April 4, 2013 - Despite authoritative assurances from Board of Education Trustee Fred Bonnacci that the Board had only authorized the "pursuit" of IB authorization and that there would be a full review of costs, student and teacher feedback after a year, Indian Trail is now an IB World School.
Including Indian Trail, there are now a total of 368 elementary schools in the United States which have subscribed to the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) philosophy.
In the video featured (right), please advance to the 38 minute point where Mr. Rodney Armstrong questions the "IB authorization process" and Mr. Bonnacci discusses how this "pilot program" will be reviewed, which clearly did not happen.
A Stow Mom who removed her children from SMF schools in order to avoid IB, hasn't closed her eyes to the pervasive and invasive nature of the IB marketing. The four pages below are from the childrens' magazine Venture, sort of a Catholic version of Highlights.
April 11, 2012
After watching the SMF BoE meeting of April 10th (featured below), it occurred to TAIB that we have never featured Application A to IB for Indian Trail. This document, which establishes SMF's "vision" for IB and the basis for which Dr. Jones has implemented IB "exploration", was filed dishonestly. It not only claims that SMF conducted a feasibility study, it claims that the governing body approved implementation of IB at Indian Trail. This never occurred. Therefore, it is the OPINION of TAIB that the filing of Application B (which TAIB will post upon receipt) must also be considered fraudulent, since it is based on the conclusion and completion of Application A.
The You Tube video at left gets interesting around the 25:00 minute mark.
This year's IB Conference of the Americas is being held in Riviera Maya in Mexico: http://blogs.ibo.org/conferenceamericas/We wonder WHO the "lucky" IT PYP teacher will be who gets to attend on YOUR taxdollars!
Once again, thank you to Donny VanOss for acting as a dedicated citizen reporter by videotaping the SMF proceedings.
Weeks after the February 14, 2012 UNANIMOUS 5-0 vote by the SMF Board of Education to "NOT allow the Superintendent to pursue IB in any other SMF school except Indian Trail, without Board approval", look at what one of SMF's concerned parents found hanging in Echo Hills!
This is outrageous! Strip Echo Hills of ALL IB PROPAGANDA NOW! Hold Jones, Moore, Bulgrin and Martucci accountable!
A picture is worth a thousand words, folks. Great job getting this to TAIB. Stop the IB agenda! TAKE BACK YOUR SCHOOLS! If the school won't take this garbage down, parents, go in and remove it yourselves. Echo Hills is violating Board policy.
Echo Hills IB propaganda
The Indefatigable Mrs. Carlisle
From:Larry Carlisle <email@example.com> To:firstname.lastname@example.org Sent:Wednesday, March 7, 2012 3:31 PM Subject:Agenda 21 & International Baccalaureate
I have never been more grateful for a Republican committee's work than I am for your stance againstAgenda 21. Truly, you have renewed my faith in our leadership. Thank you!
With great hope, I write today to ask your further consideration in standing against International Baccalaureate. As you are likely aware, IB is the vehicle through which UNESCO drives Sustainability Indoctrination into the hearts and minds of America's, indeed the world's, children. I have devoted the past year, day & night, to studying, exposing and eradicating IB in our local school system. ARRA & Title 1 grants are making the Liberal-Progressive goal for one world education a potential reality. IB asks teachers to bring Agenda 21 and the Declaration of Universal Human Rights to training.IBO.orgis littered with the push for Sustainability and Aghenda 21. Please, Councilwoman, I literally beg you, in your efforts to stop Agenda 21, do not overlook the co-opting of America's children.
I am so pleased that you responded to me. Your constituents are blessed by devoted leadership. I have contacted Steve LaTourette more than once on this issue. Though he is always helpful on other issues and though I remain respectful & supportive of the good that he does, I have never heard a response regarding IB. Indeed, most representatives avoid the topic. You are exceptional. Thank you!
Councilwoman, I have amassed so much information on International Baccalureate in the past year. As an NGO of UNESCO with formal consultative status to the organization, I believe IBO pledges support of the principles of UNESCO. As UNESCO funding has stopped with recognition of the PLO, should American grant money utilized to purchase IB for our schools not also cease? Much of that money is Title 1,2, or 6 or ARRA grants. Title monies are awarded for the benefit of 'disadvantaged' students. Title programs are to be scientifically proven as beneficial to these students. Correspondance with the U.S. Department of Education has not only produced no scientific evidence of academic improvement in Title 1 students, it has yielded no scientific data reflecting academic improvement for students at all! And, finally, International Baccalaureate focuses almost exclusively on Earth issues and Agenda 21. For all of these reasons, and so many more, I believe that International Baccalaureate has no place in American public schools, especially at the elementary level.
Our little community has a Facebook page devoted to International Baccalaureate: IB Discussion Only Stow Munroe Falls City School District @https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/347757821910524/375879092431730/?comment_id=375903729095933. We have been attempting to reach Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen regarding IB and the PLO, as well. If you have contact with her, she would be beneficial to our concern. Education celebrities including Phyllis Schlafley, Kyle Olson, and Lisa McLoughlin (TruthaboutIB) have been known to drop by our page; but reaching politicians is much more difficult because their emails often require residency. At your level, Ron Paul and Michelle Bachman are known IB skeptics who should prove great resources. I hope that you will consider looking over the reference materials we have posted. Furthermore, you are welcome to phone me with any future questions. If I cannot answer, I will work endlessly to find someone who can. No one can imagine how grateful we are for your work. May God bless you and your fellow members twice for your every effort. Please, consider us at your service!
SMF's Histrionic Hyper-Partisan IB History
June 28th, 2011. TAIB established this page on the website to feature everything relevant to the IB issue in the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District.
This set off alarm bells in SMF Administration. A flurry of e-mails were sent back and forth. Obviously, SMF was not going to be able to battle TAIB alone. This battle would require the assistance of Joanna Craig!
TAIB e-mail 6/28/11
E-mail between Pat Matthews and Karen Moore
So who exactly is this Joanna Craig, the ONE person that SMF's Board President and Curriculum Director thought would be the best person to handle the "IB issue"?
Email from Joanna Craig
[yellow highlighting TAIB's emphasis]
All of the above took place on June 28th, 2011. Almost eight (8) full months have passed since this rather disturbing e-mail exchange. Everything that transpired between June '11 and February '12 can be found below on this page. Nowhere is Joanna Craig mentioned prior to today. With one exception:
On Monday, February 13th, 2012, Joanna Craig stood before the Board of Education as an IB supporter claiming to represent "the silent majority". At the 17:03 minute mark on the following video, Ms. Craig declares, "I am also a parent who has absolutely no vested interest in IB whatsoever!"
Seems to us that Ms. Craig has quite a bit of "vested interest" in IB, since she had just written a manuscript (for Harvard no less) which would provide, oh what were her words, "more fuel to counter their pathetic objections".
Yet SMF didn't trot out their "secret weapon's" allegedly unsolicited public comments until the night it held a re-vote on the vote to authorize or not authorize IB at Indian Trail. And then, Ms. Craig upped the ante, so to speak, by making false accusations of harrassment and prank phone calls against the concerned citizens who have politely and diligently tried to have their questions about IB answered by the district.
