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  1. I would like to address a minor point Mrs. Neubauer makes about Ms. Holland’s level of experience from an insider’s point of view. First of all, moving laterally for a principal job is almost unheard of in secondary education. I’ve been in high schools for 25 years, my ex-husband for 28 years and we only know two principals who did that. You may find a principal for LFHS from the current crop of principals regionally or nationally but the good ones tend to stay where they are at until they get the job that moves them up. Further, the reality now in school leadership is that very few have what those in the corporate world would call “experience” in the classroom. The fact that Ms. Holland is, according to Mrs. Neubauer, 13 years from student teaching is about the norm for principal candidates these days. LFHS’s biggest problem going forward will finding anyone qualified AND experienced who wants the job after the ruckus over Ms. Holland, assuming her name is ultimately withdrawn by either party. Good educational leaders are hard to come by these days and they are savvy enough to know where they can maximize their monetary reward while minimizing the unsavory aspects of the job. The dirty little secret is that GOOD educational leaders don’t want to work in communities like Lake Forest where their every decision will be placed under a microscope, dissected and critiqued. It’s great to have community involvement and educational leaders have to be held accountable but there’s a way to do that collaboratively and a way to do it divisively. I have no opinion about Ms. Holland’s candidacy for LFHS but I wish the community luck in finding good candidates if you need to reopen the process. You’re going to need it after this.

    • Lisa,
      I, too, have no dog in this race. However, I lived in LF for 23 years and 2 of 3 of children attended LF schools. Your comment has not been replied to because, my gosh, what would you know? After all, you are not a Lake Forester. By golly, why wouldn’t everyone want to live in LF? This “lynching” of DOCTOR Holland is revolting. I do wish we were hearing from the many kind and wonderful people in Lake Forest. Instead, this forum has been dominated by a lot of ugliness.
      Thank you, Lisa, for stating the obvious.

      • Shirley,
        That wasn’t “respectful, objective, or meaningful dialogue” now was it? Why don’t you address the legitimate concerns of the community?

        She holds radical views that are not in line with the values of the community (or decent society for that matter), her primary goals and accomplishments involve ending programs we want to keep, and her experience is slim. She has scrubbed her online history to hide her radical views from us, which is a direct violation of our policy of picking someone who values transparency.

        Those are the issues. They are real, and they matter a LOT. Try to take Chris’s advice and stay on topic in a civil respectful manner. Voicing outrage and throwing inflammatory insults is easy. Dealing with tough issues in a civil manner is hard. Give it a shot.

      • What has been lynched, Shirley, is the truth. The “ugliness” is the lie. If you want a leader at LFHS who models personal integrity for the students and leads by example (regardless of her views on Critical Race Theory), she is not your gal. The fact that you and many others want to make this into a “race” thing when it’s an integrity thing first and foremost and only secondarily an attack on her wacky notions of “white privilege and internalized racism” (which I’m surprised you don’t seem to take offense at) is evidence of intellectual dishonesty.

    • Lisa,
      I’m surprised that after so many years of experience, you only know two people who have ever moved from one principal position to another. I’m not even in the academic field and I can name 4 examples off the top of my head, all within the last 6 years, and all within just two communities – Lake Forest HS Principal Barry Rodgers was Principal of NorthSide Prep (the #1 ranked HS in the state of Il), Margaret St. Claire, the current Principal of LB Elementary School, her predecessor Shelley Overman, and the candidate who also interviewed for the position, all Principals of other schools before coming to LF/LB. So it doesn’t seem to be uncommon at all. It also seems to me that any good administrative candidate would be happy to work at a high school like Lake Forest where the salary is quite generous, where students and teachers feel safe, and where parents are actively involved and actually show up to volunteer. And, being at the top of the list for public schools in the state, I would think any administrator would view this position as a “step up”. Your comment that every little decision will be “dissected and critiqued” is simply not fair and not based on any fact. This decision about whether or not to hire Ms. Holland is not little by any means, and I would argue that an Effective administrator would welcome feedback and suggestions from the community he/she serves.

  2. Does anyone who was at the meeting today know the names of the two attorneys who accompanied Ms. Holland to the Special Meeting? I am told one of them is an ACLU attorney.

