Letter: School Board deserves ‘F’ for failing to address parent’s concerns

By on October 22, 2009

I am writing to clarify misinformation that was reported in the Elburn Herald’s “Board Votes to Examine Grade Scale” article as published on Oct. 15th.

During the two-week period between the Sept. 28 and Oct. 13 Kaneland School Board meetings, myself and several other parents collected 703 Kaneland voter signatures on a petition that was asking for: 1) The Kaneland grading scale to be changed to a 10-point 90/80/70/60 grading scale (we are the only school district in Kane County that does not use a 10-point scale), and 2) Any study or data needed to accomplish this be conducted and voted on during the current 2009-10 school year.

The voting result of the Oct. 13 School Board meeting was not a compromise. It was a total disregard on the School Board members’ parts of their responsibility to represent their constituents, as they were elected to do.

Yes, the School Board voted to try to “commence” a study this year (rather than leaving the plan for a 2010-11 study in place), but the verbiage that was signed off by the School Board left exactly the same end result—that the study would be completed no later than the original date of April 2011.

What a compromise.

In addition to this, Dr. McCormick was quick to point out that there were no guarantees the district would have the time to start a study this school year—wait, doesn’t that put us back to where we started?

Dr. McCormick also said that the parents were asking for the scale to be slid down to have “… more students getting an A.”

This is absolutely not true, and the superintendent was totally out of line for making this baseless accusation. As Ken Carter clearly pointed out with his ISU example, our scale can and is putting our students at a disadvantage for college placement, and the parents were simply asking for a level playing field to the colleges and the rest of the schools in Kane County, as well as most of the country (over 70 percent uses the 10-point scale).

During the Sept. 28 School Board meeting, I sat in horror as the interim high school principal reported that, due to the current block schedule system, Kaneland has students taking the college entrance exams (ACT and SAT) who haven’t had a math class in a full year—sometimes longer. Following that, Dr. McCormick was quick to state that making any change to the schedule system would take at least two years to make.

You have to be kidding me—do we have anything that takes top priority over the well paid administration of this district complaining about not having time? Those of us that work in the business world call a 12-hour day short, and we’d be out of our jobs fast with that level of production when facing an urgent problem.

I have much I could say, but little space to do it, so my message is this: if you are unhappy with the School Board’s vote on Oct. 13 and you feel that they did not represent you as a constituent—please contact each member and let them know—their e-mails are on the School District website.

If you feel Dr. McCormick is not doing his job as he should, let them know that too. He is supposed to report to them.

The reason that we received 703 petition signatures is that we only had just two weeks to cover a large area. We could have certainly gotten more if there had been more time, and I personally found the favorable response from people overwhelming.

Finally, please remember this School Board decision when you go to vote again at the next School Board election in the spring of 2011. Not all of the members of this board are doing what they should be—representing the interests of the voters and children in this School District.

I give the Kaneland School Board a big fat grade of F in representing its constituents.

Pedro Rivas
Sugar Grove