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Open Enrollment - Disband the Schools

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Posted · Report post

This is for you Gambier Girl.  I moved my response to this thread because the other thread is not letting me add/delete or change anything.  Clarification:

1.  "Disband the district" should have said "disband the schools within the district".  Vouchers -- so all kids can go where they want.  (Reading, Fairfield, Mason, Lakota, Milford, Walnut Hills, Princeton, St. X, McCauley, LaSalle, Roger Bacon, etc.)
2.  "Subsidize the Consumer" is no different than giving a voucher to a kid so they can take advantage of open enrollment.

A twist to education that just might give our kids the best education possible, plus would be something our communities could sell to potential homeowners.  If this concept proved to be viable then we would see an increase in home values (people wanting to move into the district) and an increase in our tax revenue due to a change in demographics.

Increased Home Value = Increased Demographic.

Taxes would be in check because we would not have to build new schools.  The current schools could be sold for revenue -- potentially to new developers.  Additional housing = additional taxes for the communities. Everyone wins.

We have placed ourselves in a position where the district has had a negative impact on our communities from a value-add and demographic perspective.  We need to think outside-the-box.  Our goal is not to "save this district" or "save the schools within the district".  Our goal is to "give our kids the best education" and "ensure that the communities they live in are strong and prosperous".  We've had two decade of "it will get better" -- that mentality has to STOP because the "facts" state otherwise.

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Disband the schools.  Implement a "complete open enrollment program".  Students in our communities get subsidized to go wherever they want.  Benefits:

-- students can attend any public school that has open enrollment
-- students can attend any private school that has open enrollment
-- students can attend any charter school
-- students can opt for home schooling
-- students can attend magnet schools
-- high school students can attend both college and high school classes (duel enrollment program)
-- potential of magnet schools being built within our communities

Public school choice would be an attraction to these communities, which can increase home values and change the demographics.  In addition, the $63,000,000 for new buildings would be a moot point, keeping taxes reasonable.  Current schools can be sold in an effort to rebuild the communities, or developers can purchase the land to build new housing.  Everyone wins -- kids, taxpayers and the communities!

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Posted · Report post

Christine,

While I am for school choice, I am against "disbanding" the schools - some students would want to go to those schools (or stay at those schools if they are already there) if they had the choice.  And those schools would improve due to the competition of open enrollment and vouchers.

As an example, we were offered a voucher for our son when he was in the Winton Woods Intermediate School (the state offered them to all the students in the school), but my  husband and I chose to turn down the voucher and keep him in the Winton Woods School District.  Why?  Because our older child had gotten a wonderful education through middle school, and we thought it was a good fit for our younger child.

However, the high school has proven to be a bad fit for our older child, and she is now in a very good fit in university classes through College Credit Plus rather than taking classes at the high school.  Isn't this basically just an example of the school choice that vouchers would provide to all students?  Wouldn't it simply give them the option to find the school that is the best fit for their needs?  How can anyone be against students being educated in a way that is most beneficial to them, given their specific needs?

 

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Posted · Report post

The teachers unions will oppose the voucher program with tooth and nail, it would diminish their bargaining power and membership since many private schools are nonunion.

The School Boards and the various Superintendents would strongly oppose it because it would diminish their power and ultimately their pay check.

Cicero

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Posted · Report post

Disband the schools in the district. Really?  Of the public schools you listed, some offer open enrollment so anyone who is not happy with the schools are welcome to enroll their kids there. The others, don't offer open enrollment and never will. The private schools tuition, at least at the high school level, is VERY expensive and out of reach of a lot of families in this district. Also how would all these families get their kids to these schools? Have you noticed all the high school kids walking down Winton Rd, Waycross, Kemper. They walk to school because there parents cannot or will not get them there.

Oh and MOST importantly, there are those of us who use the schools, are getting a quality product out of the schools and our kids like going there. I will keep pushing for improvements and continue to take advantage of all the opportunities being offered.

 

 

 

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Posted · Report post

I agree with wwmom11 that there is no need to disband the schools, and that some people are very happy with the education they are getting in those schools.  However, some are not, and the education provided is not a good fit for some students, which is why vouchers and open enrollment (at all public schools) is a good solution that would meet all students' needs.  The only needs it wouldn't meet are those of the administrators and some teachers, since it could possibly put their jobs on the line.  But we have to ask ourselves, is the goal of public education to serve the students' best interests, or to serve the administrators' best interests?  I, for one, believe it is to serve the students' best interests.

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Posted · Report post

The teachers unions will oppose the voucher program with tooth and nail, it would diminish their bargaining power and membership since many private schools are nonunion.

The School Boards and the various Superintendents would strongly oppose it because it would diminish their power and ultimately their pay check.

Cicero

That's the point.  No schools - no need for teachers.  Other schools would absorb the students, which would warrant new positions in other districts. 

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Posted · Report post

Disband the schools in the district. Really?  Of the public schools you listed, some offer open enrollment so anyone who is not happy with the schools are welcome to enroll their kids there. The others, don't offer open enrollment and never will. The private schools tuition, at least at the high school level, is VERY expensive and out of reach of a lot of families in this district. Also how would all these families get their kids to these schools? Have you noticed all the high school kids walking down Winton Rd, Waycross, Kemper. They walk to school because there parents cannot or will not get them there.

Oh and MOST importantly, there are those of us who use the schools, are getting a quality product out of the schools and our kids like going there. I will keep pushing for improvements and continue to take advantage of all the opportunities being offered.

 

 

 

Yes, really!  With regards to private schools, your money would transfer.  Getting kids to school - you carpool or you create community busing -- there are options and alternatives.  So, we spend $63,000,000, PLUS millions in state funds because there are those  who are getting a quality product?  Keep pushing for improvements and continue to take advantage, but don't be upset when the levy doesn't pass.  There is value to the kids and these communities in reviewing other options and opportunities. 

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Posted · Report post

Christine,

While I am for school choice, I am against "disbanding" the schools - some students would want to go to those schools (or stay at those schools if they are already there) if they had the choice.  And those schools would improve due to the competition of open enrollment and vouchers.

As an example, we were offered a voucher for our son when he was in the Winton Woods Intermediate School (the state offered them to all the students in the school), but my  husband and I chose to turn down the voucher and keep him in the Winton Woods School District.  Why?  Because our older child had gotten a wonderful education through middle school, and we thought it was a good fit for our younger child.

However, the high school has proven to be a bad fit for our older child, and she is now in a very good fit in university classes through College Credit Plus rather than taking classes at the high school.  Isn't this basically just an example of the school choice that vouchers would provide to all students?  Wouldn't it simply give them the option to find the school that is the best fit for their needs?  How can anyone be against students being educated in a way that is most beneficial to them, given their specific needs?

 

Yes, and we wanted to stay at OLR, others wanted to stay at St. James, some didn't want to leave Lakeside, others were sick that the Greenhills School closed, many were upset that Forest Park closed.  I get it!  Believe me, I get it!  The fact is there comes a point where, for whatever reasons, things need to change.  For the past two decades this district has been struggling.  These struggles don't help the children and they certainly don't help the communities.  In creating change you need to set your objectives.  Is the objective to keep the schools open?  No.  The objective is to give our kids the best education possible.  Is the objective to increase taxes and place a burden on these communities?  A burden that can potentially have a negative impact on demographics?  No.  The objective is to build the strongest communities possible so that all our children and families can thrive and flourish. 

So the question is, how do you provide the best education without increasing taxes.? How do you give kids opportunities and keep "their" communities viable at the same time?  How do you provide kids diverse opportunities that can truly meet the needs of all students --- not just some?  Something to think about!  

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Posted · Report post

Christine,

But why physically disband the schools?  If you have open enrollment and vouchers, the schools will either rise to the challenge and be valuable assets to the community, or they will fail to adequately compete with other schools and put themselves out of business.  You don't need to do anything drastic like disband the schools - just offer open enrollment and vouchers and see what happens.  Either you get great schools, or they disband on their own - what's the harm in letting free choice play out?

