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Group Backing D303 Lawsuit Considers Options After Hearing in Federal Court

Citizens seeking halt to school merger plan expected to revise complaint.

A citizens’ group trying to legally halt District 303's school merger plan is considering its next step after a Thursday hearing in federal court.

The group, represented by attorney Michael Lotus, originally filed a two weeks ago arguing that D303 tried to circumvent rules governing schools, including academic progress standards, when the school board approved a plan to combine .

District 303, which has denied the allegations, moved the case to federal court on the grounds the group is arguing violations of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"I don't think we particularly agree to that," Lotus said, noting the group's complaint is based on state laws.

The group is expected to revise its original complaint in the next two weeks, a move likely to guide the venue issue. Another hearing is scheduled for May 5.

"Either way, we're going to push forward," Lotus said of the case.

An attorney for District 303 said he expected a statement to be released late Thursday or early Friday.

Filed March 31, the local lawsuit sought to block the school merger because, among other things, it was being done—without a scientific basis—to boost test scores without addressing the needs of struggling students, according to court records.

The group also contends the district didn’t properly publicize information on the merger plan, partly because of the April 5 school board elections, the lawsuit states.

Ed April 16, 2011 at 03:20 AM
B, I am a teacher. As such, I can tell you that technology in the classroom is great for a little whiz-bang, but as a tool, it often becomes a distraction. It also often supplants the very thought processes it is intended to enhance. Consider calculators, which were the great technological time saver and teaching tool years ago. A kid can punch in "4 x 7 =" and up pops "28". The answer is correct, but the conceptual thought behind it is lacking. The concept that this is four groups of seven things is lost, because the answer can be achieved too easily. I teach high school science. My ability to do minor mathematical calculations in my head amazes most of my students, which in turn saddens me because they have reached high school age and do not have second-nature mathematical thought processes. Instead they have a quick-fix mentality and a short attention span for those concepts which do not hold their interest. Unfortunately, not all concepts in all subjects are fascinating to every kid. I try to pique the interest of the students with ideas that may have ancillary ties to the subject at hand, and have seen first hand the distracting influence of modern technology. I showed a short video from the internet on a species of bird to demonstrate genetic diversity. As I began to discuss the academically necessary aspects of the topic, I saw that several students were so interested in this bird that they were looking it up on the inernet via cell phones.
Ed April 16, 2011 at 03:27 AM
This is great, except for the fact that they were now more interested in utilizing a technology over which I had little control, to do something that was keeping them from the necessary task at hand. Reigning that in now becomes an added burden, since AYP is not going to be dependent only on their knowledge of things they find interesting or entertaining. Many teachers prefer measured use of technology because of its distracting influence.
Ed April 18, 2011 at 06:34 PM
Language being a barrier to performance on tests, it is a relevant topic for the discussion of NCLB and AYP. I have seen in this thread, and in others, reference to language as necessarily tied to race. It is not. Language barriers occur as a result of poor academic preparation, learning disabilities, deaf and/or nonverbal status, as well as being born in a country that speaks a different language (the only portion of the language barrier debate with even a tangential relationship to race). Varying dialects of the same language can even be a factor, albeit minor, for a language barrier on a test. There are varying degrees to which this will affect resource allocation, as well as AYP achievement. Consider a nonverbal and/or deaf person. When you picture that person, you cannot assign a race, and you don't need to. It is irrelevant. The same applies to the Davis and Richmond students - race is irrelevant. What will matter is resource allocation. Resources will need to be allocated to attend to the various problems associated with students involved in this merger, whether those problems are related to language, academic abilities, low-income status, etc. I do not believe the district has adequately attended to those issues. Both schools have students who fare well academically, but probably or different reasons. I would say that the primary reasons are: Davis-a smaller low-income population. Richmond- smaller class sizes. Neither of these will be in place after the merger.
Karl Brubaker April 19, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Here is a very simple question. Will the children from Richmond, who were really making progress, be in larger or smaller classes now?
Ed April 19, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Unfortnately, neither situation - small percentage of low-income subgroup and small class sizes - will exist in the new setting. I have seen posts by parents indicating how well their kids were doing at Richmond, while at the sametime arguing that class sizes don't matter. There is an unfortunate lack of experience with regard to having both a large class size and a high percentage of low-income students. We have some absolutely fantastic teachers in the district, able to work with either situation. But putting the two situations in place amplifies them geometrically. It takes more than a lot of luck for success in such a situation, and I think it asks more of the teachers than they may be equipped to handle.

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