Blogging Forgottonia

Musings from the hinterlands

Archive for January 2011

M-R238 Strategic Plan: Is Wheaton-Warrenville an Appropriate Comparison?

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On Tuesday, January 25, Monmouth-Roseville District 238 held a public meeting to ask for community involvement in developing a strategic plan for the district.  Superintendent Woehlke discussed how district finances are still very tight, and academic achievement in the district has hovered just above or just below the state average for the last five years.  As a part of this meeting, Margo Sorrick, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services at Wheaton-Warrenville District 200, gave a presentation on how her district has consistently maintained high and yet steadily improving levels of academic achievement.

While I think we can always learn from the experiences of others – both successes and failures – I’m not sure how applicable Wheaton-Warrenville’s situation is to M-R238.  Comparing the districts on the Illinois Interactive Report Card, there are a few notable similarities, but also numerous glaring differences between the districts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Matthew

January 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

Update on Roseville Christian School

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Michelle Nutting @ the Warren County Newswire has posted a good piece on the new Roseville Christian School.

I was rather critical of the idea of a private school opening up in Roseville when the idea first floated.  The anger underlying the criticism in that post stems from my belief that private schools take away from public education.  The passion in that anger stems from my belief that quality public education is essential to the success and well-being of our country.

My anger has cooled with time and the knowledge that there have not been major shifts in local school enrollment.  I was correct in my assumption that the initial interest in the new school was largely fueled by the anger over District 238 closing Roseville Elementary.  While over a hundred residents showed up for the initial informational meetings, only three students were enrolled when the school first opened (per the WCN post linked above, enrollment is now up to four).  I’m sure that the reality of paying thousands of dollars in tuition annually made a lot of Roseville residents realize that the 14 mile bus ride to Monmouth isn’t so bad.  Some students at United & other nearby rural school districts spend 2-3 hours on the bus every school day!

I also know that for one Roseville Christian student, the small class size & personalized educational environment has been a true blessing.  For that student’s sake, I hope this educational experiment succeeds.  However, I wonder how it can possibly be sustainable with so few students.  We’ll just have to see what the future brings for Roseville Christian School.

Written by Matthew

January 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

Moment of Silence Returns

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Like a zombie that just won’t quit, the moment of silence is back in our public schools.  The waste of time, money & ink on this issue appalls me.  How is 15 seconds of silence going to further the education of our children?  Do conservatives really think that this will bring the children of Illinois closer to God?  Do the people who came up with this collective kumbaya think that it will somehow solve all the problems of our broken education system?

UGH.

Written by Matthew

January 21, 2011 at 7:36 am

Review Atlas Building For Sale

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The home of the Review Atlas at 400 S. Main Street is for sale.  I searched the paper’s website, but I found no mention of the sale or their plans for the future.

Written by Matthew

January 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Local News, Monmouth

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Local Autism Article Attracts Attention of Anti-Vaccine Movement

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Ryan Neal at the Review Atlas has produced an excellent series of articles (#1, #2, #3, #4) on autism and how local families and school districts are struggling to deal with the consequences of this challenging neurodevelopmental disorder.  I encourage everyone to check out the articles, and I salute Mr. Neal for some excellent reporting.

The second article in the series has drawn the ire of the houngans of anti-vaccine voodoo at Age of Autism.  Anne Dachel, the media editor for Age of Autism, saw fit to personally respond to the article.  Her commentary is filled with ad hominem venom directed at Mr. Neal, the CDC, and medical researchers who had the temerity to provide evidence against their doctrine of faith that vaccines are the root of all autism.

I’m not going to fight the willful ignorance of the anti-vaccine movement here.  Others have done so quite well before me.  As a primary care pediatrician who has vaccinated thousands of children, I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this matter.  The truth is that the preponderance of medical and scientific evidence discounts any link between vaccines and autism.  I have fully immunized my own five children according to the ACIP / CDC / AAP recommendations, and I strongly endorse that vaccine schedule.  I have never received funds from any vaccine developer, and I, like most pediatricians in practice, do not receive any additional compensation based on my vaccination rate.  Many pediatricians LOSE money by providing vaccines, but continue to do so because they know it’s the right thing to do.  Bottom line: vaccines save lives – not hundreds, not thousands, but MILLIONS of lives.

If you want to help children with autism, support organizations like the Autism Science Foundation.  They will not needlessly throw money at a question that has already been answered over and over again.  They seek to find REAL answers for the parents of children with autism and adults living with autism, and they deserve your support.

Addendum (1/4/2011): The Review Atlas has now posted a 5th article in the series.  Again, excellent!  It points out that we already have a tool – Applied Behavioral Analysis – that when applied early and intensely can make all the difference in the world for those with autism.

Written by Matthew

January 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm