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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:33 pm 
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I have always enjoyed Bill Call's "creative" style of argument as perhaps a spur for engaging a wider discussion than would otherwise be possible. I even coined a term "a Bill Call calculator" to describe a device which followed no rules of arithmetic whatsoever. However, that incendiary approach can be a stimulus for conversation but ultimately poisonous for the overall public discussion.
During the last campaign for Lakewood School Board in which many of us participated and Bill Call was a candidate I really believe that Bill did change his rather freewheeling approach to a more responsible approach which is required of any candidate who truly understands the responsibilities of being in the public sphere with the possibility of actually holding public office.
Alas------(that's a cool word that I learned in Mr. Wilson's 10th grade English composition class) I fear that Bill Call has reverted to back to his former posture and therefor sadly gives up the credibility that he built up during the campaign.

Stan Austin


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:51 pm 
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Posts: 145
I always like a spirited debate so figure I would add in with some color commentary and numbers. Please refer to the article below in which some interesting facts/quotes are presented:

http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2012/01 ... excellent/

(a) Avon Lake has the lowest per pupil spending in the ENTIRE state.
(b) Based on the above article link, this is certainly not something they want to keep up forever. It is something that they are doing their best with but will catch up over time. They are the 3rd fastest growing school district in the state. Something has to give soon.
(c) Orange is the highest spending school district and is also doing well. One could argue they are a better model to follow than Avon Lake.
(d) Interesting that the two things they have in common is being in affluent areas.

Just because Avon Lake is successful now spending $7000 per pupil does not form a conclusion that they, or any other school district, could continue to be successful spending that amount. It is clear they are not thrilled with it and are spending much of their money on construction because of two failed levies.

And, while we are comparing things, interesting that Westlake and Rocky River both spend a tad more per student than Lakewood while Avon Lake City and Bay Village spend a tad less per student than Lakewood.

What does this all mean? Probably nothing. As the article mentions, both the highest and lowest spending schools are highly rated in Ohio and the one thing they both have in common is the median household income is far higher than the State average. Smarter people than me can draw inferences.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 2:14 am 
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For those waxing nostalgic about students in the 1900's, at the turn of the century only 75% of elementary aged students were enrolled in school, and a mere 11% went on to high school, from which 6.3% graduated. I highly doubt that the 64% who left school to work the farm or the factory were quoting the classics, but I digress.

Comparing Avon to Lakewood is as fallacious as comparing Rocky River to Cleveland, and the individuals who do so are either sorely lacking in an understanding of demographics and subaggregate student populations or are deliberately trying to toss chum into the waters.

Mr. Davis's analysis of cost per pupil expenditures provided an accurate, detailed explanation of where money is spent, as opposed to those tunnel visioned individuals whose over simplified mathematical calculations imply that a teacher with 23 students is raking in over $300,000 a year. The latter is obviously a ludicrous leap of pseudo-logic, but definitely enough of a red herring to be an impediment to viable, productive discourse.

Mr. Wheeler is an educator, in the classroom, working with students, as well as being a creative thinker who continually strives to raise the instructional bar. To all of the pundits who think they are experts in education because they attended school decades ago, I'd suggest seriously considering what he writes in his posts. We are fortunate that he has the fortitude to continue offering his contributions here on the Deck.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:46 am 
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Location: Lakewood, OH
Sandra, I had some amazing teachers, one in particular taught me a very important lesson which was to question and debate everything. She taught us to research and to educate ourselves. I value Bill's desire to ask questions, I worry more about those who never question.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 6:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:59 pm
Posts: 1092
Location: Lakewood
Putting aside the at-times bewildering costs-per-pupil discussion for a moment...I'd just like to offer a reflection on all of this from a retired teacher's perspective.

As I've often told my students in the past, there really are only two grades in the real world; those being an A or an F. That is, either you did your job right, or you did not.

The discussion of the expense, and at times, even the validity and character of our public schools, is an old discussion on the 'Deck and has involved numerous people over a span of several years. It tends to resurface around school levy time, but once in awhile, it comes back.

Let's face it, there are people who, for any number of reasons, simply do not care for the public schools as they currently exist. Or perhaps they might barely tolerate the idea of public education, but are otherwise opposed to teachers' unions, collective bargaining and stuff like that.

At the same time, public school and union advocates have not always come across in the best light either. People are, after all people, and the issue of public education is one of great complexity, particularly these days, and especially in the light of under-funded governmental mandates and conflicting positions regarding what should be taught and what should be tested, and when.

People are certainly entitled to their own points of view regarding schooling. One of the best insights that a liberal arts education provides is the realization that there are decent, thoughtful, committed and passionate people on virtually all sides of an issue. What they disagree on is not so much with the logic, but with the premises for discussion.

Perhaps we should begin with the basic premise presently before us.

Should America even HAVE public schools anymore? :shock:

You'd think that everyone would agree with that one, but that's not the case at all. There is a significant portion of our population who believe that education should ideally be done in the private sector. This type of thinking is not new. It's been around as long as public schools have existed.

Then too, and particularly with the historical, scientific, or health-related subjects, there has often been considerable political disagreement as to exactly what should be emphasized in the schools.

The basic difficulty that many have with the public school ideal is that public schools traditionally have encouraged the concept of having a free and open inquiry into all topics, on the basis of acquired knowledge alone, unfettered by perceptions. You might think that to be a laudable goal, but millions of people do not think so at all. Millions believe that the search for knowledge must be tempered by partisan premises. Right from the start in our country, we have allowed people to opt out of the public schools for that very reason. Over the years, public monies have been allowed by the courts into aspects of private instruction, provided that the instruction was academic in nature.

To want one's own children to be taught through the lens of a particular worldview is the right of every parent. At the same time, we have often seen the historical disasters that have arisen when such education crosses the line into "brainwashing". The 20th century produced millions of such children who were educated in schools indoctrinating left or right-wing ideologies by governments bent on imposing their particular worldview on others.

In the American educational system, all children coming from all faiths, political, or racial backgrounds are welcome in our schools. There, they learn to get along with each other, to learn from each other's backgrounds and cultures, test each other's theories, develop hypotheses about life based on global realities, and learn to interact and to treat each other with respect in this increasingly cosmopolitan world of ours. That is why I am a firm believer in public education. Indeed to me, public education represents perhaps one of the last and best hopes that humanity has to learn to get along with each other. Private education certainly has its place, but it's with the public schools' acceptance of all who come to its doors, that shows where America's, (and indeed, the world's future) will lie.

Now, as to the specific question presently before us: Is the Lakewood City School District spending "too much" per pupil? A comparison around the county would quickly suggest otherwise. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the concept of public schools, we all know that good public schools are a primary attraction for a community interested in selling or renting homes to young families. You want decent property values? You then need decent public schools. That takes an involved community, dedicated administrators, support staff, and teachers, as well as committed parenting and a committed citizenry.

That said, the schools should never be given a free pass. Public school leadership teams always need to be aware that there is (hopefully!) an active and involved public out there, keeping an eye on things.

In my opinion, the Lakewood Schools have accomplished a great deal, but much remains to be done. The present half-finished high school situation needs attention. The issue of hundreds of students crossing busy Franklin Avenue, every period of every day to change classes in all weather conditions needs to be reviewed. Neighborhood politics need to take a back seat to far-sighted objective planning regarding the elementary population and the building programs. Continual review needs to transpire regarding the utilization of evermore effective technological resources in the classroom in this information age. What worked last year is probably 3 years obsolete already as we speak. Particularly, the schools would be well advised to survey and tap into the community resources of the citizenry. Lakewood senior and community volunteer programs could be expanded into even more tutorial and interactive opportunities than are presently in play.

Lakewood's public schools are indeed REALLY great, but I return to my first point...

There are two grades only in life...an A, or an F. :shock:

Given that paradigm, our schools and our community can never rest on any sort of laurels.

All just my opinions, and I may be wrong from time to time, but it sure is fun to get em' out there. :D

Back to the banjo... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 7:53 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2005 9:49 pm
Posts: 527
Location: lakewood, ohio
J Hrlec wrote:
I would suggest start in order.... first explain what numbers are 'correct' compared to Bill's $/per student then we can switch and focus and answer what numbers are 'correct' in regards to his statement about Cleveland Heights.

Any takers?


J,

I disagree.

The numbers are less important than Bill's positions on public education and government in general. Bill knows what inferences he wants the reader to make. The numbers, real or not, and contextual or not, are part of his rhetoric.

Bill should state his thesis, then defend it honestly and accurately.




Danielle Masters wrote:
Sandra, I had some amazing teachers, one in particular taught me a very important lesson which was to question and debate everything. She taught us to research and to educate ourselves. I value Bill's desire to ask questions, I worry more about those who never question.


Danielle,

Bill’s question was rhetorical and, to my mind, disingenuous. It was not asked for his own edification, but to convince the reader of a political position.

The responses in this thread do not seem to be against asking questions. The responses are debate about the premise of Bill’s question. (Did your teacher encourage you to question the question?)




Steve

.

_________________
Nothin' shakin' on Shakedown Street.
Used to be the heart of town.
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart.
You just gotta poke around.

Robert Hunter/Sometimes attributed to Ezra Pound.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:19 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:39 am
Posts: 1086
Location: Lakewood, OH
stephen davis wrote:

Danielle,

Bill’s question was rhetorical and, to my mind, disingenuous. It was not asked for his own edification, but to convince the reader of a political position.

The responses in this thread do not seem to be against asking questions. The responses are debate about the premise of Bill’s question. (Did your teacher encourage you to question the question?)




Steve

.


Steve, yes we should question the question and I think this is a good dialogue to have. Public education is failing many children and we need to discuss what works and what doesn't. As taxpayers we should voice our concerns and question why certain decisions are made and what the motives are behind them. That is what I see Bill doing. I agree with him at times and disagree with him at other times but I value what he adds and will not just toss his opinion beside because of his political viewpoints. Unfortunately in discussions sometimes people refuse to place any value on the opinion of people with differing political views. That's unfortunate.

It is important to look at the cost per pupil, it's important to see where those dollars are going. We should question if the dollars that are supposed to be going towards education are benefiting children. We should look at cost cutting measures, there are always options. At the end of the day what is important is that children are getting the best education. I do think that all of us agree that we want strong schools, yes despite what you think I am certain even Bill wants strong schools. Good schools are an asset to our community whether or not you have children in them.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 10:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:10 pm
Posts: 1922
J Hrlec wrote:
Any takers?


I guess not.

I used this phrase a lot during my School Board campaign:

"I'm running for School Board because I believe in public education and I believe that quality public education is at risk. The fundemental question is: How do we preserve public education, offer a quality education to students and fairness to Lakewoods residents and equity to School Board employees?".

For some reason the question offends people.

Why is $7,000 enough in Avon and $18,000 not enough in Cleveland Heights? Why do some urban districts excell and others fail?

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/05/3 ... proof.html

For some reason questions like that have some people reaching for the smelling salt.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 11:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:02 am
Posts: 172
Location: Mars Ave
Ok Bill, I'll throw one back your way quickly on my lunch break...

What decrease in the student/dollar ratio here in Lakewood would be enough to promote an increase in student achievement?

I think the main problem is that people, on all sides, confuse money with learning. I'd love for this debate to turn more towards pedagogy, as it looks more and more like we're working with less and less. There are so many great things happening in our districts'classrooms that it'd be interesting to begin to pick apart this idea that our excellent schools are somehow failing. So, Bill, how low should we go? Maybe after we get to the dollar figure we could start talking about actual teaching and learning.

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All views expressed in this forum are my own, and do not represent the views of Lakewood High School or Lakewood City Schools. I use this forum as a means to engage in conversation as an educator, and to learn from the community.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:02 am
Posts: 172
Location: Mars Ave
And maybe we could get to this unanswered question as well, since it aims at dealing with the notion of our schools as "failing" or "in crisis".

http://lakewoodobserver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=142&t=10403

_________________
All views expressed in this forum are my own, and do not represent the views of Lakewood High School or Lakewood City Schools. I use this forum as a means to engage in conversation as an educator, and to learn from the community.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 4:31 pm 
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Hi Bill,

I guess you missed my post above but no worries. Glad to answer your question.

In my post above, $7,000 per pupil is absolutely NOT enough to succeed. Avon Lake has even said so. They are looking for more.

Are they succeeding with it now? Absolutely. Would it be able to continue to succeed? Absolutely not.

Kind of reminds me of "Moneyball". It was cute that the A's could contend for a while but they failed after some time. They couldn't consistently do it with the payroll they had at hand. JMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:50 am
Posts: 73
Sandra Donnelly wrote:
For those waxing nostalgic about students in the 1900's, at the turn of the century only 75% of elementary aged students were enrolled in school, and a mere 11% went on to high school, from which 6.3% graduated. I highly doubt that the 64% who left school to work the farm or the factory were quoting the classics, but I digress.


Then obviously you didn't know my grandfather. He was from Pennsylvania, of English and Scottish immigrants with barely a dime in their pocket. With an 8th grade education in tow, he married an Irish-Catholic at 16, she was 17, and started to raise a beautiful family of 11 children. After serving his country, moved to Cleveland, worked hard to support his family working long hours as a foreman in a factory while starting his own factory business with his son. That son, my uncle, has been a Lakewood resident for over 30 years, and still runs the family business in Ohio City. I'd put my grandfather's intelligence up against any high school ~ no college ~ graduate any day, but I digress...

My comments were not to state that public education is a failure, nor were they directed at Lakewood schools. They were directed at education itself, and in keeping with the spirit of what I meant....
Matthew Lee wrote:
In my post above, $7,000 per pupil is absolutely NOT enough to succeed. Avon Lake has even said so. They are looking for more.

Are they succeeding with it now? Absolutely. Would it be able to continue to succeed? Absolutely not.


Please define success. That is more of what I'm curious about. Is it defined by how many children graduate high-school, how the test scores look to the state, or is it how many children graduate with the ability to actually think for themselves and grasp what they learned while there. Until that is properly defined, I don't know if any amount of money is enough or too little.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:40 am 
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Posts: 172
Location: Mars Ave
Myra, I'd say success involves all of those factors (graduation, success on passing state tests, and college/career/life readiness). And on all of these fronts, my argument is that Lakewood is doing well, though not 100% great for every kid. I'd be interested in how failure is defined, specifically here in Lakewood. The assumption that I'm challenging is this idea that our schools are somehow failing. I'd like to know, specifically, how this failure is being defined. I've asked Bill this question for a few months now and haven't ever got an answer. It's too easy to say we're failing and then never get into what is meant by saying this. The problem is that if these allegations of failure aren't challenged, then they become accepted without any merit to back them up.

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All views expressed in this forum are my own, and do not represent the views of Lakewood High School or Lakewood City Schools. I use this forum as a means to engage in conversation as an educator, and to learn from the community.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:59 pm
Posts: 1092
Location: Lakewood
My following remark is intended to be general in character and NOT directed to any one person in particular.

It's funny really.

Public education detractors historically have called for more and more accountability, and as a result, our students are being tested as never before. Schools are presently being rated primarily on those tests, and in Lakewood's case, we have achieved excellent ratings academically on the basis of those tests.

Those detractors of public education have discovered that, at least in our district, they simply have nothing to "detract" about.

Our athletic and arts programs are equally exemplary. Our students are accepted nationwide to many institutions of higher learning. Our Lakewood schools excel academically, vocationally, you name it. There is no evidence anywhere that I am remotely aware of, that would indicate that Lakewood's schools are "failing", by any sense of that word.

To the contrary, they are succeeding big time, by whatever standard you might choose to apply.

Our school staff, whether administrative, teaching, clerical, or support, all undergo ongoing reviews. Professional development, and constant updating regarding teaching skills and best practices are expected of all teaching and administrative staff. Those involved in the education of the children of Lakewood are expected to deliver educational services second to none, and this, they do.

Expensive at times? Perhaps...and worth every penny of it. Good schools cost money, but look around Lakewood's schools. There's no "fluff". These schools are all about success.

I wish that everyone in Lakewood could have been present last night at Harding's farewell concert for Mr. Brian Griebel, Harding's band director. Students from former years, parents, and hundreds of others provided a standing-room-only crowd of appreciation as the 6th, 7th, 8th grade and dance bands performed, along with Harding's award-winning Cedar Point Band. Griebel used Harding's traditional illuminated baton, a tradition started in that building nearly 60 years ago by my father, Former Harding band director Robert Rice, who had gifted his baton to Griebel years ago, in a way of "passing the torch" to another great educator. Mr. Rice was also present to support Mr. Griebel and the Harding music program. Mr. Griebel's own father Buddy Griebel, the famous jazz pianist, accompanied the jazz band. The band also did a "Danny Boy" tribute to Mr. Griebel's mother, who sat in front of the band. There was not a dry eye in the house.

Excellence in music, tradition, continuity, you name it.

That is the intangible reality that TRULY speaks about Lakewood's fine schools, that being the ongoing tradition of high expectations, blended with such human bonding and continuity. The students of Harding performed at the top of their game, as they always have. It was a positive night of nights, as would be expected ALL the time in the Lakewood Schools.

Nothing but the best. Ever.

Now, then, tomorrow, always.

Lakewood Rangers Rule.


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 Post subject: Re: Superintendent announces cuts:Elementary school will clo
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:29 am 
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A friend recently mentioned to me that if I walked the halls of LHS, I would hear more than 20 different languages being spoken. While that fact may scare the beejeebers of out of those who champion the gentrification of Our City, I find that to be one of the truly beautiful aspects of what makes Lakewood so "Uniquely Undefinable." (yes, that's the term I tossed into the conversation at the May 14 Community Vision workshop.)

I'm not smart enough to be able to offer anyhting with regard to how to fix Our School District's fincancial woes, but I assure you: cutting sports, arts, and other "non-testable" activities does nothing but leave some flat spots on what should be a well-rounded education.

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." ~B. F. Skinner


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