Ms. Craig's e-mail clearly depicts her bias, hatred and intolerance for those whose opinions may differ from her own. How very sad that SMF would choose such an individual to defend the "IB issue".
evening update 2/15/12
So, one of TAIB's "factcheckers" , being ever so efficient, decided to research this alleged manuscript Joanna Craig claims she wrote for Harvard. Here is the reply below:
IB Shameless A Community Divided by Lisa E. McLoughlin
At the close of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin left the hall in Philadelphia, he was asked, “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” He replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”1
Contrast the statement above with the following by Mao Tse Tung:
“Education in democracy must be carried on within the Party so that members can understand the meaning of democratic life, the meaning of the relationship between democracy and centralism, and the way in which democratic centralism should be put into practice.”2
If ol' Ben Franklin could watch the videos below recorded in Stow, Ohio on February 13th, 2012, by Mr. Donny Van Oss, surely he would be weeping. The public comments from parents of children in the SMF schools, broke my heart. The comments from the SMF employees (one untenured), Kent State IB shills and the Indian Trail PTA President's husband turned my stomach. How DARE a Kent State employee claim to represent the "silent majority"! It seems to me, if elections mean anything anymore, that Mr. Rod Armstrong's election to the Board was a loud signal (obviously sent to deaf, dictatorial ears) that the "status quo" was NOT acceptable! The "silent majority" also took Mr. Bonnacci and Ms. Powers at their word that they would not support IB.
Let's just see how the "silent majority" feels the next time SMF tries to hit them up for a tax increase. I know I would feel betrayed, lied to and yes, angry. The first thing I would likely do is withdraw my child/children from the SMF system and either homeschool or send them to private school. These community representatives and employees who only sit in the positions they sit in because of public taxdollars have shown their true colors and they aren't red, white and blue, they are strictly red.
Stow Munroe-Falls City School District has nine schools. I will go on record right here and now and tell you the INTENTIONS of Dr. Russ Jones and his minions are to implement International Baccalaureate in every single SMF school. I will also go on record as stating this gross injustice, this infringement on your liberty, will cost at least $9-10 Million over the next five years and $2M a year every year thereafter. ($200,000 per IB school, per year, average cost, expect to rise)
There is no spreading of love throughout the Stow-Munroe Falls community, this Valentine's Day. Instead, a community stands divided and angry. How very, very, sad.
Vote on Resolution 3A to authorize Indian Trail as an IB World School - 4 YES (Powers, Wright, Bonnacci and Spangler) 1 NO (Armstrong)
Vote on Resolution 3B to NOT allow Superintendent to pursue IB at any other SMF school except Indian Trail, without Board approval - 5 YES0 NO
People who use children, abuse public money, attempt to degrade, insult and malign upstanding parents of children in SMF schools - are NOT the "silent majority". They bow to the false idol of globalism while wearing blinders as to their hand in the destruction of liberty in beautiful small-town, middle America for their own personal gain.
Are you going to lie down and let this happen, American citizens of SMF, Ohio? Are you?
1. Papers of Dr. James McHenry on the Federal Convention of 1787, in Charles C. Tansill, comp. Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States [Washington: U.S. Printing Office, 1927], page 952. 2. Mao Tse-tung, The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War [October 1938], Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 205
Dear Dr. Jones, Ms. Bulgrin and esteemed members of the Board of Education,
As most of you know, I have been called “the most intelligent IB critic in the country” by Jay Mathews of The Washington Post. Back in June, 2011, one of your concerned SMF Moms contacted me with questions regarding IB and I have been following the situation in SMF ever since. It is impossible for me to be fully aware of all of the nuances and special issues that face individual public schools in these terrible economic times, however when it comes to costs surrounding IB, I am intimately familiar with the organization’s plethora of regulations and onerous fees which will be imposed.
Perhaps what I find most unsettling in SMF, is the mishandling of the IB implementation “process”. As demonstrated in this IBO video,it is clearly stated, “I don’t think a top down approach works”. Mr. Kennedy is correct. The top-down approach being used in SMF is not only not working, it has created a tremendous rift in your community.
With all due respect, Dr. Jones, you have either deliberately misinterpreted or incompetently attempted to circumvent IBO’s regulations. An initial feasibility was never conducted. Application A was submitted without approval of your governing body, the Board of Education. The public was pressured to pass a levy in November, 2011, at which point they were told IB would only be implemented in Echo Hills and Indian Trail, but that IB would be fully funded with grant money. Your citizens and now your newly elected BoE Trustees, have diligently attempted to put together a complete financial picture regarding IB. The AoS audit did not provide any financial data that was helpful, but it did make one thing perfectly clear - your intent to IB train SMF staff in ALL SMF buildings and money taken from the General Fund for IB.
Based on SMF’s past actions, it is clear to me that if, on February 13th, the BoE votes to approve continuation of IB at Indian Trail, SMF administration will view that as approval to go ahead with IB districtwide. The fine SMF residents I have spoken to and become friends with over these past nine months are not stupid and frankly, are very upset and angry with being treated as 2nd class citizens. By attempting to force IB into SMF every which way to Sunday, a situation has come to pass which does not “make the world a better place”, but which borders on civil war! Parents have pulled their children from SMF and placed them in St. Mary’s. Others are considering putting their homes on the market to be able to move to another district without IB. How can you in good conscience claim that you are working “for the children” and “for the taxpayers” when SMF parents are being forced to consider such drastic measures in this depressed housing market? How is that fair?
Therefore, I urge you to abandon your quest for IB in Stow-Munroe Falls public schools. Restore harmony in your community. Put an end to months of misinformation and misrepresentation of your intentions. In a district that charges tuition for full-day Kindergarten, imposes school fees and requires parents to Pay to Play, continuing this “rigorous” charade is unconscionable. IB is not fiscally sustainable in SMF (or any other U.S. public school, for that matter).
The time has come to make peace with your residents. On 2/13/12, I hope to see a recommendation from Dr. Jones to the BoE which will order the Termination of IB at Indian Trail, accompanied by a recommendation to abandon further “exploration” of IB districtwide in SMF for at least five years, not “at this time”. I believe Board President Karen Powers is on record regarding IB as saying, “All or nothing”. Nothing is the right choice. The time has come to end the angst. Restore SMF’s Excellent traditional public education and focus on what matters; quality academic achievement, athletics, drama, the arts and other enrichment opportunities - and leave the “values, beliefs and attitudes” to the parents.
Regards, Lisa E. McLoughlin Administrator of Truth About IB
January, 2012 - What is the Status of IB in SMF?
What a Mess!
January 23, 2012 - Standing room only, passionate public comment from parents opposed to IB, a motion ignored and a room full of people left totally confused as to exactly what was voted on. This is not how a public school district should be run. Blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Dr. Russ Jones who crafted the poorly worded "recommendation" in the first place! The wording of Jones' recommendation was designed to confuse and remain open to misinterpretation as to the Board's intent, no matter which way the vote went.
It certainly looks like someone provided SMF Treasurer Catherine Bulgrin with some top-notch "coaching" as to how to cook the books in order to come away with a "clean audit". Nonetheless, this is bold proof that TAIB's allegations of misappropriation of ARRA Title I money for IB were CORRECT.