    • Was she accompanied by lawyers? Where did you get that information? Transparency, please!
      And, where did you get the leaked information about her, anyhow?
      How does it feel that PBS today called ETHS one of the best schools, who has expanded their AP classes, with white students gaining along with their of color cohort? All this based on programming instituted by Dr. Holland.
      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/illinois-high-school-shrinks-achievement-gap-minority-students-setting-high-bar/

      Be balanced and post all the information.
      Personally, I wonder if you are placed here to create controversy, as your information is full of untruths and missteps. Whoever it was got you good; you are public, they are not. Therefore when the intelligent of your community speak up about contemporary pedagogical models and that Dr. Holland is a much-sought after expert, then you will seem silly and uninformed. What will history say about you and the way she was treated by some in your community? It was undignified. One of your babies is speaking out–please listen to him.

      Most of the folks at the meeting speaking knew nothing about the theories they spoke about. For us academics in the crowd, we squirmed around because we recognized that most were not articulating the arguments and thesis correctly. Not even close.
      This is getting more and more rich everyday–ACLU attorneys?

      By the way: Isn’t her name Dr. Holland?
      Respectfully, Dee

      • You would be referring to me. I mentioned that Dr. Holland’s core beliefs include “White Privilege”, “Critical Race Theory”, and “Whiteness as Property”. I then offered a summary of that philosophy which you think was incorrect. I was squirming too. I practically threw up on my shoes. I can’t believe we have to discuss this, but it has been thrust upon us.

        Please take this opportunity to present your own interpretation of those beliefs. I am particularly interested in the following:
        1. How are these beliefs compatible with a color-blind society and equal opportunity under the law?
        2. How can racial reconciliation be attained when people with white skin are called racist regardless of their position on racial issues?
        3. With regard to “Whiteness as Property”, what monetary value do you put on a person’s white skin, and how much do our white children owe other races because of their skin color?
        4. How do you intend to extract that value from our white children in order to settle the racial balance sheet?
        5. Do people with white skin have to pay this debt perpetually, or is there some point where we have paid our dues and we get handed a certificate of “Non-racist”?
        6. How is judging a white person by the color of their skin NOT racism?

        Is everyone squirming? You bet you are. Remember, I didn’t bring this stuff into our community. Dr. Holland and her supporters on the Board did.

        I look forward to hearing the opinions of an expert in the field. Correct me. My mind is open. Fill it with knowledge. The whole town is listening.

        • How can you say our society is color blind? I had been close friends with many of the black students at our school and they have told me of all the scrutiny that they have faced, and how students felt the need to either make racist comments, or tiptoe around the fact that they are black. How is that colorblind?

          • A color-blind society is what we should all strive for. If we fail in one area then we need to address it and correct it. That CAN NOT be accomplished by putting in place policies that discriminate against white children in order to make them pay for the crimes of the fathers. That will only sow more resentment and drive us apart.

            That is exactly what is happening here, right now…. and it’s by design.

            If you are believer in “White Privilege” then please go ahead and offer your own interpretation of that belief and the policies you support. Only Dave has tried to defend it, and that’s been a half-hearted effort.

            Do you really want a principal who sees white children as privileged and thinks she should use her power to do something about it?

            • Gary,

              I’ve seen you and a number of other readers bring up white privilege and I seem to recall that at one point, you also had some questions about its definition and meaning. One of the best articles I have read on the subject is “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh. You can find it here: http://amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html. I like this article because it describes white privilege in relatable, concrete examples without using emotionally charged language. It’s a quick read and I highly recommend it to anyone with questions about this topic.

              • Thanks for providing that link. Everyone should read it. It completely vindicates everything I’ve been warning people about. Take this excerpt for example :

                “I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

                My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. ”

                …. and she thinks that people who think their moral state depends on their own actions is wrong!

                There is no way we should have someone in our school system who believes that all white children have an unearned skin advantage, and that they are OPPRESSORS of a damaged culture. I am teaching my children that they ARE defined by their actions and their words, and that they NEVER have to answer for something they didn’t do, no matter much people like Dr. Holland try to heap blame on their small shoulders!

                This is hideous racism of the worst kind, and is incompatible with a civil society. Turn the colors around and see if this passes the smell test. I struggle to believe anyone would want to put this kind of burden on any child.

                Please don’t let this racism into our schools.

                • Okay…that wasn’t what I was hoping you would take away from that article, but I appreciate the fact that you took the time to read it.

                  The quotes that you pulled describe the environment in which white privilege is created as well as why it is difficult for us to recognize it as privilege. I do not think McIntosh is arguing that people must take responsibility for the actions of others. In fact, she later says that social change is not going to result from a single, individual action, but from a larger awareness and consciousness. Moral character depends both on your individual actions and how you fit into society, not just individual actions alone.

                  I invite you to look more closely at what McIntosh has to say about addressing the problem of privilege:

                  “We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages [of white privilege], which we can work to spread [to others], and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them.”

                  So basically: some of the benefits of white privilege are rights that should belong to all humans. We should figure out how to ensure that ALL people have the opportunity to enjoy those rights. I hardly think that this is a radical or racist idea.

      • …and Dee, for my part I am more worried about how my children will judge me if I don’t fight this with everything I’ve got.

      • There’s a lot more, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity to get expert advice.
        7. Does Asian skin have privilege or property value as well? Hispanics? What’s the exchange rate between the races?
        8. Is it possible to set up a market to trade “racial privilege”? How about options?
        9. What about mixed black/white kids like our President? Does the white half owe the black half, or do they just get a straight 50% racial debt discount?
        10. Shouldn’t this philosophy be applied to religious skin as well? All religions don’t have the same economic outcomes, so I think so. How do we do that?
        11. What about hair color and body type? It’s common knowledge that tall thin blonds get all the breaks, so they are going to everyone a whole bunch aren’t they? How much?

        Damn this is complicated! I sure am glad you are here to sort all this out for us. I freely admit that I lack the credentials to make sense of this. Please help.

        I got an idea. How about we treat everyone the same under the law and bust our asses to help those who fall behind regardless of race, religion, hair color, or body type? Why don’t we give that a try?

      • Dee:
        CRT is not a pedagogical method.
        The PBS link while interesting has even more interesting comments, e.g.
        1 • Reply•Share ›
        Avatar
        xandtrek • 3 hours ago
        As someone who scores AP exams, I can tell you what a boondoggle this whole system is. I can’t tell you how many students write, instead of the essay, that they were forced to take the exam so their school could claim they had minorities taking AP exams — not how many students PASS the exam, but how many students TAKE the exam. They spend an hour doodling on the page and writing about their life.

        Don’t forget that a large corporation is getting wealthy off these exams — $100 (approximately) per student, sometimes paid for by the school district, sometimes by the parents. And the point of the exam is not learning “advanced” knowledge, but just enough knowledge to get credit for a college course. The AP classes teach to the exam. (That’s why it’s funny when schools get upset about the content).

        It would be nice if someone actually investigated the scam of exams overall — the schools are being privatized from within and I’m not sure the students are actually learning anything. I would say that very few of the essays I’ve read (and I’ve read thousands), would actually be considered anything above 9th grade work. The bar is pretty low, regardless of the ethnicity or background of the student. How about we discuss that?
        2 • Reply•Share ›

        I cannot find evidence that she has completed all her coursework to be called “Dr.” so I am not referring to her as such.
        Our community has done nothing to her except expose her own writings and disagree with them. History will judge us accordingly, unless people with agendas other than the truth (i.e. CRT) rewrite it. People like you, Dee, are trying to victimize the LFHS community. We are told by Ms. Holland that our tracking system is part of our white meritocracy, put in place to keep minorities down, and thus a beacon of “white privilege and internalized racism”. Did you expect us to take that hideous defamation lying down? We can call out a liar. That’s our right.
        Finally, I hope you are in administration and that you are not a teacher (of English or grammar, in any case).

        • This is something else: I have only witnessed these sorts of micro/hyper-aggressions in books and documentaries about red baiting, witch hunts, and other odd social phenomenons.
          I did not write that CRT (Critical Race Theory) was a pedagogical method. There is, however, a pedagogy entitlted CRT (Culturally Relevant Teaching). Which are you chatting about here?
          See, yet another example that there is difficulty understanding very basic concepts.

          Having said that, this notion is simple–you are a minority in your community.
          There is a ground-swell of orderly, healthy, respectful, articulate and reasonable voices.
          I join those in your backyard who say you, you are indeed scrubbing facts, and presenting a faulty narrative.
          I do slightly wonder what you will do with the information after background checking her doctorate degree; do you posses the mettle to address her by her professional name? Pay close attention to how your youth define bullying. Then check yourself.

          By the way, you own no power over me so I won’t bend nor answer upon your request.

          Just as I’m not talking to my dining room table tonight, nor will I continue this fruitless exercise.

