Here’s part three of our community responses regarding their experiences with Columbus City Schools and their suggestions on what they’d like to see for real reform. If you haven’t had the chance, be sure to read part one and part two as well.
Thanks to those of you who were brave enough to share your thoughts!
First I would take a long hard look at the leadership (building level, department level… etc). I would ask questions like “why there is an elementary principal that as NO elementary experience” or “would it be wise to move an administrator to another position if they were clearly unsuccessful at their current position?” Then I would ask where the accountability is for said leaders… showing up at the same time as the students and leaving before them?
Then I would create some sort of system where staff concerns could be heard and addressed, after all it is the teachers on the front lines. I have made phone calls, emails and messages that get no reply- from anyone.
Budget- spend less money busing kids accross town. There are children who ride the bus for hours a day, probably passing mutliple schools along the way that could provide the same service. Cut budget anywhere but the classrooms- after all we are in the business of children. Look hard at CEC, Shephard center, neil ave, hudson warehouse… it doesn’t take three people to touchup paint in the classroom or run the copier in H.R.
I heard that 80 percent of the budget is spent on personnel and of that 80 percent half of that are teachers or other certificated personnel (counselors, psych,etc). That seems all wrong. I realize it is a large district, but it seems if we shifted the personnel dollars to people who have actual educational contact with the students there would have to be some benefit. I am not talking about adding more teachers on special assignment to write curriculum or another person to guide schools through the ‘whatever’ process. I am talking boots on the ground. Education is about building relationships, not running reports. Educations is about sharing a love a learning, not filling out forms. We all know that leaderless armies would fail, but so would the ones with not enough soldiers on the front lines.
- Anonymous, undecided regarding levy
I am fine with contributing additional funds to the schools, but I need to be confident that the money will be well spent. As far as I can tell, the administration and school board are just tone deaf. The new interim superintendent began his tenure by indicating that administrators and principals who had cheated would be given the opportunity to resign and then, if they refused, be terminated. Respectfully, with employees soon to be facing indictment the response is not to give them the opportunity to resign, you terminate them and make an example. This just seems indicative to me that he can’t comprehend that something really wrong happened here.
I don’t geel that I am being treated honestly when board members are talking about “high performing” and “non-profit” charter schools. They are “not-profit” like Riverside hospital is non-profit, no stockholders but huge sums to administrators and employees. And they are “high performing” because they can select the best children. My annoyance with charter schools conceptually is less than my concern that the backers of the levy are being dishonest about it.
I need a house cleaning on the board, and from what I see in the polls people are too out of the loop to tell who the incumbents are and who they are not. Honestly, I’ll have to research it election morning myself and bring notes, so I’m not throwing stones.
But most importantly, I think they need to articulate what they will use the money for. I think this will be a useful exercise both for them — it will be a helpful outline and a standard to hold people to — and a reason for me to give them money. Not some claim of a need for operating funds which turns out not to be true, something about building new schools and a vague plan to give all students computers.
Finally, I wonder who is funding the campaign for the levy? I have a suspicion it is contractors who stand to gain from school contracts. I really get the impression that there is some graft going on, perhaps from the strange disappearance of the funds intended for computers 5 years ago.
- Ed F, parent or guardian of CCS student, against the levy
A 24% increase would be an extreme hardship on my family and on my elderly parents. What if a tax increase is needed in the future for fire and safety? If we have to pay 24%, we could never support any other increase. My husband, nor I have had a raise from our employers in over three years. This increase would have to come from our grocery money.
Please find low and no cost solutions to CCS problems. Have your corporate sponsors work with students. Have them donate to the actual schools instead of your campaign.
The kids need help in the schools, but they also need food and housing.
- Parent or guardian of CCS student, against the levy
I want reform. For me, reform starts with having a system I trust. I got involved in the schools, because my children have principal who is neither honest nor ethical. From there I learned that her supervisor and the former superintendent shared those traits.
I was hopeful when Superintendent Good entered the scene, but I am no longer hopeful. In the campaign process, I have seen unethical use of district resources for the campaign and ongoing manipulation of data to misrepresent the needs and proposals.
I will not vote to support a system of liars. You can’t “reform” from a dishonest starting point.
*One more thing. If the system is really failing, it makes no sense to fill all the committees and panels with sycophants and cheerleaders. They don’t see problems; they can’t fix what they don’t see. CCS needs to embrace websites like this.
- Reader, parent or guardian of CCS student, against the levy
Though I hate segregation, schools for children where English is taught as a second language. NO money for charter schools. If Catholic schools do a good job teaching at no extra cost to taxpayers then charter schools should do the same. Fail all students who don’t pass. No pushing them under the rug for the next teacher. If parents don’t care enough about their kids to take an interest in making sure they learn, then don’t have them.
As for teachers, there are new classes of graduating teachers every year (some of whom I suspect are excellent) who would love to have a job so fire the bad ones. Could the bad ones be any worse? Plus, who hired them in the first place? No more NOT flunking bad students and no more NOT firing bad teachers! More money isn’t going to help and will put families in an even more difficult position to take care of their children.
- Community member, against the levy
A slate of four candidates committed to education for the Columbus Board of Education. If the Commission had been serious about reform, they could have identified and selected a slate of candidates who would care about the work of educating children, not advancing other interests first.
Until there are four Board members who care about children first, themselves second AND are willing to do the work to become knowledgeable on the issues, the district will flounder. Eric Fingerhut has said that the highest performing school districts have Boards that talk about academic achievement regularly. I agree. Sadly, the Commission did nothing to address this. The good news: we can do something about this in two years.
- Parent or guardian of CCS student, against the levy