So where did approximately 75% of the money for IB fees and teacher training come from, if not from the ARRA Title I grant as you were told by Dr. Jones? Answer - The General Fund. The same General Fund Levy you were told would keep the district "limping along". The same Levy the SOS committee used every threat in the book to cut student opportunities to get you to vote Yes.
It is impossible to determine the exact dollar amount which flew out of the General Fund without Board approval based on this audit. TAIB will estimate it was at least $100,000. The ONLY reason Ms. Bulgrin suddenly became "conservative" at the end of 2011 was because TAIB and our fellow concerned citizens called SMF out on misappropriation of Title I grants in a Targeted Assistance schools.
2012 began with the swearing in of newly elected Board Trustees Rod Armstrong and Fred Bonnacci. Karen Powers was elected Board President and Karen Wright was elected Board Vice President. At the very first meeting on January 9th, Dr. Jones insisted on going "off script" with a recognition of the two incumbent Board Trustees who lost in the election. Mr. Armstrong, well within his rights, objected to the changed agenda. This is all documented in the video below, thanks to Stow parent Donny VanOss. Donny's videotaping itself becomes a "feature" of both the January 9th and "special" January 12th Board meetings in addition to earning an article in Stow Patch.
TAIB would like to give Dr. Jones & Co. a little advice. Although we are sure he is not the least bit interested in our opinion, Dr. Jones should be aware that people across the United States, regular readers of this website, are watching what is happening in Stow Munroe-Falls and your handling of IB. This isn't Candid Camera. The time has come to dispense with the drama and speak to truth. Elections have consequences. The public and the Board of Ed deserve straight answers, facts, precise accurate numbers and a clear determination as to the future status of IB in SMF.
That said, TAIB believes it is important to summarize the facts as we know them to date:
INDIAN TRAIL 1. SMF never conducted a proper feasibility study for Indian Trail. 2. Fees for the Consideration Phase ($4,000) and Application A ($9,500) for Indian Trail were paid without the Board of Education ever voting to: a. approve a 5 year funding plan for IB b. approve implementation of the program as required in the IBO application 3. Indian Trail has had a full time IB Coordinator on salary since 2010. ($98,000 including benefits) 4. With the final 4 Indian Trail teachers attending IB training at St. Edwards in March all of the staff will have completed Level I IB training, plus Karen Moore, Mr. Lacoste and Julie Miller 5. On April 1, 2012, SMF will need to submit an additional $9,500 for Application B. This commits the district to a site visit from IB for a cost of $3,500 (approx.) 6. According to Appendix 6 which was submitted by SMF with Application A, the budget for the period up until April 1, 2012, was $121,200
7. The amount of ARRA Title I money originally granted was $68,227.25. The Ohio State Auditor declared $7,029 in 2010, "unallowable" for IB staff development. The figures for 2011 are not yet known.
Using just these KNOWN NUMBERS which DO NOT INCLUDE the IB Coordinator's salary, SMF is - $60,001.75 for Indian Trail alone.
It should be noted that SMF underestimated the annual fee for Indian Trail post authorization as it has now risen to $7,450 and will continue to rise every year thereafter, as has been IB's past practice.
Things are getting VERY ugly in SMF. A second police report has been filed by another parent who felt threatened by SMF. Here is a comment from Facebook which eloquently summarizes the despair gripping the community:
The recent incident that occurred at EH was not only disgraceful but the respect for the teachers involved have been lost by many. Because of their actions, our schools and community have been further divided. Parents have and will always have the right to disagree with an issue, voice their concern, and at the same time...support our schools and teachers! A disagreement or different view does not indicate that one is angry, negative, non-supportive, detrimental to our district or any of the other words used to describe the parents that do not support IB. There are numerous reasons one could dislike and not support IB but I can't think of one reason to try and discredit, harass or intimidate a parent for that view. Can any of you? I've read comments where others have said this site has negative comments, wonder why? Ask yourself this...Do I know anyone that does not support IB in our schools? Now ask yourself.....Have I treated this person differently because they do not support IB in our schools?
TAIB has learned that the teachers involved in this incident were IB trained. If that doesn't make anyone question exactly what they are being "trained" to do by IBO, it should! We have learned that the parent did receive an apology from the district. That's a good start. The next step is to impose an IB Moratorium immediately and drop all references to this misguided effort.
Below are excerpts from a recently obtained Staff Memo issued by the Principal of Echo Hills. I wonder how many responsible, caring parents trying to raise responsible, caring children find the "tantalizing tidbit" tantalizing .... or alarming.
IB PYP Coordinator Salary & Job Description
When it comes to calculating the cost to run an IB program in a school, the salary of the IB Coordinator must be a factor for the simple reason that without IB, the position wouldn't exist. On the one hand, SMF's CFO, Katherine Bulgrin, is on record stating, "IB does not have its own budget" (1:55 mark -http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dfliZYQgtTU#! ) On the other hand, Superintendent Dr. Jones is on record claiming IB will cost, "15,000 to 16,000 a year to maintain."
A little basic critical thinking is in order. How can a Superintendent declare a specific $15-16,000 expenditure for a program which, according to his CFO, has no budget?
Without spending another dime on IB for teacher training, IB materials or IB conferences, TAIB can tell you that the absolute bare minimum SMF must budget for IB in ONE elementary school, based on its current IB Coordinator's salary, is $56,790. TAIB has arrived at this figure by halving Ms. Julie Miller's salary + benefits (for a .5 position) and adding $7,450 (2011) for the IB membership fee. If Echo Hills pursues IB as Dr. Jones proclaimed SMF will, then you can double that bare bones budget to $113,580.
By posting the public information regarding Ms. Miller's salary, TAIB hopes that no one will view this as a personal attack. It is not. We're sure Ms. Miller is a lovely person. However, she is a public employee who is in charge of heading up this controversial program in a district where parents are being given the royal run-around when it comes to having their budget inquiries addressed.
Perhaps Dr. Jones and his Board of Education Trustees missed the significance of the date of their most recent meeting. Fortunately, many parents and residents did not and took the opportunity to have their say regarding the direction of SMF schools. TAIB would like to congratulate each and every person who took the time out of their busy lives to attend this meeting. You cannot be ignored and we at TAIB will do everything we can to make sure that your voices are heard.
At the 9/12 meeting, Dr. Jones said the following:
"We are moving forward with the IB programme here at Echo Hills. It's going to be a little bit different than at Indian Trail. We have ARRA funds available so we can train a lot of folks all at once. After September 30th of this year, we don't have those dollars anymore. We are going to use Title I funds where appropriate, we can use them, also some Summit County Educational Service Funds. The figures of $200-300,000 floating around are not true, IB will cost $15-20,000 a year. There is a $7,500 annual fee and we will continue to train 4-5 teachers a year ... We owe it to our students."
Board President Pat Matthews was 100% correct when she said they have "unsuccessfully" answered the "same" questions over and over again. Shouldn't that give them pause? As an educational system, attempting to implement an alleged educational program, shouldn't the powers that be SUCCESSFULLY answer questions from the public?
Below is an official "cost projection" for ARRA funds used at Indian Trail for the school years 2009-2011. The grand total is $375,851. The Treasurer for SMF has gone on record as stating there "is no budget for IB". Really?