          Good luck holding this campaign together,

          Dee

  3. Jennifer Neubauer the contributor of this article called into question how Dr. Holland would view and impact LFHS with a population that is 90% Caucasian considering her supposed views regarding racially diverse schools. Without attempting to dissect every aspect of Miss Neubauer’s letter, I would like to ask stakeholders to consider the current community Dr. Holland admirably serves.

    Miss Neubauer made this statement, “One struggles to understand how Holland’s full-throated embrace of critical race theory and the “internalized [white] racism” embodied in tracking, her administrative and her complete lack of service in a non-urban high school setting qualify her to run LFHS, whose faculty, student body and parents embrace tracking as not only educationally appropriate, but racially benign and essential to the college admission to which many of these students aspire.”

    While I recognize the property value of Lake Forest is higher than that of Oak Park’s, I call into question the idea that Oak Park is considered an ‘urban’ community. According to the Census Bureau, Oak Park’s racial demographic is made up of 70% Caucasian and 20% Black; if Dr. Holland’s views are as truly treacherous and polarizing as Miss Neubauer presents them to be, I ask how could Dr. Holland have survived and flourished professionally in said community? Furthermore, the majority of tax payers within Oak Park are Caucasian, which mirrors that of Lake Forest.

    An entire article could be further dedicated to the similarities and differences between both communities. Considering Dr. Holland is a professional, I would like to point out that continued comparisons of each community is not necessary, because true professionals understand and have the ability to initiate paradigm shifts either personally or community wide. While not speaking for Dr. Holland, I dare say that the majority of her viewpoints that many find so alarming, must be unpacked in consideration of the paradigms she has operated in. There currently is a racial achievement gap at Oak Park and River Forest high school, one that the school is working towards eliminating and without Dr. Holland’s insights would be worst. In regards to paradigms, a true professional does not simply take one approach and attempt to apply it uniformly to all situations. Dr. Holland has the depth and knowledge to assess Lake Forest’s strengths and weaknesses independently and operate in or shift Lake Forest’s current paradigm to meet community needs.

    It is wrong to vilify an individual you do not know personally, simply by developing perceptions based upon viewpoints that dealt with a paradigm you are unfamiliar with. Though aimed at children, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development unpacked the mental processes as they result from biological maturation and environmental experience. Piaget believed that adolescents construct the world around them, experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment, and then adjust their ideas accordingly. Perhaps, Piaget’s teachings could be tangible to Miss Neubauer’s hopeful growth.

  4. Chala Holland is a believer in “white privilege”, “Critical Race Theory”, and “Whiteness as Property” as seen in the list of resources which was deleted from her web site:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20130301055026/http://www.hollanded.com/resources-readings

    “White privilege” etc is the belief that all white people are born with advantages simply because of their skin color. Their white skin makes them the beneficiary of all previous racial injustices throughout history … and by extension makes them guilty of the crimes committed by their fathers. All whites carry this guilt and nothing can wash off their white privilege.

    No racism on behalf of the white person is necessary, not even a thought crime. All white people are irredeemably guilty and must perpetually be made to pay the price in order to achieve some twisted idea of “Social Justice”. Its followers do not believe that racial reconciliation is possible or even necessary, but attempt to right past wrongs through race based affirmative action and wealth redistribution. They see the old guard of classical liberal activists who agitated for a color-blind society as weak and ineffective.

    This philosophy is disgusting, bigoted, hateful, racist, divisive, socially destructive, and simply wrong on its core assumptions. Any person who holds such beliefs should not be teaching children of any color anywhere.

    This is cultural poison and we should not invite it into our community.

    • Hi Gary,

      I know you a little as a caring and thoughtful father and husband and as an engineer….and not of the social engineering discipline. Neither am I a sociologist and do not claim to be an expert at understanding the nuance involved in these issues….much less communicating the nuanced messages. So, could you kindly please provide the source material you used?

      While I agree with you that we do not want the attitudes you describe to in our families nor in our community, I fear you may have built a strawman for yourself and others to beat to a pulp. I fear the insinuations you make of Ms Holland’s beliefs & motivations via the definitions you have constructed violate many of the Core Principles that Harlon lists right below your post.

      Thank you,
      dave…

      • Dave,
        Above you can see the links to Chala’s archived web pages from her consulting business web site which she has taken down since her candidacy was revealed. I will have to ask you read through all that yourself. When you’re done, then we’ll both be properly prepared to debate the issue.

