabitants of these neighborhoods? Don't simply blame it on the Council Person. She has just got here and she is doing a great job. Don't blame it on the last Councilman either in totality...Peoria, was supposed to be a City of ALL the people.

So is the "right direction" the exclusion of the average Black family and or the poor and minority? Is that the path that we all should be so eager to follow?

Mr. Mayor and those who support his statements...I think NOT!   

I place the local CBS News story and my response to the Mayor's statements in the following or remainder of this article. As they say, read his statements, my response and you decide. 
CBS 31 News Story
My Written Response To The Mayor's Assertions (full version)