SMF IB Teacher Survey Results
September 9th, 2011 - Twenty-eight (28) surveys were mailed to SMF teachers requesting their opinion as to whether or not IB is a good fit for SMF schools. Today was the final reply date and a total of nine (9) completed surveys were received:
2 Yes, IB is a good fit 7 No, IB is not a good fit
A 32% return rate on a survey is excellent. The rule of thumb is to consider a 10 - 20% return rate common. Therefore, the rate of return on this particular survey far exceeds expected averages.
Based on no other evidence provided by SMF, it is safe to conclude that 71% of the SMF teachers OPPOSE IB. These surveys were administered anonymously and shall remain completely anonymous.
Are you an unemployed SMF "School Supporter"? Uncle Russ WANTS YOU .... to troll Internet websites!
Why is Dr. Jones Lying to the Public?
Here is the most recent Patch article reporting on the 8/30 IB meeting at Echo Hills:
I don't know who is more frustrated, the parents of Stow who contacted TAIB, or myself. District officials MUST be held accountable for this misapplication of Federal taxpayer money. What needs to be featured FRONT AND CENTER is the FACT that the Ohio Auditor determined that the Title I ARRA money SMF ALREADY USED was deemed UNALLOWABLE. The likelihood of any Title I money spent on IB either for Indian Trail or Echo Hills in 2011 also being deemed UNALLOWABLE - is EXTREMELY LIKELY!
Bottom line, SMF will have to repay the Feds for this grant money. How will SMF repay the Feds? Do you think IB is going to give SMF a refund? HAHAHAHAHA!
Anonymous Teacher Survey
August 25, 2011 - When it comes to schools, most parents believe that a happy teacher is a good teacher. They entrust their children for 182 days a year to a classroom teacher and parents believe their opinions should be valued, without fear of losing their jobs if they happen to disagree with a pet program the Principal or Superintendent is pushing.
According to a local source, the teachers at Echo Hills were polled and the result was 16 YES (in favor of IB) - 15 NO (opposed). Although no official documentation has been released, it is believed Dr. Jones told the teachers that a 2/3 majority was desired before moving ahead. Indian Trail teachers agreed to the IB training and implementation on the condition that they could end IB if they felt it wasn't a good fit. Last November, teachers attempted to end IB, to no avail. Of course, all of this is hearsay and cannot be proven.
A few concerned and caring Stow Moms used their own money to send out surveys to every teacher in Echo Hills and Indian Trail. Each letter contained a stamped addressed envelope to send back their reply. The requested return date is 9/7/11.
Rumor has it, administration thought this anonymous survey was "disgusting". Really? What is disgusting about letting people simply and clearly voice their professional opinion without fear of intimidation?
SMF teachers, if you haven't sent your survey back yet, please drop it in the mail today! Parents want to know what you think, even if your administrators don't.
Early arrivals demonstrates that no matter how few surveys are returned, the district does not have 100% of the teachers "on board". Although TAIB had posted a sample of a returned survey, we have pulled it down at a teacher's request due to fear of being identified by the handwriting.
THIS IS NOT WHAT PATCH REPORTED
Date:August 24, 2011 9:20:09 AM EDT Subject:Fwd: RE: Echo Hills Meeting on the 30th
We are hosting an informational meeting about the PYP program at Echo Hills for Echo Hills parents. If other people attend we certainly will not object, but the intent of the meeting is to share information about the program with the parents at Echo Hills. The notification of the meeting will be sent to Echo Hills parents by Mrs. Martucci.
Thin skinned Liberals hate criticism. And when they have the power of the "delete" button, they think nothing of censoring comments that point out their bias and inadequacy when it comes to journalism. Interestingly, when I challenged this Patch reporter, my previously deleted comment magically reappeared. Compare the current order of comments with the page shot below. Once Amanda restored my "offensive" comment, I self-deleted my "tsk tsk" comment.
I was hoping to see an article on last evening's Board meeting. Maybe that's still being worked on.
Truthaboutib SMF Viewers:
My name is Rhonda Custer.I am the unofficialtruthaboutib.comcontact for Stow-Munroe Falls.Many people have worked countless hours to research and request information to assist local citizens in understanding the concerns associated with International Baccalaureate.We hope that you are now familiar with the cost, lack of academic improvement, extreme ideology and indoctrination, and lack of both feasibility and sustainability of the IB PYP.ARRA and Title I grants will run out.Without additional funds, the IB PYP plan for Stow-Munroe Falls deteriorates!
As we continue to denounce IB implementation as unnecessary, ridiculously costly, and potentially detrimental, we are often subjected to the Delphi Technique:criticism, threats, and character assaults.Until now, I have chosen to simply ignore that which is so obviously ignorance or desperation.Now, though, I believe that there is a genuine threat to our cause.So, I have no choice but to defend the purpose for which we stand:IB Moratorium Now!
There is a movement to berate those that question IB as “negative, mean-spirited, and angry”.Furthermore, such “negativity” is allegedly risking passage of school levies and putting Stow-Munroe Falls’ property values in peril.Rest assured, we who question the worthiness of IB for SMFCSD do not look poorly upon our schools and neighborhoods.On the contrary, we support the excellence that is already in place and hope to preserve that which we love about our schools and our community.SMF is a beautiful, friendly slice of small town America.Our traditional family values are on parade every July Fourth.Our children are among the most successful learners in the state.We question not our schools; but our schools’ need for IB…and we find IB unfit!
We have communicated both information and our objections to IB to the SMF BOE & administration, and state and local government.Our mission now is only to convince others to do the same.Those with questions are encouraged to contact me via the link on the SMFtruthaboutib.comweb page.
My hope is that anyone who visitstruthaboutib.comwill join our cause- POSITIVE that our teachers can already supply all that their students require, POSITIVE that America is still exceptional, and POSITIVE that fiscal responsibility is always the right course.Life in Stow-Munroe Falls grants so many blessings.Protecting them is necessary, not “negative”!
Ohio State Prefers AP
August 20, 2011 - TAIB is pleased to present the following e-mail exchange between an Ohio parent and an admissions officer at Ohio State University. The inquiry was forwarded up the chain past one admissions officer who claimed no knowledge of IB until a definitive reply was received.
Sent: Friday, August 19, 2011 9:39 AM To: Finlay, Charles Subject: International Baccalaureate OSU:
Good moirning! Our daughter is starting HS. We are debating an issue: IB vs AP. Can you help us? How many credits do incoming Freshman generally earn through each of these Programmes? Thank you so much, Concerned Ohio Parent --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Jefferson BlackburnSmith <JBlackburn-Smith@esue.ohio-state.edu> Subject: FW: International Baccalaureate To: address withheld by request Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 3:55 PM Mrs. XXXXXXXX: Thank you for your question. Although I can't give you the exact amount of credit we award to each program, I can tell you that we do award significantly more credit for AP scores than for IB scores, especially for students coming from Ohio. The AP program is much more common within Ohio than IB programs are, but that is not true in every state. Many schools offer both, and it is not uncommon to see students enrolling that have earned credit through both programs. Either program is recognized as being more rigorous than college prep or honors courses, and that is taken into account in our application review process. Students can earn the same amount of credit through either program: up to one year of undergraduate credit can be earned through IB and or AP tests. AllOhio Statecredit is linked to how well students do on the actual AP test or IB higher level test. We do not give additional credit for IB diplomas. You can see what credit is available for your daughter to earn, and at what score on the attached pdf. This information is also available at:http://registrar.osu.edu/testing/index.asp Feel free to email me directly or call if you have additional questions.
