The false negative picture that the Final Four slate paints of Lake Forest High School isn’t confined to the most recent email regarding LFHS SAT scores (see Nicki Snoblin/Right Track’s opinion piece of February 26th for the explanation of why their criticism was incorrect). The Final Four campaign website also incorrectly continues the negative narrative.
The Final Four site attempts to blame the slow real estate market in Lake Forest on the “inferior educational product” of the high school. District 115 encompasses both Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, and common sense tells me that if District 115 is dragging down the Lake Forest market, it would be doing the same to Lake Bluff. However, according to the graph the Final Four present, Lake Bluff is not experiencing a comparable slow down. The Lake Bluff market is doing twice as well as Lake Forest, and just as well as all the other north shore suburbs. The Lake Forest market problem clearly is not caused by our shared LFHS, but rather by some factor unique to Lake Forest alone. Why are they trying to blame our excellent school for a slow real estate market? It is pure conjecture and irresponsible speculation with no discernible relationship to any facts. It is a disservice to both the staff and students to suggest this.
According to the Final Four site, this “inferior educational product” of LFHS has also led to a “dismal” ranking of the school by US News and World Report. This is simply not true! LFHS offers an excellent education. US News and World Report ranks LFHS as 19th out of 674 schools in Illinois, which puts LFHS in the top 3% of Illinois schools. In their relentless quest to portray our school in a negative light, the Final Four don’t even acknowledge that Newsweek recently ranked LFHS as 37th in the nation, better than 99.8% of the schools they evaluated.
Their website also speaks of the “alarming trend” of a 7% rise in the costs per student since 2011, but the number is presented with no context. In that same time frame, the CPI had an identical 7% gain. The average cost of educating a high school student in Illinois in that same period rose 9.9%. Are the Final Four alarmed that our costs increased at a lower rate than the state’s average cost increase? Is it an alarming trend that our costs didn’t accelerate faster than the CPI? Isn’t cost containment supposed to be a good thing? Or were they just hoping that the lack of context would make 7% sound alarming?
The Final Four site also states “Our families are paying a premium and getting an inferior educational product. It’s hurting our children, our home values and our community.” Do they honestly believe that the high school has damaged our kids and community? They don’t offer any examples (other than the failed real estate argument) and I don’t even know how to respond to this.
“Dismal.’ “Alarming.” “Inferior.” “Hurtful.” “Sad.” I don’t know why the Final Four are trying to make the high school sound like an unmitigated disaster – perhaps so voters will reject any incumbents? At any rate, I disagree wholeheartedly with their assessment. Should they be elected, the Final Four will constitute a majority of the board, and it will be their negative, like-minded vision that will control the agenda and the outcomes.
I don’t plan on voting for this slate. Instead, I will be casting my vote for the caucus candidates Sally Davis, Dave Lane, Ted Moorman, Tomas Nemickas.
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