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  1. Mr. Beyer:

    Mrs. Neubauer (my wife) posted without editing Dr. Holland’s complete essay. Nothing was taken out of context, so your argument is false.

    I find Dr. Holland’s assertions of continued racism to be offensive in the strongest sense of the word, not to mention completely out of touch with the facts as educators are among the most liberal and hence presumably least racist of our citizenry. These tried-and-true liberals suddenly become racists when they operate schools? The notion beggars reality.

    So do you care to change you BS statement?

  2. Mr. Beyer,

    I am curious why you feel the need to comment on the appointment of a principal in a jurisdiction 30 miles away from your new position at Ogden International School in the Gold Coast. As you surely know, Ogden’s parents are much like the “you folks up in Lake Forest” in that they are both relatively wealthy and very involved in the day to day operations of their school with an expectation of excellence from all students. Ogden is a school that is 49% white, 13% African-American, 13% Hispanic, 15% Asian and 8% multi-racial and is also considered one of the best public schools in the City of Chicago. I can personally attest the parents of the school, regardless of color, have extremely high expectations and demand excellence from their children, their teachers and the school administration. You posts seem to reflect a worldview in which America is either black or white which then makes you appear to be a principal with a social agenda rather than a principal whose job it is to make the trains run on time. You have an admirable track record of achieving success in schools which support low income students but now the environment has changed. Pedantic letters and blog posts written by yourself will be read by parents and lead to questions as to whether you are truly committed to job you were hired to do, namely, manage the school. As you know, you will be the fourth principal in 2 years yet Ogden hums along because of parental environment. Coming into your new job with an air moral superiority is not conducive to a long term future at Ogden.

    • Dear Ogden Parent,

      I look forward to working with you. However, if you think my main job is to make the trains run on time, then I’m over qualified. My job, as is the job of teachers (principals used to have the title of ‘principal teacher’ as they used to always be teachers, until the often-unnecessary bureaucracy overtook the role) is to stimulate discussion, debate, thinking, reflection, and collaboration, otherwise known as learning. This is in line with the IB philosophy.

      As to your claim that my posts seem to reflect a worldview that America is Black and White, I disagree, and would argue you hold such a view in greater quantity than I do, as suggested by your line, “You have an admirable track record of achieving success in schools which support low income students but now the environment has changed. ” I will first admit I might be wrong in my assumption I am about to share (as many of these comments on these social media posts too often are, based on faulty assumptions due to limited information) but your line seems couched in the belief that low-income students learn differently from those in middle or upper income families. In fact, all children learn in relatively the same ways. They differ more on personal levels than based on large income brackets. There are generalizations you can make about students in each income bracket, but within my school, as I know there is in Ogden (I’ve been doing plenty of homework), there is more differentiation required within a school than between two schools.

      At my current school we pushed inquiry-based learning, which is what IB is based upon. Our low-income students have been learning and showing significant gains, just as yours certainly will under my leadership (I’ll take this moment to point out that the current gains at Ogden are average at best, so although the trains have been running on time, it hasn’t been excelling , and has largely been kept afloat, at least on the SQRP, due to ‘attainment’, which is most closely aligned to socio-economic status, and has little to do with the school).

      If you’d like to discuss the details of the pedagogy I will encourage, I will be readily available twice a week at each campus, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. If you’d like to discuss these matters with me there will be four opportunities each week if you’re willing to go to both campuses. We will also have many opportunities for committees for parents, faculty, staff, community members, and students to participate and help guide the direction of the school. I eagerly anticipate your input, along with every stakeholder of Ogden. I not only help the train runs on time, but I develop the culture and climate of the school, facilitate teacher professional development, enable collaboration, and dozens of other things. If you’re curious, I’d be more than happy to have a parent shadow me each day. I’d truly appreciate the help and their input.

      Sincerely,
      Michael Beyer

      P.S. When we meet in person please introduce yourself? Thank you.

    • Also, in addition to my first reply to your comment, I’m curious why I shouldn’t care about a community 30 miles away, especially one that involves someone that taught me invaluable lessons. In the IB curriculum we are to help our students develop an international awareness, and encourage them to act (CAS: creativity, action, service). Should I discourage Ogden students from acting and serving if the issue they want to address is a certain mileage from the school? I hope not. Again, I’ll be available four times a week for parents to discuss issues of pedagogy.