Jefferson Jefferson R. Blackburn-Smith Sr. Associate Director Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience 110 Enarson Hall 154 W 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 614 email@example.com
"Trust me, I'm not laughing about IB." ~Pat Matthews, SMF BoE President
SMF Board Meeting, August 8, 2011
What the Heck is Going On?
On the morning of August 17th, the SMF BoE held a "Special Meeting" which was convened at 8:00 AM in the back room of Bellacino's, a local Italian restaurant. (begin soundtrack from The Godfather). SMF eeked in under the legal wire of 24 hour notice for announcing this meeting by placing it on its website at 4:26 PM on 8/15. But why at Bellacino's? Why wasn't this meeting held in the district's administration building which is paid for by the taxpayers?
TAIB has obtained a copy of the agenda for the Special Meeting. (see .pdf below). But according to Patch, the meeting was a gathering to discuss past and future 5 Year plans. Shouldn't an overview of an entire decade's worth of educational planning be something to which they invite the general public? What about the raging IB controversy?
One of our diligent concerned citizens e-mailed Board President Pat Matthews to inquire whether the Board had come to any sort of conclusion regarding the possibility of an IB meeting. The following is the response received:
--- On Wed, 8/17/11, Matthews, Pat <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > From: Matthews, Pat <email@example.com> > Subject: RE: Next BOE Meeting> > Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 1:55 PM > Dear Mrs XXXXXXXX > Yes, we are having a parent night at Echo to inform the > parents about IB. After the presentation, it will be > up to the teachers and parents if they wish to continue with > IB. I am extremely pleased with the program at Indian > Trail, and do hope the parents will see the benefits. > I only wish more parents would be able to observe this in > the classroom instead of just at a meeting. We have > answered many of your questions at our board meetings and > both Mrs. Moore and Dr. Jones are willing to meet with you > at your convenience. > Sincerely, > Pat Matthews
Elementary parents are busy and excited preparing their little ones for a brand new school year. According to the Echo Hills school calendar, the first day of school is August 24th. Why isn't the August 30th IB meeting on the calendar? And what of the Indian Trail parents and teachers? Don't they get a say? What about the rest of the parents and taxpayers? Don't they get a say?
August 22nd - 6:00 PM at the high school is the next official Board of Ed meeting. You MUST hold these public officials accountable!
August 9th, 2011 - As reported on the Stowidiocracy website, the SMF Board of Education reacted in typical Statist fashion to questions by concerned citizens regarding IB during public comment on August 8, 2011. "Thank you for your comment" and "meet with us privately" are unacceptable and it would appear that the only way residents can get a handle on what the district is planning to do is by monitoring its website for changes.
The Echo Hills' page makes no mention of IB as of today (see page shot below meeting notice). TAIB believes that this is evidence that IB will NOT be expanding to Echo Hills, however there is absolutely NOTHING in the Board of Education minutes one way or the other to indicate what is happening. Perhaps this is just a further cover-up by Dr. Jones and the teachers are still scheduled to go for IB training in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the end of September. The Indian Trail's page still exhibits all of the IB propaganda previously posted. Parents and taxpayers deserve answers about the future of their schools. Silence from the Board is not golden, it is an abdication of its oath of office.
AUGUST 22ND - 6:00 PM BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING AT HIGH SCHOOL IB MORATORIUM NOW!!!
New information as of 8/9/11
Tsk, Tsk, Tsk
August 5th, 2011 - As of January, 2011, the Stow-Munroe Falls school district had been officially put on notice that use of ARRA Title I grant money for International Baccalaureate was "unallowable". UNALLOWABLE. Based on the fact that the district press release promised local citizens that funds outside of the Stimulus and Title I grants would be unnecessary to fund IB, the Stow-Munroe Falls community should demand the immediate resignation of Superintendent Dr. Jones, Treasurer Catherine Bulgrin and the entire Board of Education for what appears to be either the deliberate and intentional misappropriation of Federal funds or an attempt to hoodwink the local taxpayers. After all, the district is in very dire financial straits. Like larger government, the SMFCSD should be seeking ways to cut spending. Instead, they seem to have hijacked portions of the ARRA & Title I funds to fund the superintendent's pet project. With the defeat of the $6.57M tax levy, it is clear SMF is incapable of sustaining a program it never had the money to implement in the first place. SMF IB has been a tragedy of errors from feasibility to finance to finish.
Congratulations to the concerned citizens who diligently "followed the money" and spent countless hours obtaining the documentation necessary to prove this crime beyond a shadow of a doubt.
--- OnWed, 8/3/11, Daniel J. Stuetzer<DJStuetzer@auditor.state.oh.us>wrote: From: Daniel J. Stuetzer Subject: Inquiry Submission #9659 Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2011, 2:10 PM
Dear XXX XXXXXXXXX,
I have been forwarded your inquiry regarding the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District (District). Specifically, you inquired whether there is an issue with how the District is spending their Title I grant. Our audit of the 2010 financial statements of the District reviewed the Title I grant as part of the District’s A-133 audit. As a result of our review, we identified the exact issue you note and we made a recommendation in the Management Letter provided to the District to have them carefully review each expenditure charged to the Title I grant to ensure it directly relates to providing the required targeted assistance.
Hopefully this resolves your concerns regarding Title I at the District.
Auditor ofState of Ohio
Akron/Canton Regional Office
$6.57M Tax Levy Defeated!
August 3, 2011 - By an almost 2 to 1 margin, Stow-Munroe Falls residents voted down the district's proposed tax levy yesterday.
Issue 2 - Stow-Munroe Falls CSD Proposed Tax Levy, Emr. Req., Addnl., 6.57 Mills, 10 Yrs Vote for Not More Than 1 (WITH 39 OF 39 PRECINCTS COUNTED) AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 4,041 60.66% FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . ... 2,621 39.34%
July 31, 2011 - On August 2nd, our country will know whether or not we face default and whether or not Stow-Munroe Falls school district is able to pass a $6.57M tax levy. The Progressives who have spent and borrowed with all of the self-control of a Jonesing (pun intended) addict, have finally run out of rope.
When pressured to communicate SMF's "vision" of IB in its schools, Superintendent Dr. Jones hastily released an announcement on the district's website which has since been pulled. Vital to the issue at hand is the following paragraph:
Below, please find the proof from the Ohio State Auditor's office that Stow-Munroe Falls received and spent those funds:
As TAIB has demonstrated below, Indian Trail and Echo Hills are Title I schools, however, they are not eligible for Title I schoolwide assistance programs. But the possibility existed that SMF had filed for a waiver in order to use Title I funds for professional development for a schoolwide program such as IB and as Dr. Jones stated above, the district was rushing to spend the money on IB training before it "lost it". A concerned parent filed the following request:
I am requesting the following documentation for all elementary schools in the Stow Munroe Falls District. "Schoolwide Plan Based on Needs Assessment"
"A comprehensive plan must be developed over a one-year period based upon an extensive needs assessment. The one-year time period may be shortened only if the school district determines, after consideration of the technical assistance availability, that less than one year is needed to have a Schoolwide plan developed and ready for implementation".
per: http://dpi.wi.gov/titleone/t1guide/t1guide_17a.pdf I will be needing this on or before the 28th of July 2011. and only one copy of each page is enough. I will not need more than one copy of each page. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.
