Archive for November, 2011
I analyzed stats from the year Dee Morgan left to the last year Atkinson was here to see what that cool million we spent on her did for us. We were better in 7 areas and worse in 18. Average Superintendent salary is $140,000. Why do we spend $85,000 more than the going rate? For what?
BAD – the definition
Not achieving an adequate standard; poor
Lorain City Schools has been in the BAD category when trying to achieve an adequate standard:
The history from Citizens 4 Better Lorain Schools
( You can follow this link and click on the links (PDF files) for all the documentation here :
The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2010-2011. 5 out of 26 state indicators met.
The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2009-2010. 1 out of 26 state indicators met.
The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2008-2009. 3 out of 30 state indicators met.
The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2007-2008. 4 of 30 state indicators met.
Apparently we have also been “bad” in other years
4-05-Academic Watch-Morgan 3- 78.1 out of 120
05-06 -Continuous Improv -Morgan 6-82.3 out of 120
06-07-Continuous Improv -Morgan 4-80.6 out of 120
07-08 -Academic Watch- Atkinson -4 -77.8 out of 120
08-09-Academic Watch Atkinson 3-78.6 out of 120
You can slice it and dice it anyway you want:
Morning Journal article August 2011
Lorain schools get better grade (with video)
but we are still “struggling”- UP a point- DOWN a point…… but always hovering very near the bottom and that is BAD……….
Obviously, this has not happened over night but we aren’t making any great strides either even with two different ” highly paid” and “educated” superintendents at the “helm”
The numbers games comes into play –
after all since schools are publicly funded they have to show us something for our money don’t they?
You can find all sorts of information here
We aren’t healthy and haven’t been for many years and gaining a point or two isn’t going to cut it, because a whole generation of children have been coming through the corridors of under achievement and academic watch and that is bad…….. we won’t get those years or those children back for a “do over “
Something isn’t working no matter how much we pay superintendents or spend upon the students per school (whether high school, middle school or elementary) The 2009-2010 stats found here
LCS Excel file
There is a great deal of information about the Lorain City School system on the Ohio Department of Education website and you can compare all information to any school in the state ( including charter schools) also here is a link to the website INNOVATION OHIO –
FYI on Innovation Ohio
Feb 28th 2011 Former Strickland Policy Chief Launches Innovation OhioColumbus, Ohio — Innovation Ohio, a new non-partisan but avowedly progressive think tank with offices in downtown Columbus, begins operations today.
Innovation Ohio, which is comprised of leaders in business, academia, politics and public service, will have a two-fold mission. First, it will advocate and advance progressive public policies (especially in the areas of the state budget and jobs, education, health care, and energy) that strengthen the middle class, protect the less advantaged, equalize opportunity, and provide businesses with the tools they need to innovate, compete, and create well-paying, long-term jobs. Second, Innovation Ohio will provide rapid response policy analysis and commentary to ensure that reckless, ill-advised or counterproductive proposals originating elsewhere do not go unchallenged. Innovation Ohio will not urge the election or defeat of candidates for any political office, nor pursue a partisan agenda. It will, however, deploy an army of academics, practitioners, and policy experts to ensure the progressive voice is heard and included in the public policy debate
and the report which you may find informative :
In order for Lorain City Schools to make progress in the community ( all of the community not just enough of them to squeak by with a win in a levy campaign) but to get the citizens on board supporting their schools once more there has to be ” a course of action and time line to turn the bad report card into one the “city” and “her tax paying citizens” – the other two partners – can once again be proud to put on the public refrigerator door……..
MY BAD!!! What is YOURS????
I sent a link to Mark Puente less than an hour ago to the blog post
within minutes I received the following from Mark:
I was NEVER a confidential informant for the Lorain Police Department.
I asked if I could quote him on that and here is Mark’s response:
Please attribute the statement to me:” I was NEVER a confidential informant for the Lorain Police Department.”
Round three anyone ?