  3. Mr. Beyer – What makes you think the Ms. Holland’s help is needed here? Did we ask for her help? You said a mouthful with that statement. If you don’t like the culture in Lake Forest, then don’t live here. But don’t force a candidate with extreme views on a community that doesn’t need to be changed. Lake Forest is not and never has been a racist community, and I know for a fact that all parents opposed to Ms. Holland’s candidacy would welcome with open arms a well-qualified African-American female candidate for principal at LFHS. For many reasons, we don’t feel Ms. Holland is that candidate. Your comments are the typical “progressive” view, that people who don’t agree with you must be “educated”. I challenge you to find a community more educated than Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Mr. Beyer. And the scrubbing of her online presence? If this is what she believes, she should stand up, own her comments, look the parents of the children she will charged with “educating” and explain or defend these views. She should be vetted. Everyone is so busy throwing the race issue around, we’re forgetting about who is important here. This is not about Ms. Holland, the superintendent or anyone’s attempt to “help” Lake Forest. It is about our children, and what we THEIR PARENTS feel is in their best interests. Leave it to the parents to “help” their children.

  4. To be honest your “support” for her, made me recognize that she is the wrong fit for LFHS. Thanks for making that clear.

    • Can I ask what exactly made you decide that? What detail(s) of my “support” sealed the deal for you?

  5. This guy has done a great job at his school. He seemed obsessed with “White Privilege” and “Racial Social Justice?”

    Just because other people support this, doesn’t mean that I have to. Outcomes that differ by race, are not all that rare or unexpected. When it comes down to it, parents should be focusing on raising their children, instead of a vague notion of social justice. Remember white’s are getting beat in most academic tests by Asians, who in aggregate study more. They also are more likely than whites to be approved for a home loan. Somebody call Al Sharpton.

    I oppose this instructor and suppose that most of those who work with her and are not in support of her, still have a career and have learned to keep their mouth shut.

  6. Chala Holland’s own words which she tried to scrub from the internet. She has never disavowed them:

    Academic Tracking – The New (Educational) Jim Crow
    The same structures that segregated students in the 1960’s, segregates them today. A system of academic tracking is embedded in the ways that courses are structured and aligned in many integrated high schools across the United States. The academic tracks, ranging from self contained Special Education through AP/IB, have fallen along racial lines within many racial integrated schools with a disproportionate number of Black and Latino students in self-contained Special Education classes and a disproportionate number of White students in Honors and AP level courses. While the 1960’s boasted the physical segregation of spaces occupies by white and non-white students, the 2000’s boast integrated buildings yet segregated classrooms.

    The racial integration of schools did not dismantle the systemic racism inherent in the schooling system. The work of Foucault indicates that once power is exposed, it goes into hiding and finds another system through which to operate until it is exposed again. In other words, it’s not a matter of “if racism” is operating in the schools, it’s a matter of knowing that it is there and working constantly uncover it and dismantle it. On the surface, many racially integrated schools seem like beacons of racial and economic diversity and integration. But, at their core are beacons of racial inequities disguised by a false notion of meritocracy and the reality of white privilege and internalized racism.

    Tracking originated out of a need for differentiated labor. Black, Latino and working class students have historically been assigned to the lower academic tracks in disproportionate numbers. Race has everything to do with this. Tracking has been used to produce different outcomes and experiences for students so much so, the differences in results have been racially assigned and normalized. Students in lower tracks are subject to lower-level instructional materials and practices and do not have access to higher-level competencies. Additionally, they have less access to college-prep materials.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20130225083738/http://www.hollanded.com/academic-tracking
    All students are affected by systems of tracking but not all students are affected the same. Race and tracking are inextricably connected. If they were not, the national racial predictability in the achievement and academic levels in schools would not exist.

  7. Dear Mr. Beyer:

    This is a very powerful letter of support. I wonder if you also might be able to offer as powerful an explanation and support for why it would be appropriate for Dr. Holland to suddenly attempt to erase from the Internet her previously public comments on race and tracking? And the Malcolm X quote and her comment on it. It’s the attempted cover up of her previous and somewhat inflammatory comments that I find most disturbing about this situation. Either she or the LFHS leadership appear to want to hide her past perspectives, perspectives that you seem to have found so helpful.

    Thank you.

    • You beat me to it. If this person’s opinions and positions are so valuable (as some comments claim), then why scrub them from existence?

      It’s OK to have such opinions, of course. As I said before, however, how can we have faith that this person has the maturity and open-mindedness to be a part of this community if we don’t have faith in the vetting process?

      • She took down her stuff probably because you folks up in Lake Forest like to take things out of context and then beat people up with it. Look at Taylor Cotten above, who casually states, based on my one letter, “He seemed obsessed with “White Privilege” and “Racial Social Justice?” Huh. I guess I can then say Taylor Cotton seems obsessed with Asians.

        I left Woodstock Illinois and will never move back because of closed minded people like yourselves. I give Chala a lot of credit for trying to help folks like you.

        You see, it’s not about trying to help blacks so much as it’s about trying to create a just society. We will never have a just society with a true meritocracy while folks like you continue to deny facts supported by ample research.

        Chala helped open my eyes to other peoples’ perspectives. You, on the other hand, clearly don’t care how others see you, or your world. Education is about learning to appreciate other peoples’ perspectives. Your kids might get high SAT scores, but they clearly aren’t getting a full understanding of the world if this is the kind of environment they’re being raised in. It is toxic, narrow minded, and factually wrong.