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Posted · Report post

The elimination of infrastructure maintenance.  The ability to sell the property for redevelopment (additional housing possibly) to generate taxable income for the communities. If enough people took advantage of open enrollment initially there could be a significant impact on funds for operating costs, etc. of the schools, which could place us in a reactive vs. proactive mode.  All options should be reviewed. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

or they disband on their own

Schools can't disband on their own.  It takes accountable responsible strategic innovative leadership to do that -- that's where the problem lies.  The WWCSD has never had strong leadership - they have only had cheerleaders.  Cheerleaders are great to have on your side.  The problem is -- they cheer whether you're winning or losing.  They do the same thing if the score is 14-0 or 0-14.

Edited by Christine

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I understand that they can't disband on their own - poor choice of words on my part - what I meant was that if enrollment dropped so low due to their inability to meet the needs of the students, they would be put into a position of having to close due to the overwhelming costs of maintaining the staff and infrastructure for a small number of students.

I agree with your comment about WWCSD having a lot of cheerleaders in leadership roles, but I don't mind cheerleaders - I actually like a positive attitude of "We can do this!" 

What I do mind is the bullying attitude of some of the so-called "cheerleaders" who quickly turn mean if anyone even suggests room for improvement or disagrees with them in any way.  I was in a meeting recently in which it was apparent that the modus operandi is to silence any talk of problems that need to be addressed - the only approved conversation is that of how great things are.  You can't fix what you don't acknowledge, and unfortunately, it seems that anyone with suggestions is placed in the role of villain for having dared to point out room for improvement instead of keeping a Stepfordwife-like attitude that everything is great as-is. 

In my opinion, the biggest obstacle to success in our district is not the teachers, nor the students, nor the parents, nor the community - the biggest obstacle to success is the district administrators who think that they are the experts with all the answers and can do no wrong, and as a result have completely closed their ears to hearing suggestions from teachers, students, parents, and the community.  The ironic thing is that these same administrators promote a "growth mindset" with the students while having a closed-minded "fixed mindset" themselves.

It's also ironic that they think this is the way to behave with a bond on the horizon.  I was going to vote for it, but now I am waffling because even though I think our buildings are not up to par and the money from the state is a great incentive, I question if we have the right people in place to direct the construction.  I have been told that the design plans would incorporate parent and community input, but from what I'm witnessing in meetings, I have doubts as to whether the administrators would be open to any community input on the plans.  At the last community conversation, an administrator politely listened to a suggestion I made while on camera, so I saw what I thought was improvement in public engagement, but then afterwards with cameras off told me that their methods are tried-and-true so they're not changing anything and that I don't know what I'm talking about. 

Then at another recent meeting, I tested the openness of the administrators by pointing out some room for improvement, and they failed the test miserably.  Afterwards, a well-intentioned district employee tried to counsel me that the administrators are sensitive and easily defensive, and therefore I should be careful not to say anything that could possibly be construed as criticism.  I thought, “Seriously? The administrators aren’t thick-skinned enough to handle criticism, so we common folk must watch what we say so as not to upset them?”  (Just for clarification – my comments about closeminded behavior are about administrators – I have found most of the school board members to be more open to discussion, and they deserve credit for that.)

So I may hold off my yes vote until either the current administration shows more openness and willingness to engage with the public, or until we have new, more open-minded administrators in place.  It's too important of an endeavor to put in the wrong hands.  I plan to closely watch the behavior of the administrators as the election approaches and will let you know what I observe.

Edited by GambierGal
left out a word

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Posted · Report post

LMAO!  You are just now learning this about the people that run WW?




 

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Posted · Report post

Equalizer,

Some of the people do not get it until it happens to them.  I think we can call it that some of us lost our innocence when we open our eyes to the big fact that there is NO community involvement and the administration does not want any.  You are right Dr. Holden directs the symphony and we as voters don't even have the right to suggest the music let alone play with the big boys and girls.  So what are we?  The cash machine. 