And then we have this reply to another concerned parent from the Ohio Department of Education: > From: Hetata, Rasha <Rasha.Hetata@ode.state.oh.us> > Subject: RE: Another Question > To:> Concerned Parent Cc: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "Moore, Karen" <firstname.lastname@example.org> > Date: Monday, July 25, 2011, 9:40 AM > Ms. XXXXXXX- Teacher professional > development is an allowable expense for Title I. In a > Targeted Assistance setting, It could be ONLY used for Title > I teachers or teachers who have Title I students in their > classroom. In fact, one of the main components of a targeted > assistance program is providing professional > development opportunities for administrators, teachers, and > other school staff who work with participating children. > > One of the primary differences between schoolwide program > schools and targeted assistance schools is the requirement > that the latter may use Title I, Part A funds only for > programs that provide services to eligible children > identified as having the greatest need for special > assistance. Targeted assistance schools, therefore, may not > provide services to all children in the school or in > particular grades. > > Sincerely, > > Rasha Hetata > Educational Consultant > Office of Federal Programs >OhioDepartment of Education >25 South Front Street, MS 404 > Columbus, Ohio 43215-4183 >877-644-6338- toll free >614-466-4161- office >614-752-1469- direct >614-752-1622- fax So where do the parents and taxpayers go from here? The Federal money has already been spent on IB teacher training in a manner for which the district was clearly not authorized - to implement a schoolwide program. The district is not able to get the money back from IBO. If forced to repay the Feds, who will the district get the money from? Should those responsible for allocating this money improperly be held personally responsible? Surely the local taxpayers should not be forced to pay for this gross misallocation of funds!
The demand from the public should be clear - an immediate halt to the implementation of IB in SMF schools. There is no point in throwing good money after bad. If this is the way a district sets out implementing a program, how can the outcome be anything but a full fledged disaster?
From: Cromer, Nola Subject: Schoolwide Programs To: concerned citizen Date: Thursday, July 21, 2011, 3:25 PM
In general, a Title I school may operate as a schoolwide program only if a minimum of 40 percent of the students in the school, or residing in the attendance area served by the school, are from low-income families.[Section 1114(a)(i) of Title I of ESEA].School districts may request a waiver for schools whose poverty level is below 40 percent to operate schoolwide programs.
The Secretary of Education has invited requests for waivers to enable schools that receive School Improvement Funds to operate a schoolwide program so that it can implement a school intervention model.
Title I Private School Specialist
Student Achievement and School Accountability
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
SUMMARY OF PUBLIC IB-SMF INQUIRY TO DATE - 07/20/11
On behalf of some concerned citizens of the community of Stow-Munroe Falls, TAIB would like to take this opportunity to publicly record events which have transpired to date:
1. District publishes Press Release regarding "Esteemed International Baccalaureate Program to Expand to Echo Hills" on 07/13/2011 2. Press Release cites Dr. Jones' "frugality" with ARRA Title I money which he had to "use it or lose it" - hence the decision to make not only Indian Trail IB, but also Echo Hills. 3. The district cannot provide ANY documentation relating to an IB Feasibility Study for Indian Trail (as referred to in the Press Release and required by IBO) when requested via FOIL. (e-mail confirmation on file) 4. Inquiry made by concerned citizen to Ohio Department of Education regarding appropriate usage of ARRA Title I funds. 07/20/11 - early PM. SMF schools are not 40% FRL, the requirement for applying Title I funds to implementation of "schoolwide" programs. 5. Ohio DoE tells concerned citizen that district officials had already been asked about these funds and IB, and the DoE was told by district officials that IB was being funded out of the General Fund. DoE also tells concerned citizen that no waiver had been filed by the district which would have allowed it to use the funds for professional development. 6.07/20/11 - 4:51 PM - SMF district completely redacts entire Press Release and re-names blank page: "IB Program Expands to Echo".
Questions What conclusions must we draw? Is the redaction of the Press Release an admission of guilt on the part of the district? Will Dr. Jones attempt to defend what appears to be the misappropriation and inappropriate distribution of Federal Title I ARRA funds for IB? If what has transpired was perfectly legal, why did the district wipe the Press Release? Is this a serious enough abuse of power and the public trust to demand the resignation of all district officials involved?
Whatever the answers to these questions turn out to be, this dark cloud over the entire IB application process demands that it must be halted immediately with not another cent being spent on IB until these questions are answered to everyone's satisfaction. For historical accuracy, TAIB has preserved the Press Release in question below.
SMF website as it appears as of 07/20/11 5:00 PM
SMF webpage as it appeared at Noon on 07/20/11
What Does Jeffrey Beard REALLY Do?
July 14, 2011 - This simply can't pass TAIB's notice without comment. Dr. Jones' "selective" presentation of information is quite disturbing. This is exactly what IB will do to your children - present just the facts that IB wants them to know. Of particular note is when Jones provides the highlights of IBO's Director General Jeffrey Beard's career.
Jeffrey R. Beard, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, is the current director of IB. Beard holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in analytical management and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin. His business career has included roles of increasing responsibility in several multinational corporations where he developed cross-functional management experience and understanding of strategic planning, thinking and delivery. Beard has served as chairman of the United Way Campaign as well as president and member of the West Des Moines school board in Iowa. He currently serves on the board of Life’s Building Blocks, a small start-up that helps parents teach children how to make good life decisions using interactive products that promote adult/child interaction.
But a major part of Jeffrey's career is missing from the bio provided by Dr. Jones. Now why do you think that is? Hmmm .....
It would appear that Jeffrey Beard is STILL listed as a COO for Syngenta Seeds, Inc, a subsidiary of Syngenta, AG. Even Wikipedia states that "most recently" he worked as COO for Syngenta AG, a Swiss agribusiness. My, Jeffrey sure is busy! What exactly does Syngenta do?
July 13, 2011 - It looks like Dr. Jones is in full damage control/sales pitch mode. This update to the Stow-Munroe Falls website regarding IB implementation at Echo Hills Elementary is extremely telling. TAIB is not offering legal advice, as we are not attorneys. But we are capable of reading basic numbers and regulations and something stinks in the State of Ohio.
"Federal Stimulus dollars, commonly known as ARRA funds, provided the required funding for the IB program implementation at Indian Trail. Because the District has managed the IB funds very frugally, program funds are also available for the program at Echo Hills. Indian Trail has the highest number of free and reduced lunches in the District, and Echo Hills has the second highest number of free and reduced lunches. This ensures continued federal funding support for the program and will not be a burden on local taxpayers.