        I spent 5 hours last night reading everything I could find about Chala, and I can assure you that this is not a straw man argument, or a case of taking small comments out of context. Everything she has done has revolved around race, from her decision to get into education to her flagship accomplishment of achieving “racial equity” in 2013 at Oak Park River Forest High School.

        She plainly states that racism is in the education system even if we can’t see it. She said “white privilege” is a reality, and she posted links to articles promoting Critical Race Theory and Whiteness as Property. If you don’t know what “white privilege” or “whiteness as property” means, then you’ve got a lot more homework to do. It’s disturbing stuff but you’d better learn it because apparently that is the governing philosophy of our administration right now.

        The hardest part about this is BELIEVING that someone else really holds these beliefs. This is what I call “Too horrible to believe.”, but it’s true. If someone covers their web site with this ideology, then we would be wise to take them at their word and not expect them to be something other than what they have been in the past. It’s a bad gamble.

        Read it, and try to believe it.

        • Hi Gary,

          You completely missed the point, and I am happy to give you the benefit of the doubt on your intentionality. So, let me clarify:

          Your chosen working definition (which I am sure is held by others on all sides of this discussion) is:
          “White privilege” etc is the belief that all white people are born with advantages simply because of their skin color. Their white skin makes them the beneficiary of all previous racial injustices throughout history … and by extension makes them guilty of the crimes committed by their fathers. All whites carry this guilt and nothing can wash off their white privilege…..Its followers do not believe that racial reconciliation is possible or even necessary.

          Are you sure this is the working definition that Dr. Holland uses for the term? I too have read all the material about her which is linked to above and never saw her state her definition as you do. I am reluctant to put the words you use into her mouth.

          In my reading up on the topics over the last few days, I see many perspectives on “White privilege”….and your definition seems to be in the camp that wants to provoke a negative reaction (fear, separation, avoidance), whereas in Dr. Holland’s perspective and motivations (on her website and the letters commending her) I see a lot more of a focus on positively repairing things that are broken. Do you agree that race relations are systemically broken in our country?

          That said, I am left wondering why Dr. Holland would even want to apply her hard earned perspectives and wisdom and passion in an environment not crying out for change. Maybe she wants to get out of her bubble for a while and expand her perspectives? Maybe the price is right?

          As this forum certainly has its limitations, how about sitting down for coffee to discuss?

          Dave…

  5. The following Core Principles were defined by LFHS as part of the Emotional Wellness program:
    • Empathy
    • Integrity
    • Acceptance
    • Own the consequences
    • Responsibility/Accountability
    • Interact with genuine openness
    • Strive to make the best decision
    • Appreciate and respect individuality
    • Step into someone else’s experience(s)
    • Act with Truth, Respect, and Honesty
    • Encourage others to do the right thing
    • Be aware and understanding of others’ feelings

    Instead of standing by her previous statements and thoughts, she did the opposite. Her actions seem to indicate that she does not hold these values, specifically in regards to Integrity, Owning the Consequences, Interacting with Genuine Openness and Acting with Truth, Respect, and Honesty, and would be a poor choice as a leader for LFHS.

  6. One of the reasons my husband and I decided to return to LF was knowing that our resale value of our home would only increase in the coming decades due to not only the amazing community services but also the fabulous school district (his children did attend LFHS in the 90’s). It is troubling to me that this candidate has wiped her online presence, as through she is embassed or attempting to hide views, of which, she was either proud or confident to share at one time. This is a dishonest and gutless move on her part and unfortunately does not reflect well on her values. If you post something, if you say something, if you believe in something, you should not have the luxury of hiding those beliefs when you want something….as a taxpayer in this community, who cares about the ongoing success of LFHS, I do not understand why a larger search was not undertaken?

  7. This is what we know so far:
    – Dr. Holland is being seriously considered as the new LFHS principal (source: leaked information, but no confirmation).
    – Her views on race and tracking are controversial to many in the community who do not share these views.
    – Her publicly available record of accomplishment as teacher and administrator is pretty good for someone her age, but is not obviously outstanding (source: LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/chala-holland/17/b0/47).
    – She has many strong supporters who know her personally and think very highly of her (source: publicly posted letters from people that she has influenced positively).