I think GG just had a reality check this past week.  GG was still innocent and hoped to have a part on the play offs...So I say to GG welcome to my world.  Now get ready but the next part is to get insulted, side stepped, and dismissed like a used towel.

EQ, have not heard of you or about you recently.  Hope all is well in your world.

Sincerely,

The Mad Botanist

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Posted · Report post

I wasn't all that innocent before now - I knew full-well it happened, had experienced it first-hand myself - but I tend to not "go public" with something and loudly talk about it until I've tried to resolve it with those involved.  I prefer to give people the benefit of a doubt - maybe they had a bad day, maybe they were on edge about something else, maybe they don't have enough knowledge and are operating with some misinformation, etc.  But in some cases, it's been two years that I've tried to engage with them, and for two years I've been ignored or insulted about it, and when you couple that with the disconnect between their on-camera persona and off-camera persona, plus the fact that there's a bond coming up... well, it's time for me to stop being so understanding.  

If there was ever a time for the administrators to shape up when it comes to their interactions with the public, now's the time, or they will be the reason the bond doesn't pass.  They don't seem to realize that glossy presentations with beautiful pictures and "community conversations" in which the conversation is one-sided are not what we mean when we say "community and public engagement", and it's not going to help.  Only real, honest communication will.

I have privately, on a few occasions, told an administrator that some of the information that is being shared with the public is misleading, thinking I was being helpful in pointing out something that was not known and could be investigated - in other words, I assumed they thought that the full truth was being told and were simply mistaken, and would look into it and correct it.  But three times after this, the same administrator has, with me in the room, boldly said the same misinformation at public meetings, almost taunting me to speak up.  What am I to do? 

Initially, I was polite and understanding, thinking perhaps the administration didn't realize that misinformation was being shared.  But after multiple occurrences, I have no choice but to come to the conclusion that it's not a matter of not knowing the info is incorrect, it's a matter of not caring - it sounds good so they'll say it.  And I'm such a do-gooder at heart that I now feel obligated to speak up at public meetings when they continue to spread misleading info that I've already talked to them about in private, and you can probably guess what kind of reception I'm getting now.

To be fair, I'd like to say that there are some outstanding administrators at Winton Woods – Steve Denny comes to mind – who are happy to talk with parents or community members at any time and who truly seem to care.

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

This week marks NINE years (1413 posts) for me posting on this board.  This works out to 3 posts a week for 9 years.  I don't even work there anymore :)   I'm really trying to scale back.. but I feel compelled to offer context from the inside since nobody else can or will.

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GG, you are like Texas is to the Trump campaign.  If he loses Texas, he is toast.  If WW loses you, they are toast.

I don't want to see WW lose "Texas".  I really don't.  The truth is that the buildings really do need work and sorely needed repairs.  I would hate to see the district dissolved where everyone went to different schools. I think it would be a shame.  There is a lot that is right with WW, but there are obvious problems that (if they aren't addressed) will continue to drag the place down.

I saw the state report card.  WW got all "D"s and "F"s and one "A".  In other words, it told us nothing.  My district didn't have an "A" but we had fewer "F"s.   The problem is that none of the report cards told anything about their districts either.  If you averaged out the grades, everyone outside of Cleveland was either a "C" a "D" overall.  The decision on the relative value of the district rests with the voter and that value hinges hugely on the relationships that are built by the staff and the voters (which are not necessarily the parents).  It rests on their confidence that their child can get a good education regardless of what plan or fad is running the show today.  It speaks to things that are enduring and lasting.. not teaching staffs that change every 3 or 4 years.

As I see it, the "Cheerleaders" are more of a problem than the "Debbie Downers".   After the May, 2015 levy defeat, we approached the board (Miranda, Pennycuff, et.al.) but were told "thanks, but no thanks". 

 All of them were convinced that the teaching staff just needed to change and roll with the program.  I don't say that spitefully.  It is a fact.  They wanted to back the high command blindly.  They have that right.  We also had the right to leave.   If they won't listen to people that they are paying, why would they listen to people that they aren't?

On the other hand, what smart organizational leader ignores the trench over and over?  One time, one of our leaders (when it was pointed out that teachers were leaving) sniffed "Well, the grass isn't always greener".  Sigh.  Very motivational.  On my very last day at WWHS, the principal lectured us on attendance and questioning our commitment to "save lives".   One teacher (no lie) packed up her box, moved all of their stuff out.. and never came back.   Many great families did the same thing.  Many businesses did the same thing.  Over and over.  Year in. Year out.

It's racism.  It's poverty.  It's mobility.  

We aren't doing anything wrong.  

We just need the "right" staff.  The current ones are greedy/incompetent/culturally backward. etc.

New Tech will save us.  Fall in line!

I understand that there is NOW a concerted effort to change that at WW.    This is a start.  I hoped the "elders" got the message about the importance of building morale and bridges and not just ruling the place from on high...but after reading GG's post, I don't think they have gone "all in" with the concept.  Maybe it will take time.

However, is it "too little too late" when someone like GG is wavering on something that should be a no-brainer for her?   Like it or not, a school isn't really judged by the guy or girl in the big chair.  It is judged through the eyes of the person that they see every day.. in places like Kroger or church.  If the community is hearing stories about another great teacher leaving to go work for ******.... what does this say?  It's like asking stockholders to invest in your company when the board of directors are dumping their shares.   Yes, you have another "dynamic" staff of teachers ready to rock the world.  You also bragged about that in 2009,2010,2011,2012......

I've said this more than a few times over the years.  Until and unless you have a really united front on things, WW will continue to struggle.  A few great teachers (and you have a few at WWHS) are not going to save you.  NTN is not going to save you.  PBL won't save you.  PBS, NNN,TBT's won't save you.  Dare I say it... the fine arts program will not save you.  The enduring qualities of trust, love, confidence, respect. honor, and commitment are what build up schools.. and really any community.   Is there a great well of love for the place?

Yes, some recent alumni have love for the place.. but they also have love for people like all of the AGS teachers that left.. and the MS/ES teachers that left.  Don't misunderstand.  WWHS is a great school. We had great graduates who are doing great things.. but.. sigh... we had something to do with that... not the district's lawyer.

I agree with WIP. The State is has no clue.  BUT.. WW has a golden opportunity to really put that in the past.  Remember, your current administration won't be there forever.  The buildings will more than outlast them.  The state report cards are so screwed up that it will probably take years for them to sort it out.   Perhaps if folks focus on electing three members (as a slate) with a common goal to change the administration... then.. perhaps.. you have something.  BUT.. that election isn't until next year.  The bond issue is in a few weeks.

These are tough times and not enough time.  I wish WW would have listened to a few of us a couple of years ago when we tried to build these bridges, but they left the table.. and we left the district.  I really do want to see new buildings because it is really the right thing to do... all things considered.  But those votes are earned through trust and through honor.  I really am rooting for them, but I am not naive.   Years ago, they learned that they could disregard the real concerns of their staff with no consequence.  Today, they risk alienating voters and paying the ultimate consequence.

They had 29% support for this bond issue in May, 2015. 

It failed in the City of Forest Park.  (Read that twice)

Have things changed?  If so, what?   You'd think they'd at least tell people what they want to hear.  I know a lot of people are working on this campaign and it annoys me that the high command sabotages their work.

I really wish them well.  But if they continue to disregard their supporters in the way they disregarded the staff for so long.. I don't see dirt turning anytime soon.

Edited by equalizer

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Posted · Report post

I really do want to see new buildings because it is really the right thing to do... all things considered.

All things considered?  It's not the right thing to do.  No one knows the right thing to do because other options have not been reviewed and a cost benefit analysis for these options have not been completed.  BTW -- 1,161 words -- just saying!  

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