        But hey, at least you have your home values, because that’s all that counts in this lifetime, right?

        • “…you folks up in Lake Forest like to take things out of context and then beat people up with it.”

          Painting with such a broad brush as you do there is the epitome of prejudice. You don’t know me at all, and you clearly don’t know the people of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. The people of this community maintain an idyllic place to live, but it is NOT a bubble. The people here are not sheltered; most are exceptionally well-traveled business people. We are not racists. We are sick and tired of being called racists simply because our skin is white, and most of our neighbors are white and relatively affluent. It seems rather that we are the ones being beaten up by the so-called ‘progressives’…

          We welcome other views, even ones as incendiary as Chala Holland’s, as long as those holding other views engage with us honestly and openly. The anger you see here stems from our perception that in fact we are not being engaged openly and honestly, neither by the candidate nor the board and its process. If her views require “context”, then taking them down isn’t likely to foster more understanding. If Ms. Holland, yourself, and the board want a fair evaluation, then it’s you guys that need to step up…

        • Dear Mr. Beyer,

          I think Lake Forest should have a referendum on whether the point of its public schools is to (a) focus on a classical education; or (b) create a just society.

          • Parents, please look at what your children are learning in the classroom in Lake Forest, especially in language arts and social studies. It is NOT a classical curriculum. Common core changed that. Just because we have Latin as a world language choice (for now), does not make it classical.

          • I’m confused, does this imply classical education is AGAINST a just society? Can’t we have both?

        • Mr. Beyer, I think you may have missed the mark on the lessons you learned from Ms. Holland with general statements like “you folks up in Lake Forest.”

          We absolutely live in a world colored by racism and gender bias. It’s affect upon society will only be reduced when we as bystanders take an active role to diminish it. Personally, my inclination would be to eagerly support an accomplished black female in line for this position. However…

          As we try to teach our kids, anything publicly placed on the internet makes you a target for scrutiny, so you better be willing to take responsibility. We all make mistakes, change our views, speak in anger, etc. The problem here is you can’t put the cat back into the bag – it’s the perceived deception and lack of integrity in the cover-up that is the biggest issue. Who that started with, our LF admin or Ms. Holland, isn’t clear. It doesn’t make everyone involved ‘all bad,’ but we have to guard against putting the self-interests of a few before that of our whole community (it certainly wouldn’t hurt Mr. Simeck’s career to champion a young, black female as principal of a highly competitive and predominantly white school, for instance). Lack of transparency and signs of manipulation are the culprits here.

          I would encourage Ms. Holland to perhaps examine her beliefs, stand up for her values and be true to herself. Not everyone will like it, but the world desperately needs more open and honest role models.

          • Bla bla bla … I don’t like her credentials & what she wrote on media cannot be erased. If she was so wise, she would have never wrote it. I’d like to see other candidates rather than her.

          • I’ll admit, agree, and apologize my statement starting with “you folks up in Lake Forest” was not fair. It was a generalization I wrote in haste. Please forgive me. Let me be more clear: those people in Lake Forest, and elsewhere, who are taking offense to Chala’s views on race, should attempt to reflect on other people’s perspectives, rather than dismiss them outright, as it seems from everything I have read so far, is what several people are doing. Several commentators have made clear they don’t understand the basic premise of white privilege. This is normal. I didn’t understand it at first, either, and felt it was ‘reverse racism’. It is not, and most of Chala’s views are worth discussing, be it in Lake Forest, Woodstock, or elsewhere.

            • Your’re still not practicing what you preach, Mr. Beyer. “…those people, who are taking offense to Lake Forest residents’ views on candidate Holland and the vetting process, should attempt to reflect on other people’s perspectives, rather than dismiss them outright…”. There, I fixed that for you…

        • Mr. Beyer, I apologize on behalf of others who are shaking their heads in revulsion and embarrassment at the level of ignorance (and arrogance) displayed in yet another slew of demeaning comments. Some folks are a waste of energy. Save yours for others who need schooling in what it is to be a principal. Good luck and thank you for taking time to share an insider’s perspective of Dr. Holland.

          • Mr. Beyer, I second Amy’s apology. I was fortunate to have been part of a class at Northwestern, the Psychology of Prejudice. Despite growing up in working class Detroit, I never truly understood class and race difference. Two decades ago (and some more recently), upon moving to LF, we experienced anti-semitism in Lake Forest. But, I assure you, there are some residents of LF not represented here on this blog. I truly hope the residents of Lake Forest can move beyond defensiveness, maybe even gain perspective or at least get back to the issue at hand. By the way, none of my children have a desire to return to the the Pleasantville of Lake Forest. I’m proud my husband and I raised them to be thinking empathetic beings.

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