    And here is what we can conjecture:
    – She must have made a compelling case to the LFHS Search Committee and the Superintendent. They are highly experienced people who have little to gain and much to lose by not thoroughly vetting this hiring.
    – She has probably made at least one bad decision by attempting to limit access to her online digital record by taking her website down, which has not been available for the past few days. This to me is the most troubling aspect of this whole episode: others may disagree with our opinions, but we ought to have the integrity to defend (or disavow) our public record.

    Since this candidacy has already ignited controversy, the Superintendent and the Board would serve the community best by directly addressing the concerns that have been raised by a segment of our community. Given that her name has been leaked, confidentiality of the hiring process is not relevant any more. If indeed she is the nominee and is the best fit for the school, it is wise to take the majority of the community along before a final offer is extended. I would hope that the candidate herself would welcome an opportunity to publicly address the concerns raised about her so that if indeed she is offered the position, she can get on with the job of guiding our high school to new heights without having a cloud hanging over her appointment.
    Cheers,
    Sridhar Krishnaswamy

  8. The dismissive arrogance of the open letter just recently sent by Michael V. Simeck, Superintendent of Schools for Lake Forest, compels me to respond. Superintendent Simeck’s over-wrought letter is nothing but an appeal to authority. That’s usually a rather weak debate tactic, but when it’s a self-referential appeal to authority, then it’s particularly insulting.

    Mr. Simeck prattles on about a vetting process that’s supposedly so thorough and detailed that it is essentially failsafe, and thus it’s almost unpatriotic to question it let alone ask for details of it. Since when is it unpatriotic or disrespectful of authority to simply ask questions – especially when evidence emerges to the contrary of this supposedly foolproof process?

    The community at large doesn’t need access to every detail of such a vetting process by default. However, when a candidate in that vetting process makes public statements (through internet media) that are incendiary and offensive to the community, the outcry of a concerned community should be expected and acknowledged. In this case, understandably upset community members have every right to have simply said “Hey, are you (people in authority) aware of this important information?” Mr. Simeck’s response, while articulate, essentially just says “Hey, shut up; our process is smarter than you.”

    Fortunately, free speech trumps authority. Unfortunately for Mr. Simeck, so does common sense. A better response would have been along the lines of “Thank you for sharing your concerns, and I assure you that they will be responded to and given due consideration before a decision is made.” I can’t see why that would have been too difficult to do, but as it is, now there are also questions about Mr. Simeck’s leadership in addition to concerns about a leading candidate.

    Mr. Simeck, authority and deference don’t come from the title of one’s position, rather they come from the stakeholders who created that position, and placed you in it. As stakeholders, we are to be heard before a decision is made, not after. In closing, please bear in mind that the community you are supposed to serve also has a vetting process – one through which you yourself are continuously evaluated. Good luck with that…

  9. I believe we’re being sidetracked by the race conversation and should be discussing the fundamental ideology being promoted by the Superintendent (and presumably by Dr. Holland) that we should dismantle AP / Honors and CP classes. I’m a little late to this whole conversation, and would like to learn the following:

    How will the school / teachers be able to accommodate a wider variety of students while keeping them all engaged and challenged? Do we have the right teachers, curriculum, and systems to accommodate this type of differentiated, more personalized learning?

    How will removing CP classes affect students who are struggling or need additional support?

    How will removing AP / Honors classes affect students’ abilities to compete effectively for acceptance into colleges and universities? Are other top-rated schools (Stevenson, New Trier, private schools) also removing tracking from their educational process?

    These are the questions that should be posed to the Superintendent and School Board before any long-term hiring decisions are made. The selection of the right principal should support a larger, established educational strategy. Have these conversations already been held and agreed upon at the School Board level?

    • Ms. Driscoll, taking race out of the conversation is itself a type of privilege. But to indulge your question, I’d like to see research that proves AP and Honors courses offer a better learning opportunity for students than simply sending your child to the library to read additional material. It seems AP and Honors courses primary difference to regular courses is the workload, not the instructional delivery from the teacher or the educational philosophy behind AP courses. The only research I can find that validate AP courses is that students who took such classes have a higher college graduation rate, but this is a similar argument that charter, magnet, and private schools use, which is faulty. If you begin by selecting students with higher academic abilities, is it the course work, teacher, or school that is adding the value that leads to success? Or was the child already on track to succeed in college? I’d argue the latter. Considering many black and brown students have the aptitude but not the social capital to survive the selection process, those classes tend to become more white, and those AP and Honors students suffer from not learning alongside a diverse range of classmates.

