Sunday, August 31, 2008

PA Education Forecast: Dark Days Ahead

Did you hear the one about the school district in Lancaster County whose high school posted its highest reading and math scores ever but didn't achieve AYP because of the IEP subgroup? Apparently this phenomenon is rampant in Lancaster County and throughout Pennsylvania.

No word yet if that district's school board president declared it the darkest day in their history.


KClarinet said...

I notice a tone in the article that's entirely different from the one adopted by the Courier as it interpreted Neshaminy's results.

Junior said...

Thank you Mr. O’Connor for bringing to light the information about Lancaster County schools. It certainly fortifies the explanation that Superintendent Paul Kadri gave the school board. This information also proves that the PSSA test itself should not be used as a sole measurement of any school districts success. Also proves that comments like the “Darkest Days” are also not appropriate. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that comments like that are part of a hidden agenda to remove Paul Kadri.

Pianomom said...

Junior is right about the agenda against Kadri. How much longer are you and the other board members going to stand for it William? Everyone else can see what's going on. I'm sure there are things happening behind closed doors we cannot understand, but why do the other 6 board members not stand up to the Levittown representatives? You cannot continue to leave Kadri to fight for himself.

sportsfan said...

The football team got upset on Friday 14-13, so let's blame Kadri for that one too.

Mr. O'Connor, thanks for the Lancaster article. I agree with kclarinet that the tone was not only differnt but it it was good good reporting.

As for the "Darkest Day" comment. It was an insult to the administration, the students, the parents and the teachers. Everyone was responsible for the good showing in the PSSA scores.

An intersting point in the Lancaster article was when an assistent superintendent of one of the schools talked about the up hill battle in getting those special ed. scores up due to emotional problems of the children.
These problems are not "school problems" but "home problems".
I personally know of 2 Neshaminy special ed. teachers who have tried their best on their own time outside the school, to help in whatever way they can with these "home problems".

Will they continue their efforts when they hear a board member talk about the "Darkest Day" ?

platypus said...

Welcome to the dumbing down of Neshaminy! First the Levittown gang will push out a good superintendent who has brought us higher pssa scores and less spending in our budget. Then the board president will either try to promote his hand-picked puppet from within the district, or the other two will fulfill their ambition of turning this place into Bristol North and bring in somebody from that district where they work. I'm afraid that our darkest days are just around the corner thanks to these three.

LivininLevittown said...

It doesn't make it a crime just because not everyone likes Kadri as much as you do. Maybe some board members have good reasons for wanting him to leave. Did you ever consider that?

sk.langhorne said...

Levittown, there's a huge difference between not liking the superintendent and sabotaging his every move. If you have been paying any attention to board meetings over the past couple of years, you would know that the Levittown representatives have done everything in their power to find fault in Kadri. Declaring our improved pssa scores as the darkest day in history is proof that they would rather take down an entire district than to give that man an ounce of credit. It's nice to see that more of the board members are standing up to these guys, but it may not be enough. Who could blame Kadri for leaving? He's got many reasons to leave, and I can't give him a single good one to stay but I sure hope he chooses to stay.

I must be living in Jersey said...

I was just about to type a response to Living In Levittown when I noticed SK took the words right out of my mouth. What Platypus said about the dumbing down of our district also struck a cord in me. Very frightening thoughts in deed.

Hey LiL, do you support what your representatives did last week? Do you think it was ok to insult every student and teacher just so they could launch another attack at Kadri?

LivininLevittown said...

First off only Mr. Eccles said it was the darkest day. Web and Kozol did not say that. They complained Kadri wasn't getting there information packets to them soon enough. I am kind of new to the board meetings and admit I may not understand things you people are talking about. I sometimes think you people north of OLH want to spend money on education no matter what it costs and you forget there are people who can't not always pay for that. Maybe that is why the 3 board members disagree with Kadri while the others are on his side. I don't really know the story because I just started paying attention to the meetings on the tv. Once I have seen more meetings maybe I will feel differently.

Gabriel said...

I think we all agree with you on affordable education, Levittown. That is why so many parents on both sides of Route 1 support Mr. Kadri. Under his guidance, our last two budgets (especially this most recent one) are the best we've seen in years, and there are positive signs that our educational programs are improving. One quick look at our overall PSSA's will tell you that. Despite this success, however, the board members in your area don't appear to be satisfied.

As others have mentioned, the problems between Kadri and the three board members have been going on for a while, and sometimes it has gotten downright nasty. One example is when Kadri stated at a public meeting that there was board interference in the district's hiring process, and he threatened to name names. It should be obvious to all that such interference has nothing to do with cost reductions. It smacks of political patronage, and Kadri has made it clear he wants no part of it.

There are probably many factors which contribute to the discord between Kadri and some board members. The problem I and many others have is that your elected representatives have no interest in working with Kadri; no desire to make things better. They want him out apparently, and they are hiding their feelings less and less as time goes on. It sets a poor example for our children and it is not serving the entire community.

I encourage you to continue watching the board meeting rebroadcasts. Mr. O'Connor would probably be angry with me if I didn't suggest you actually go to a meeting or two in person to get a feel of what is going on that you cannot see on television. As time goes on, I am confident you will see what is obvious to everyone else - there is an agenda against Kadri, and it's not as simple as blaming it on the cost of education.

finance-101 said...

Livin in Lev:

What would be a reason they want him to leave? The guy is really bright, he has good innovative ideas and has been a huge positive so far to the district. Something does not make sense. Can someone figure out why they don't like this guy !

No problem to disagree but for goodness sake they are just against him 100% of the time.
They are against him for even the obvious things he does good. So when that happens, those board members lose total credibility.

Also, Levittown, can you answer this question. Why does Council Rock have higher real estate prices than homes in Neshaminy ?

Levittowner said...

I voted for Eccles and Webb a few years ago (before the new school referendum). Why? I'm a Republican and didn't see a reason *not* to vote for them.

I started really paying attention with the school referendum...the more I saw of the meetings the more I was concerned with the message I was hearing from our "reps".

I started going to meetings and my eyes were really opened. The more I got involved with this whole process the more concerned I got.

I'm all for saving money...but those of us around awhile have come to know of the Levittown reps as "penny wise pound foolish".

I get the feeling that the Levittown reps and those whose ear they bend don't like it when they aren't allowed to micromanage and have a door mat for a superindendant. I was just getting involved when the previous super (who I think Eccles said was a great super..correct me if I'm wrong) and I never heard the man speak at any of the meetings I watched. I saw no direction at all from him. Perhaps it occured the times I didn't watch.

This past meeting( at least to my eyes) it was even more obvious. They are just not going to give an inch to Mr. Kadri and it has gotten to be embarassing to me.

I live in Levittown too, but I do not want to be represented by those who constantly seem not to grasp that their role is to oversee the process..not control it...not micromanage it..not run it in the ground because they are so ignorant they can't seem to see the big picture but instead nit-pick, patronize and whine.

They pick up the shiny nickle they "saved" while giving up the pile of money they didn't notice behind the grass.

They complain about AYP(and keep saying FAIL showing their lack of self-education on the subject.) while failing to realize that the much Bigger Picture is our improved PSSA scores.

They work dilengently to impede and ignore Kadri then berate him when he and his staff Succeeed in spite of their efforts. This last board meeting the whole "dark" thing was such a pathetic grasp at trying this reprimmand.

As far as not getting their packages in time to vote. They have lost so many points with me that I don't even trust their "side" of the problem. They just seem to be trying to get out a well loved super. A super we *need* and has thus far been everything he promised to our district. Is he perfect? I'm sure not, but I have WAY more trust in him and other board members than those from my area. And that is sad.

I know you and I are much smarter than these reps seem to give us credit for. We know to delve deeper into issues than what we read in the Courier Times or these reps toute as their "big" savings.

I have utmost faith that the more you see, the more your eyes will open to what is really going on with our representatives.

I'm sure they are fine people, but they have no place on the board in my opinion.

4thekidz said...

Levittowner-well put!!
I too didn't start paying attention until after the high school project failed to go through. I started watching and paying attention more closely to how the school board worked and to the community's comments at the meetings.Going in, I had some thoughts about certain community groups but I didn't have any preconceived ideas about any board member. It quickly became evident that 3-4 members tried to run the show with bluster and bully techniques. Constructive differences of opinion are not what comes out of most of Neshaminy's meetings. It appears to this viewer that if you don't agree with their opinion than YOU are just wrong. No question,no discussion.
In this last meeting a person was almost not approved their contract because of a selfish agenda. I quess this is acceptable 'collateral damage' in order to prove a point.
What other possibilities and opportunities will be lost to the Neshaminy School Districts's students, parents and seniors by this type of leadership and short sighted thinking?
Unfortunately, the remaining three board members have backed each other's claims and accusations way to often and too vehemently for me to see them separately.
Stay tuned livininlevittown it is sure to be another bumpy ride.

IrishFarm said...

I appreciate your diplomacy Levittowner but these are not "fine" people. My child is one of last year's 11th graders who took those pssa's, and he and his classmates were proud of the accomplishment. When Eccles made his comment about the dark days of Neshaminy, did he even consider how it would impact the students? Even now, a week after the meeting, is there any part of what he said that Eccles regrets? Probably not. They accomplished their mission of going after Kadri without any concern for the students. Those are not the qualities of "fine" people.

William O'Connor said...

The following comment was posted by NHS Mom, and was edited for content:

So I watched the meeting and I too was appalled that the 3 Levittown reps all abstained from the voting on each item that I viewed. What was that??? I understand if there are personal reasons but come on, what a political statement that was! I am a Republican and I can tell you this - that I was ashamed to have them represent the party! They sure didn’t represent the voters that put them there to be an extension of their voice. I am sure that the folks in their region(s) are not too happy! It’s time to stop the political games! I won’t be able to be at the next meeting but I want to tell them to stop! They are supposed to be representing the taxpayers’ interest and the interests of our students. They did neither. What a mess! Again here we go….I hope that in December the other board members speak LOUD and clear and remove Rick from his post. He is NOT representing Neshaminy very well and neither is his sidekick Frank K! Rick if you read this blog, please, where is the Rick I knew about 5 years ago, that cared about the kids and worried about the taxpayers. I would like to ask you when you go home after a meeting like that can you look your kids in the face and tell them “I made you proud of my actions tonight”? just like you expect them to make you proud of their actions. It’s only September and I am already disgusted!

Jake said...

You know what the problem is, William? You guys who support Kadri are too nice. You follow the rules. On the other hand those who want to force Kadri out will do anything to succeed. When Cummings stood up to Eccles at the meeting, Eccles started to raise his voice and speak over her. Maybe you guys should start yelling at them, make silly accusations and turn minor issues into major ones. That's what they are doing. If they are going to drag this district into the toilet, you might as well make it interesting.

Gabriel said...

That's a little extreme, don't you think Jake? Those who spoke out in support of Kadri last Tuesday including Cummings, Spitz and Blasch, did so with dignity and leadership. If nothing else, let's set a good example for the children. I understand all of us are frustrated with the treatment of our superintendent, but the leadership of these people, including William, is what will get us through these times.

Rebecca said...

I finally saw the meeting on tv and am angry at the behavior of some board members. The agenda of these people to hurt Kadri was obvious. Thank you to the board members who supported him. There are still rumors he is interviewing for other jobs. I hope they are not true as he is a good superintendent. Please stay Mr. Kadri.

sportsfan said...

Has anyone looked at the survey results ? Looks like Penn State vs Coastal Carolina.
I enjoy this blog because I think the people who post are pretty intelligent and fairly honest. But I'm surprised that not even the Courier would come in and ruin the shutout !

Angie said...

I have a suggestion, why don't those of us that are Republicans start attending the Middletown Republican meetings. They meet once a month. We need to let the party leadership know that we don't want these men representing us.

Erik said...

Hate to rain on your parade Angie but the Middletown Republicans are not on your side. A few months ago when the retired teacher ranted in a public meeting for 10 minutes against Kadri and in support of the board president, in the audience to support him was the head of the local Republicans along with a bunch of their leadership. You would have a better chance of getting Bin Laden to stop a radical muslim.
For Republicans in Langhorne and Levittown we have 2 choices - either vote democrat or move to Lower South where the GOP leadership doesn't interfere with the school district.

finance-101 said...

I just saw a piece on CNN where they praise a school in DC for coming up with an innovative idea to bring up test scores. They are paying kids $100 a month to come to school, stay out of trouble and take the test. It sounds crazy and there is no guarantee it will work. Here is the link:

Now at Neshaminy we came up with a better idea using incentives without money. It was a huge success. The DC school gets praised by the national media. Our test scores go up over 10% and it is called "The Darkest Day", by one of our own board members ?????

Erik said...

The difference is that CNN cares enough about children to report the truth. Our board president has a different agenda having absolutely nothing to do with the education of our students.