Commentary: An open letter to Superintendent Evers regarding Goodland

2013-02-21T00:15:00Z 2013-12-24T09:56:26Z Commentary: An open letter to Superintendent Evers regarding GoodlandJEFF LONGSINE Journal Times
February 21, 2013 12:15 am  • 

To State Superintendent Tony Evers:

Mr. Superintendent, this letter is being sent to you, as well as our other elected representatives, on behalf of concerned parents of children attending Goodland Elementary School in Racine. Goodland was identified as a “Priority School” by Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction. Apparently DPI has established a policy of making dramatic changes to schools deemed as such, and we as parents feel blindsided by this chain of events.

First of all, we as parents were not consulted by DPI as to our perceptions of Goodland’s performance as it concerns the teaching of our children. It seems that based on aggregate standardized test scores our school was simply caught up in a dragnet cast out by bureaucrats in Madison. In any event, we were not spoken to by anyone. The decision to label Goodland as a “priority school,” a seemingly friendly euphemism for “failing,” was made elsewhere.

Secondly, our input into this process is/was cursory at best. If Goodland is not functioning well enough for its students, then we as parents should have been involved in the very conception of any plan to improve educational outcomes for the students (our children). How dare some third party impose 300 additional hours of classroom instruction per year on young children without discussing the matter with parents first! This single element of DPI’s plan is certain to have very serious repercussions for the children, families and faculty of our school. Among other issues we may wonder about the developmental impact of 300 additional hours of sedentary activity for young children, the burnout of faculty and the potential inconvenience to families. Some parents would rather see their children spend these 300 hours at home, in religious instruction, in athletic training, in Boy/Girl Scouts or even in unstructured play.

Perhaps the parents of Goodland students would have had better ideas for how to spend several hundred thousand dollars toward the betterment of instruction; rather than on a “lead turnaround partner.” Maybe the parents would have chosen different school reform initiatives than those we were informed about at a meeting hosted by DPI and our local school district. One may never know as we have been kept largely in the dark until now.

Lastly, some fear that these measures may discourage and even scuttle the staff at Goodland. Many teachers are beloved by their students, and viewed as strongly effective by parents. What will they think of all this? Will they simply look for greener pastures?

A dramatic change in staff may have a detrimental effect on instruction and morale throughout the building. What sort of staff will be eager to work at a school, with such additional demands and negative stigma, if staff members do indeed leave?

We look forward to your response(s). Any letter or email sent in reply to this letter will be shared with the other Goodland parents.

Jeff Longsine is a parent of a Goodland Elementary School student and a teacher at Horlick High School.