    • Catherine – I appreciate your intelligent and logical questions and would like to acknowledge that Deerfield High School is dropping AP/Honors classes and I am sure there are other school districts that are as well. It would be prudent to investigate the latest educational trends and the reasoning behind them before we dismiss this idea.

      • As a parent and a staff member at Deerfield High School , I can categorically state that DHS is not dropping AP or Honors classes.

    • The effort as I understand it is to ultimately eliminate the “lower” or “regular” (college prep) tracks and push students into the otherwise higher levels (honors, AP). There is ample research that suggests when you remove these “barriers” and raise the bar, students rise to the occasion. I don’t doubt the research. In many districts, when a student is on a particular track, it is often the case that moving out (or getting out) of the track is difficult to do (logistically? bureaucratically?). It doesn’t happen often; students get stuck wherever they are. So when the track is removed, bingo! Lots of students who could (should) have been more challenged, do, in fact, rise to the occasion. The problem, however, is that this simply is not the case at this school. This model does not fit this school. Movement (track changing) happens all the time at this school. Just ask a counselor or a teacher employed there. My bet is that more than a few of the parents commenting here have had a child move a level in a class or two during their four years at LFHS. I’m a parent of two former students. Both kids at one time during their four years moved tracks including one who started her freshmen year in an English Skills class but was ultimately recommended to move up to the college prep level. I’ll let others much smarter than me on this board make a case that tracking is or is not inherently racist. I just don’t see that the tracking as it exists at this school is a bad thing. Here, it works.

  10. Critical thinking- the careful and deliberate determination of whether to accept, reject, or suspend judgement until you acquire enough information to come to a conclusion. I know Chala Holland personally. She is one of the greatest forces I’ve seen in my 38 years. Because I know her, I can speak intelligently about her. I assure anyone who doesn’t know her would quickly change their perspective if they did. I personally don’t think that mentioning her family has anything to do with whether she should get a position Mrs. Neubauer. That wasn’t kind. I value your opinion; and, there are things in your CommUnity that I cannot speak intelligently about. One thing I can do is speak to the awesome team your CommUnity sent to represent the Lake Forest High School CommUnity during the site visit at Oak Park and River Forest High School. They were very respectful and there were engaging questions from student, staff, parents, teachers, division heads, and elected officials (board members) that will determine how they will move forward. Chala will thrive in whatever environment she is in. If your CommUnity passes on the opportunity, pay attention to Dr. Holland. You will see greater things to come and will realize how you guys missed a great opportunity. I respectfully offer my opinion from River Forest, Illinois. Peace and I hope the best for the Lake Forest CommUnity.
    Respectfully and Peacefully,
    Stephen Jackson

    • Stephen –

      It is hard to get to know here when the Superintendent is rushing to push this through without any kind of interaction with the community. It is also VERY hard to get to know someone when they move to sanitize their history by deleting all that they have posted. THAT is actually a key negative against Dr. Holland in that she moved to HIDE what she previously professed. How can we trust someone to lead the school for our children when they cannot even stand behind the words that they wrote, but instead are trying to sneak in?

    • Mr. Jackson, you and I had a personal email discussion and I am surprised you felt the need to go public with views we’ve already discussed. As you know from my personal email to you, Ms. Holland brought her family’s history into the discussion in two previously published articles in the Evanston and Oak Park press. She discussed with pride her father as a prominent community organizer and her mother as her first teacher and gave these as reasons that she got into education in the first place. As I stated in my email to you when you pointed out that it was unkind to bring her family into this, I said there was nothing she should be embarrassed about and that it was just for context and that of course I had no intention to embarrass or hurt her by mentioning what was already out there in two published accounts….Again, these comments about her family were either direct or paraphrased quotes by the reporter and came from her own lips. I didn’t manufacture them. I am still mystified as to why you think this was inappropriate, but many things about the discussion mystify me, starting with all the folks who give her glowing reports and gloss over the fact that the leader of a high school should model personal integrity. Scrubbing your online presence to hide offensive comments so you can get a job from a community you don’t really like in the first place (see her comments on our “white meritocracy”) doesn’t model integrity. I know you are a reasonable person and understand this is the nub of the matter. I guess I would ask you how you would respond to a person who wanted to come into your community after similarly insulting your community based on skin color and then scrubbing those comments just to get a job. I imagine you’d react exactly how we have reacted here in Lake Forest.

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