“The ARRA funds were awarded by the federal government, and a designated amount of money had to be spent in various areas like professional development,” said Dr. Russell Jones, superintendent. “We were able to designate those dollars and still have a surplus. Those surplus funds are known as ‘use it or lose it’ and we were able to use that additional funding and incorporate it into the IB program. Because Indian Trail and Echo Hills are Title 1 schools, the District will continue to receive Title 1 dollars which will ensure future funding of the program. IB has allowed us to add another level of 21st century learning to the curriculum for students and also incorporate additional professional development for our staff.”
Truth? Or fiction? Dr. Jones' "guarantee" that IB won't cost the taxpayers anything in the future is based on the false assumption that there will be an endless flow of Title I money available. Really? Did Congress pass another stimulus bill like the $856 Billion 2009 ARRA that escaped our attention? TAIB did come across pending legislation which could provide "cover". But from what we can see, there is absolutely no guarantee of a future Title I "windfall" considering the current economic crisis in our country. Therefore, once IB is in place, it WILL become incumbent on the local taxpayers to pick up the onerous IB fees.
LEAs target the Title I funds they receive to schools with the highest percentages of children from low-income families. Unless a participating school is operating a schoolwide program, the school must focus Title I services on children who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet state academic standards. Schools in which poor children make up at least 40 percent of enrollment are eligible to use Title I funds for schoolwide programs that serve all children in the school.
We hope we don't have to get into the definition of "is" operating. The IB PYP is a SCHOOLWIDE PROGRAM. It is not in "operation". Not a single school in the Stow-Munroe Falls district nears the 40% requirement under Title I to be eligible to use Federal money for schoolwide programs.
Now, for our second point of contention with the "financial" forecast provided by Dr. Jones. As highlighted in yellow, Dr. Jones claims that Indian Trail and Echo Hills "have the highest number of free and reduced lunches". But if you look at the Title I chart on this page (below), you will see that Lakeview Elementary actually has 156 FRL students, while Indian Trail has 76 and Echo Hills 85. This would appear to be either an extreme oversight by Dr. Jones or else a gross misrepresentation. What Dr. Jones meant to say was "percentage". Also, Lakeview is only for grades 5-6, so expect an MYP proposal coming down the pike soon! Even looking at the Title I percentages, you will see that Riverview Elementary is only 0.02% less FRL than Echo Hills at 22.08%.
That Title I money is supposed to be used for Targeted Assistance (TA) for low income/low achieving children.Instead, it would appear that the money is being used to pay Swiss educrats for an unproven, ideological values molding program for the UN which is being foisted on ALL of the children in these two elementary schools.
Grassroots IB Opposition in Stow-Munroe Falls
Please feel free to log in and add your support to this site:
June 27, 2011 - Today TAIB was contacted by several concerned parents from a small suburban school district in Ohio. Let's start with the district's website to discover the root of the IB controversy in Stow-Munroe Falls. Do a search for IB or International Baccalaureate. What do you find? Nothing. A big fat 0 results. Considering the district made application to IBO in April 2010 for two of its six elementary schools and has already trained many of its teachers, why is it so difficult to locate ANY information about IB? However, if you happen to pull up the Indian Trail Elementary School and scroll down, you will find a happy earth with happy children holding hands and the warning that: " Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted." While TAIB supposes that is true, in seven years of research we have never encountered a U.S. school which was denied IB authorization - as long as the checks were good. Could the reason for the district's lack of transparency regarding IB implementation be in any way connected to the impending tax levy vote in August?
It is important to note that the parents who contacted TAIB were active volunteers in their childrens' school. Only because they were helping in the classroom did they become aware of the IB teacher training and stealth implementation of IB. They started asking questions. They were accused of "interrogating" the teachers. Attempts at communication with Principal Susan Martucci of Echo Hills Elementary were frustrating. Unfortunately for Principal Martucci, the following staff bulletin was obtained:
Most important, however, is making sure the parents don't know anything about IB until it is months away from being authorized and the indoctrination lessons have been fully pre-implemented. It is important to note that the deadline for requesting a transfer to one of the four non-IB elementary schools in the district was June 1st.
Complete Memo with teacher names redacted
"The plunge is in the future." ~ Principal Martucci
"Fan the flames" "on board" "transfer" "saboteurs". This sounds strangely reminiscent of the threats issued by Rick Borba in Incline Village, Nevada.
Let's take a look at those LTE's by those horrible disgruntled parents published in the Stow Sentry. The first letter appeared in September of 2010, but the rest are from May and June, 2011, including a short "news" item by the paper:
As TAIB has pointed out elsewhere, the 2009 stimulus bill, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or (ARRA) contained over $10 Billion for Title I schools which implement "innovative programs". According to TAIB's source, the Stow-Munroe Falls district received $300,000 of those funds and is racing to spend it all on IB application fees and teacher training by this Thursday when the funding expires. **see below for ACTUAL grants awarded to the district** All of this without a single parent meeting on IB or any records that TAIB could find in Board minutes regarding approval of expenditure of these funds on IB.
Furthermore, major cuts have been made in the district to the arts, busing and teacher layoffs. Most unbelievable is the fact that the district trained seven (7) teachers in IB who were slated for retirement, transfer or layoff. Our source pulled the purchase orders for the IB teacher training in Florida which averaged approximately $2,200 per teacher! Why would a Superintendent waste an estimated $22,000 on teachers who won't be around to use their "life changing" IB training in the schools?
Who gets stuck with the IB bill when the Federal money runs out? That's right, the local taxpayers.
Title I Building eligibility
The IB Change Agent
Russell D. Jones, EdD, was hired by the Stow-Munroe Falls district in 2006. You can read his official bio HERE. Although his bio states that he was named Principal of the Year in 2005 at Aurora High School, it fails to mention the fact that Aurora became an IB World School in 2002. A snapshot of Aurora high school via the Ohio School Report Card reveals that in 2009-2010, Aurora boasts rather excellent student results, however, the website does not allow us to go back in time to see if these results are better or worse than they were pre-2005. In fact, while looking at the Aurora HS website which makes no mention of it being an IB World School, TAIB came across an interesting document regarding the sharing of cost between the district and parents for AP/IB exams. Considering a single IB exam costs $237, it seems to us that the taxpayers are bearing almost 90% of the expense. This page shows the incredibly weak IB academic offerings at Aurora which include a single IB SL Math course which is administered over two years.
Dr. Jones made the leap from HS Principal to Superintendent in a district that was hit hard by the recession that began in 2008. Rather than try and implement the IB Diploma Programme in Stow-Munroe Falls, he waited until he was able to make a grab for the Obama social justice money (ARRA) which would allow him to attach the IB label to his resume' as Superintendent under the guise of "free money".
OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Good Afternoon, Everyone! Please consider this an open letter to all of you & to the Stow-Munroe Falls community.For the past several weeks, I have been attempting to both give and get information regarding International Baccalaureate and the BOE's motives and plans for bringing and sustaining the 'Programme'.Save one personal email from BOE President Pat Matthews, the administration has been unresponsive.As a citizen of the district, I feel that I have a right to question and receive respectful communication from those elected to represent me.I ask again, therefore, for a response to my questions and concerns.In light of the sensitivity of the subject, I understand that some of you may be unclear as how best to answer me. From the bottom of my heart, I wish to express that I am not at odds with or attempting to belittle any of you in any way.I simply wish to impress upon all of you my grave reservations regarding IB.I implore you to engage in informed dialogue with your constituents.As ever, I make these remarks with nothing but respect for your service and positions. For nearly a decade, I have worked exhaustively on behalf of SMF schools. I know that my reputation for hard work and candor, regardless of my politics or faith, proceed me.In and out of PTA, you have all experienced my willingness to contribute.I have been your ally in our common cause: educating & protecting our children.You all know me to be a person of TRUTH and principles.I believe that I have always treated you, the children you pledged to support and defend, and the adults I have encountered in Stow Schools with dignity. This morning, however, I have been alerted that a key coordinator for Voices For Kids (a non-profit, non-political entity) whose name I will be kind enough to withhold, has allegedly called those that oppose IB for Stow-Munroe Falls something along the lines of 'Tea Party lunatics' and sworn her service in discrediting our convictions.In conversation about IB, another parent intimated to me (and will swear) that Dr. Jone's himself referred to us as "lunatics" after the last BOE meeting.Initially, this offended me greatly.After some contemplation, however, I recognized this attack as the "Delphi effect" in action. Grant me, therefore, that these alleged statements have just personified the very attitude that I have been warning you against: there is no room for those with my beliefs and values inside an IB school!I tell you that I find the proposed change to the mission statement, with the mention of global (read: ONE World) citizenship and the elimination of "parent & community" reference, both discriminatory and ostracizing- especially in light of the infamous staff bulletin regarding "disgruntled" parent volunteer reviews.I am not "disgruntled", not angry...just convicted. I do not know the VFK coordinator...have never met her.I appreciate her passion for the cause and am glad that she is conscientious and involved.I wish her much luck and give her all due respect.In the words of International Baccalaureate, though, I would like to remind the lady in question, Dr. Jones and all of you, that "two people of different backgrounds can hold opposite beliefs and both be right".Thus, I guess that those who oppose IB would be correct---not crazy!Unless, of course, this rule does not apply to Conservatives... Familiarizing myself with IB has become a full time occupation.As you know, I am late to the game, but a quick study.I began researching IB after a conversation with your own Karen Wright.She had asked me what I knew of the product.At the time, I had to admit "very little".I had scant knowledge and, thus, no opinion.After exhaustive study, I can now say that the IB, though admittedly benevolent and enriching on the surface, is a veiled affront to any that espouse patriotism, family values or Judeo-Christian faith.That the entire concept is based on Western-HUMANIST principles that warrant an Eastern revision (from my research at IBO.org) should alert, not just Tea Party members; but anyone who acknowledges our inalienable right to choose (if we are so inclined) God & Country.I realize that we are discussing a public school system, which must support freedom of religion.I recognize each citizen’s right to practice any, or no, faith without prejudice.But, the IB principles ARE prejudiced- founded upon a theory that discredits faith and considers Western parents unable to educate their own children.Therein lies my largest objection.No curriculum and no amount of ARRA money, no matter how astronomical, can ever compensate for undermining faith, freedom, or family. Mark me, I do not deny the appeal of the International Baccalaureate, especially for Progressives. I cannot deny that there are valid talking points on both sides.Nor would I dare call those who favor the product "lunatics".Rather, I would caution that you must not buy into a package that, flawed by design, will fail to minister to every child.In a public school system, ALL students must be nurtured.In my opinion, the IB's anti-religious sentiments make that impossible.There are true curriculums that foster forward-thought without requiring schools to promote prescribed values.Was there any discussion about other packages for purchase, for example CORE KNOWLEDGE? You have all read my concrete objections: feasibility, sustainability, cost, labor intensity, philosophy, origins, inequality, redundancy (AP), delocalization of administration & tax-payer funds, lack of community input...My question is WHY?Without IB, HAVE OUR EDUCATORS BEEN GETTING SOMETHING WRONG?At Levy time, we will be reminded that Stow-Munroe Falls Schools are "Excellent with Distinction".Several years ago, our system was seriously scrutinized and found effective at promoting diversity.Our children make philanthropic contributions at every level:K-kids, Student Council, PTSA, Scouts.Our teachers promote good stewardship over the earth's resources and Mayor Fritschel has signed the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.What shortcoming is this pricey and controversial product addressing that off sets the risks?If Dr. Jones is correct-if the VFK coordinator is correct-if the IB is correct-the Swiss will merely reinforce that which already is in place in SMF schools.If I and the others like me are correct- Our district will dump a few million dollars worth of 'Stimulus money' into two schools to indoctrinate young minds while the remaining seven institutions struggle...and the IB will have essentially fractured our community.That said, even I am now hoping that I'm simply crazy as a hatter! What no one seems to be hearing is precisely what the coordinator's and the doctor's alleged comments prove:the IB is polarizing us.Political leanings are so very heated and divisive right now.Occasionally, the reaction that I (and others) have received for our skepticism has been very unpleasant.To hear that such treatment may be coming from the top is disappointing and disheartening.I fear that purchasing this product for only a portion of the district splits our collective concerns and creates natural division, acerbating and enflaming the effects of an already heated debate. If the elected BOE genuinely sees a curricular void at the elementary level, it must address that need at EVERY school.To utilize our resources to fund only two of the nine institutions is the antithesis of what the International Baccalaureate preaches: equitable redistribution of resources.I truly feel that this purchase has and will continue to squander valuable funds to impart abstract ideals that, frankly, our teachers are already capable of addressing.PYP?Really?For five-year-olds?(The elementary music time was cut for 2011-12 because the little ones couldn't take a full hour of Froggy in The Pond!)They have barely tackled potty training, but they are ready for a "global perspective"?Nope!The truth is that Echo & Indian are just the beginning.These are the "feeder schools", as IB calls them.The organization's sales plan is to follow these sweet-faced, dry-bottomed, tone-deaf ambassadors to the universe through Lakeview, Kimpton, and SMF High.And how will we fund that?! Lunacy?If so, I am not alone in my insanity.I have personally researched every statement that I have put before this board.I am into my third week of 8 AM to 12:30AM research.Can any of you claim the same?Ask yourselves, please, why XXXXX XXXXXX would suddenly jump ship to turn up at board meetings and sit amongst the same people she defended you against last year!I have no choice!Regardless of the risk to our reputation & of the threat against XXXX's future at Stow High, I must implore you to look thoroughly at what you are implementing.Call me whatever gets you through the day- as long as you open your eyes, minds, and mouths!I do not doubt that each of you has our best interest at heart.Failure to engage this community with thorough discourse and disclosure is a breech of ethics beneath every one of you.The truth is that you & I are NOT different.I am simply more passionate and provoked right now.I know that you are people of faith and patriotism...if I am crazy...are you not too?Naturally, I do not expect you to allow your personal feelings to cloud your clarity of thought.But, I also ask you to stop sitting numb and mum about your own misgivings.A lot of money has been spent.Stow is deeply invested, but, at least for now, you are still not bound by anything but your integrity. I do have one more question for all of you:how am I to entrust my daughter to a school system that blacklists parent volunteers and labels concerned parents with honest questions as "lunatics".If you answer nothing else for me, please favor me with a response to THAT! So very many thanks :) Of sound mind & sounder principles; Respectfully, Concerned Ohio Mom
What Can You Do?
First, write or call your local Board of Education Trustees and express your concerns: