- staffing cuts at more than 25 schools this year
- bell times
- City's pre-K and their ever-increasing desire for space in the district
- capacity issues
- facilities' issues
- curriculum choices/use
- increased spending at district administration
(Please, add to the list.)
The clamor is ever louder. The frustration is growing - for teachers, parents, students, principals. I'm sure district staff is frustrated but senior management is large and in charge and really, most of it is on them. They HAVE to find better and more transparent ways to communicate.
It really is the communications that is killing them. They refuse to treat parents as adults and give them full explanations of current situations. They obfuscate, they deflect, they tell half the story and it is hurting this district.
But what to do? I would say - as I frequently do when senior staff don't appear to be listening - the district needs a shock to the system. But maybe a gradual build-up might just do the trick.
- as has been previously suggested, start opting your child out of any non-required testing, starting with Amplify. If you are asked, tell your teacher and your principal that this is your stand against how the district is being managed. Politely state that yes, you know the blah, blah on how taking the test helps your kid but that you feel that, overall, the direction of the district and the treatment of parents in the district is being hurt much more and that you want the district to listen to parents.
- the Board WILL have three new members in just about two months (new members generally are installed in early December). Maybe four new members. I'm sure that some of the senior staff are already trying to figure out how to "manage" these new members (as I'm sure the Mayor and Tim Burgess are as well). Those new members will need to find a way to become a team with the remaining members but also, to review the issues and find a new way.
- on the November ballot there are two large levies - one for the City and one for the County. If both pass, that's about $1.3B. And then along will come the district's two renewing (but at higher amounts) levies in Feb. 2016. The district - more than ever - will need parents to work for these levies. In particular, as was pointed out at the Eckstein forum, the district will need parents to push other voters - family, friends, co-workers - to vote for them. Grumpy parents do not make good public spokespeople. Grumpy parents do not feel inclined to work phone banks and put out signs.
That, parents, is up to you. Real change needs real - and long-term - action.