And thank you Mark for responding so quickly .
UPDATE: PLEASE SEE RESPONSE FROM ONE OF THE PARTIES INVOLVED IN THIS SITUATION COMMENT 1 ON THIS POST-
I have had issues with the Plain Dealer from time to time – YES! I know I have had issues with the Morning Journal ( but at least the Morning Journal issues were “personal” at the time – the relationship has progressed from those dark days I am glad to say 🙂
My focus today is the Plain Dealer – now they have been known to be a very good newspaper but there have been times when their credibility has been seen to be lacking in the past few years – from this bloggers viewpoint at least – and that is worrying. As Lorain City Schools is finding out TRUST is paramount in any relationship :
1. The Foltin Fiasco and the Open Mike Plain Dealer Blog where Foltin was allowed to change and edit a piece after publication. When I pointed out something in my blog it was changed without a by your leave- making me look like the idiot- only this idiot had copied and pasted the original post by then Mayor Craig Foltin
2. The Plain Dealer’s CRA piece ( no longer available on line- hard copy available) which pilloried certain local officials what I read( knowing the background and information) was so slanted as to be seen as a mud slide of media manipulation. I did write to the Plain Dealer pointing out the errors and the slant in that piece but they ignored me! noted here :
“As for the Plain Dealer – well if it was mentioned it certainly wasn’t mentioned on their front page as the “aspersions” cast that October day of “THREE YEARS” ago merited.
In 2007 the Plain Dealer closed the door on the “Wide Open Experiment”
1. Wide Open was an experiment. Political bloggers were sought out to blog, unfiltered, unedited. That’s what we did.
The PD’s decision to say to Jeff, essentially, either follow what we require of our traditional journalists when it comes to political donations and stop writing about a particular political official and his opponent, or leave, is an intolerable restraint for a blogger. It turns the blogger into nothing more than a traditional journalist, already subject to such restraints, who also has to blog.
Picture Source :Media Declares Open Season on Political Spouses .
3. We also dealt with:
Plain Dealer sparks ethical debate by unmasking anonymous Cleveland.com posterPublished: Friday, March 26, 2010, 7:00 AM
CLEVELAND, Ohio — By unmasking an anonymous poster at its companion Web site, The Plain Dealer finds itself in an ethical quandary, stirring a debate that balances the public’s need to know against the privacy concerns of online participants.
On one side are experts who believe the newspaper has violated a trust by exploring and revealing information about a critic. On the other are those, including Plain Dealer Editor Susan Goldberg, who believe that information is too important not to see the light of day………
In 2006 the Plain Dealer alleged their reporter Mark Puente was harrassed by the Lorain Police Dept.
Plain Dealer editor Thomas O’Hara has alleged that Lorain cops harassed members of reporter Mark Puente’s family at a high school football game and also let the air out of tires of the reporter’s car while it was parked at the Lorain City Hall.
In an investigation of his own agency, Lorain police chief Cel Rivera said the complaint was unfounded but he has forwarded the Plain Dealer’s complaint to the FBI office in Cleveland who is reportedly investigating.
and NOW we find a story from Cleveland dot com today seems the relationship of Mr. Puente with the Lorain Police Dept went from went from adversarial to advantageous- Is that the case??? :http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/11/reporter_accused_of_being_conf.html
As according to the article ( emphasis mine)
Reporter accused of being confidential informant in criminal investigation in Lorain County
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Two detectives allege that former Plain Dealer reporter Mark Puente served as a CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT in a criminal investigation into who wrote dozens of anonymous letters critical of the Lorain Police Department and its chief.
Detectives Thomas Nimon and Andrew Mathewson named Puente as the informant in sworn statements given as part of a federal lawsuit filed by former Lorain officer Joseph Montelon, whose home police raided in 2008 as part of the investigation.
Cleveland Scene Magazine – For the Record –
There are a couple of issues at stake here as I see it –
The Plain Dealer( and all print media for that matter) is held to a higher standard by the citizens and the courts ( who often use their articles in their cases) than this poor little blog – It is the print media who took this burden upon themselves to be ” fair and unbiased and to report the news not be the news”
In this instance , if the information is correct that a journalist then became a “CONFIDENTAL” police informant, then by association, the Plain Dealer has become the news and the price they have paid his “loss of trust” in the 4th estate.
Photo source http://www.tampabay.com/writers/mark-puente
I know Mark Puente personally – he has sat upon my couch on more than one occasion , when he first came to Lorain to “report”. He wanted to be a “top” investigative reporter. He was at the very start of his career with the PD.
He was, at the time, looking into Mayor Foltin and Craig Miller – and because of the adversarial situation I found myself in at the time with then Mayor Foltin over Veterans Park – Condos for Cole- and the Shawnee Fiasco – he came to talk to me. He was looking into the “Board of Control Minutes” for the City of Lorain and had questions about the money being spent for the new police department / jail etc.
PD editorial from the time– WoM blog post found here:
WoM Cole Shawnee Jail Loraine October 2007
Lorain, the largest city in Lorain County, has no jail. Its police send their criminal suspects to the county’s lockup. Some critics say the city of 68,000 people lacks a jail because Mayor Craig Foltin and Safety Director Craig Miller diverted available money that could have been used to replace the antiquated facility that was closed last year. They say it was spent on City Hall improvements, downtown lighting, landscaping and the like.
I couldn’t be too much help but kept in touch and used Mark as a PD contact with the Compass House situation or when I needed to get information out to the Plain Dealer.
AND readers please remember THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS OFF THE RECORD – you have to trust the “person” won’t “out you” . I was shocked recently that locally a “source was outed “ to another person involved in a story – I knew who, what, where and why but when another participant of the situation told me “who” had been the person to contact the media” I said:
are you sure and was met with
Oh yes when XXXXXXX interviewed me I was told it was YYYYYYYY who had contacted them
………. SIGH I filed that journalist away in don’t contact them file.
https://www.spj.org/quill_issue.asp?REF=1848 – protecting a source
If indeed a Plain Dealer journalist at the time – Mark Puente- used this avenue to get the story or for what ever reason- then I am extremely disappointed for he has blackened not only his journalistic reputation but those who ” report”.
Society of Professional Journalist – Code of Ethics:
Channel 19- http://www.woio.com/story/14393438/fbi-probe-controversial-raid-by-the-lorain-pd-catches-eye-of-the-fbi
Plain Dealer ? Mark Puente? – SAY IT ISN’T SO??????????????????
American Thanksgiving – celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has officially been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.
America is not alone in “giving thanks” Britain has been celebrating since pagan times –
Britain, thanks have been given for successful harvests since pagan times. Harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23). In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. The celebrations on this day usually include singing hymns, praying, and decorating churches with baskets of fruit and food in the festival known as Harvest Festival, Harvest Home or Harvest Thanksgiving.
As Europeans discovered the new world they brought with them their own cultures and beliefs- and adapted them to their new locations.
I celebrated American Thanksgiving for the Americans in my family- truth be told I resented having to cook what was originally my family’s traditional Turkey “Christmas dinner” a month early- it spoiled the lead up to our English Christmas but a deal was struck- a compromise . If the American part of the family decorated the outside of the house with lights etc then I would cook a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. For many years this was the “tradition” of this small family and I changed up the traditional Christmas fare- although the gingered apricots never went down too well 🙂
I remember the first dinner, my now son-in-law, Jim, attended at Thanksgiving-he was expecting, I am sure, to watch the parade and football etc. However, he was handed row upon row of lights and a huge wreath for the front of the house and a ladder- they had to work before eating. He has never forgotten that experience of this particular intermingling of culture.
Those times continued – the next Thanksgiving that stands out was the one when my son had broken up with Angela ( Lombardi) ritchey DO. That was a Thanksgiving I remember too well and quite honestly wished I had kept my mouth shut then maybe she and her family would not have been part of our lives and my son’s death. ( another post).
Artwork-The “Circus- by Chris Ritchey
I wish like Rip Van Winkle I could sleep through these up coming days and American Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving Day I saw my son intubated- heard from stranger he was dying and as bad as it was being alone with that news it was worse so much worse when the Clan Lombardi and their gypsy caravan in tow descended into that waiting room with their left over cold mashed potatoes, dry turkey and pumpkin pies and nut bread.
I was sickened to my heart and soul by their actions. I still gag at the very thought of them and their leftovers in that ” ICU waiting room”. I couldn’t understand their thinking, when to all intents and purposes we had been told just a couple of hours before Chris was dying– and how they could “eat”? . It still sends ripples of disgust through my being as I think of the swapping of recipes that afternoon waiting for my son to breathe his last so they could get on with their “plans”.
Last year I pulled my home around me – I tried everything to wipe the “Clan Lombardi, Vyka, Gonzales, Gott and Zaworski”, the hangers-on and Thanksgiving from my mind – to get rid of the bile that was rising in my throat at the thought of the previous year and the utter lack of compassion/consideration shown to Chris’ family by the pillars of the their respective churches.
I retreated into a world of grey, devoid of compassion or faith, compounded by their actions and those of their ilk -the basic human fundamentals tainted and tarnished, an ugly truth of hypocrisy now mirrored in their image.
I attended a function recently and who should be there but their Father Daniel O. Divis-
I didn’t notice him at first – he was in civilian clothes- Nikki did notice him. It was one of those functions that had I said and did what I wanted to- others– would have had a well deserved celebration ruined. I kept my countenance.
However, it turned out he ended up right behind us in line. I looked upon the face and into the eyes of the man who had knowingly enabled my son to be taken from his family buried in a plot not of our faith or tradition or Chris ‘s ( knowing full well Chris lack of support for the Catholic Church ) and interred him without his family knowing.The ‘ man of God” who helped take closure from a grief stricken mother , father ,sister……….
As I looked at the person of Father Daniel Divis he gave me an asinine little quirky smile , crooked his head to one side with a slight shoulder shrug. I only hope he felt the sheer coldness that permeated the stare I gave back to him; he certainly turned away. He should be thankful this year for a lot of things including the fact that once in a while I have to be circumspect out of respect to those I hold dear. As a “man of God” I have to wonder does he follow the teachings of compassion and love of the mother and father- couldn’t prove it by this family!
Thanksgiving 2011 – the dilemma came upon me – no longer will I hold an American Thanksgiving in this house- there is no longer a need to decorate this house for Christmas – those traditions are gone from this “old house”.
But my American family is growing- and a little boy and his new “brother/sister” will need traditions and happy memories upon which to build their own traditions. I cannot pull my home around me this year I will travel the short in mileage but for ME, the huge journey to my daughter’s.
I will help her cook for this Thanksgiving and Nikki will start her own traditions, Nana will eat lamb chops, Jim can watch football, my husband will walk the woods where his last spoke with his son, we will get through with the help of a little boy and I will try not to remember Thanksgiving past…………..
ED NOTE: I did not wish to break the thread of the Lorain City Schools posts
as I felt the rest of the series ( The LCS levy) would be better served after the Thanksgiving break. That being said- there is one situation I think needs to be highlighted in the LCS discussion. Even in garnering thoughts about the “GOOD” found ( off the blog) emails worried about expressing their opinions- how sad- and as one comment stated:
For a real dialogue to take place, everyone needs to be as comfortable speaking their minds at public/townhall/board meetings as they are when cloaked in their anonymous online identities
I went through my “drafts” and found the following thoughts I had jotted down a few months ago.
I am in the middle of a “thought” and a question. Maybe I have lost the plot as I continue my journey , trying to find rhyme and reason? There are certain situations in my “time line of learning” that have led me to ask
“what are we so afraid of and why do we let these things happen?”
It started with Henry the VIII, well the television program, ” The Tudors” actually. As I watched Henry and the Roman Catholic Church and all the ins and outs, deviousness on both sides, the power plays- I thought:
OK! so Henry was king -so he had the power. but who gives even a king power – and why do we the people put up with the abuses of power by Kings, Popes and governments?
There are those that enable and those that cover up and that brings me to another thought who are “they afraid of” what is the benefit of enabling ( money, power over others, prestige, control) that they need to cover up?
We the people- the great unwashed– the fear (that collectively) we may rise up– so it is imperative “we the people” are kept somewhat in the dark because we just might light a candle of truth that will start a fire. That is the fear by the few- case in point – The happenings in the Middle East in recent months- after years of suffering under various regimes the wave of the great unwashed washed away their abusers .
However, for the most part (there are of course other reasons, apathy and nobody is listening anyway) BUT –We the people -seem, on the whole, are scared and don the “chastity belt of censure” ourselves and give the key to the powers that be . We know of things happening but for the most part we are silent – WHY?
We are scared- what of ?
In Henry’s time having our heads lopped off and our livelihoods, properties, churches confiscated, tortured and or imprisoned for years in dank dark dungeons, fodder for the rats and vermin or even burned at the stake – not a good way to leave the planet- yet millions throughout history suffered these fates.
If you were Roman Catholic you were caught between the King and the Pope one denied you your place in heaven ( errrr that is still happening even locally but at least they can’t sent out the “hit squad” from the Vatican anymore as they did in Henry’s time) the other denied you your life.
In Salem the mere mention of “witch” caused hysteria and a community to turn upon themselves.
In Nazi Germany, losing your lives, your family being treated to the unspeakable tortures thrust upon the “innocents” – it took that same nation who had experienced Henry to stand up and they did so alone for quite a few months :)-
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Granted these examples are on the top of the scale of retribution so what now causes concern – why aren’t we speaking out, righting or pointing out what we feel is wrong even locally in Lorain for instance- they can’t literally lopp off our heads , burn us at the stake but….. fear is still at the core
Fear of someone who has a control over your livelihood becoming angry and using that power to cause you to lose that job , your immediate family bearing the brunt for your actions/words or losing standing in the community.
Fear of being pilloried in the press – loss of business
Being accused of being a nut case, radical or a trouble maker-
Or being sued.
Ah! you see it all the time in the comments in the forums “ you can be sued for that remark” – FYI – a short lesson in libel and slander
“Libel is any Defamation that can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard.
In general, there are four defenses to libel or slander: truth, consent, accident, and privilege. The fact that the allegedly defamatory communication is essentially true is usually an absolute defense; the defendant need not verify every detail of the communication, as long as its substance can be established.
Basically if what you write or say is truth you have the right in this country to speak that truth- But the mere thought of being sued ( especially by those with deep pockets) can destroy whatever money you do have-it can cost you everything to prove your innocence ( until proven guilty is the creed of LAW – not the LAWYER’S creed)- that fear also comes into play- so most keep their heads down and try to fly under the radar because that threat is always there ” Let someone else take up the cause” .
However there are also people who will support your right to free speech
the Institute for Justice is one of them who have had great success from eminent domain-to school vouchers- to freedom of speech.
The discussion on Kelly’s post basically comes down to an open and honest conversation with Lorain City Schools- without fear of retribution down the line for speaking “your ” truth/ opinions as it pertains to situations within the Lorain City School district –
The problem, as I see it is:
How does Lorain City Schools guarantee to those that wish be involved in the conversation that down the line in the months and years to come there will be no “pay back”? Lorain City Schools has a tough road because they will have to undo the practices experienced in past years.
As for me I will remember my son’s words and continue to live by them
“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable , if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you”- Christopher D. Ritchey