Copyright 2015 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. tell-the-truth-please
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    tell-the-truth-please - February 23, 2013 8:23 am
    I understand you are obviously very angry right now so I will try to be an adult and rise above this. My apologies first for offending your sensitivities. Let me very be clear for the record that there are in fact many dedicated, passionate educators within RUSD. The union however must be broken after many years of abuse. In my opinion at least one third of the ineffective teaching staff must be let go and the system completely overhauled. Having said that there are plenty of smart people within our community that are capable of fixing these problems if given the opportunity to do so. I hope we can agree on this much at least. Again my apologies and by the way much of what the far right believes in I disagree with.
  2. Ma Hambone Banjo
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    Ma Hambone Banjo - February 22, 2013 10:23 pm
    Dadgummit, I darn neared falled from the chair laughing at you funny name fer me: “Ham Blown Blow Jo!” ROTFLMBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I got that exclamation thing from you) I can’t says I heared such a funny name fer someone since I was in 2nd grade. Next time though see if’n you can make one with a meaning, or that rhymes with the original name.
    You is so danged learned... I did not even know “southern” was a race. I ain’t never even saw that one on a survey er whatnot. Maybe they ought to hire you as consultant to point out other races, such as coastal, western, uptown and such.
    Thar you go with tham all caps agin on yer bet. I can jus see Dr. Evil sayin, “ONE MILLION DOLLARS.” I’d love to take that bet accept I a little short on matching funds.
    Sorry if’n I offended you sensibilities fer the southern race. I try to be more sensitive like you. Sure, you put down all them concerned parents, union members, smeared the accused Mr. Adams, and bash folks on pension. That ain’t yer fault though. You prolly jus get two fired up listening to Marx Belling, Glan Beck, Rush Blimpo and such. I look forwird to next time Mr. smell-the-poo-please.
    - Love Ma (ham blown blow jo)Dadgummit, I darn neared falled from the chair laughing at you funny name fer me: “Ham Blown Blow Jo!” ROTFLMBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I got that exclamation thing from you) I can’t says I heared such a funny name fer someone since I was in 2nd grade. Next time though see if’n you can make one with a meaning, or that rhymes with the original name.
    You is so danged learned... I did not even know “southern” was a race. I ain’t never even saw that one on a survey er whatnot. Maybe they ought to hire you as consultant to point out other races, such as coastal, western, uptown and such.
    Thar you go with tham all caps agin on yer bet. I can jus see Dr. Evil sayin, “ONE MILLION DOLLARS.” I’d love to take that bet accept I a little short on matching funds.
    Sorry if’n I offended you sensibilities fer the southern race. I try to be more sensitive like you. Sure, you put down all them concerned parents, union members, smeared the accused Mr. Adams, and bash folks on pension. That ain’t yer fault though. You prolly jus get two fired up listening to Marx Belling, Glan Beck, Rush Blimpo and such. I look forwird to next time Mr. smell-the-poo-please.
    - Love Ma (ham blown blow jo)
  3. tell-the-truth-please
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    tell-the-truth-please - February 22, 2013 6:56 pm
    Wow Ham Blown Blow Jo it might be a good idea to double your dosage before sitting down to type next time. Whats with the racial mocking against people from the south. Believe me when I say even a poor ignorant southern man/woman may want something better than your RUSD union owned train wreck. I would bet ONE MILLION DOLLARS that you are a retired public pension piggie yourself. Thank you for taking the time to correct my spelling by the way I am delighted that ny tax dollars are so hard at work .
  4. Ma Hambone Banjo
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    Ma Hambone Banjo - February 21, 2013 5:01 pm
    Good work once agin thar mr. "yells-like-a-goof." You done used another word you heared on that Charlie Syke show: "unionista". That almost so original of you. You such a great asett of intelectual thought hear on the JT website.
    Maybe you oughta run fer judge, since you already have Mr. Adams convicted and don't seem to mind dragg'n that fellar through the mud along with the author. This sentence hear was a reel gem: "Concerned, panic parent cabals like this exist in elite, isolated little pockets at schools throughout the district."
    Any parent wish'n to express concern is just part of some elite cabal. Dadgumit, I knowed it all along! I knew any time a parent show concern they jus faken it!
    Why can't these dang parent shut up and just accept they fate? Who dare stand aginst mighty yells-like-a-goof? If'n you elitist unionista cabal parents keep it up you jus might kindel the anger of yells-like-a-goof and set him off to typing in all caps agin!
    Shut the dang heck up cabal elitests, I try'n to git me marching order listening to Marx Belling!
  5. Concerned
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    Concerned - February 21, 2013 11:57 am
    The US Department of Education may be finally forcing the DPI to order Corrective Action Plans for specific schools in failing districts. The next step may be to cut the funding from the Federal Government.

    Of course you can order a district to improve with a Correction Action Plan, but then fail to check up to see if it has actually been done. It's just a matter of accountability, forced accountability now since RUSD and the REA don't play well together.
  6. Gearhead
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    Gearhead - February 21, 2013 8:40 am
    It would sure be nice if Mr. Longsine and his cohorts could just drop the union rant and faux concern for just once. The more appropriate response is to thank the state for finally stepping in to do what he and RUSD couldn't do: Reform an under-performing school by demanding accountability and culling under-performing teachers as well. Long past due. The children deserve it. For too long we have trusted the local "professional educators" would get it done. They haven't.
  7. tell-the-truth-please
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    tell-the-truth-please - February 21, 2013 7:52 am
    Ahhhh......spoken like a true unionista. I knew I suspected a red T-shirt blue fist pumper somewhere in this passion play. I am sure there are a handful of parents at Goodland perhaps %10-20 no doubt whose children do just fabulously. Concerned, panic parent cabals like this exist in elite, isolated little pockets at schools throughout the district. Where were these concerned Goodlanders in years past when it came toward EFFECTIVELY trying to reach out with the other families in their school ? Did they not know that the school was on a crisis collision course with the state for poor performance ? They all must believe it takes a village right ? What about the other %80-90 of the children at Goodland that tax payers are on the hook for at 10k per student ! Isnt the whole point of a free and open public school system to help those that are poor and uneducated to acheive something better in life ? Ooops I amost forget our schools have been %100 controled by a militant, arogant union monopoly whose reign of destruction is finally drawing to an end THANK GOD. In my humble opinion, it may be better for this educator/gentleman to direct his efforts more toward weeding out fellow unionisti that need to be terminated, perhaps like his coworker at Horlick High School that was recently acused of sexual misconducted with an underage young lady at the school. Shame Shame Shame Shame.
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