patterte (Dawn Patterson)


Comment history

All but 1 Lawrence school meet 'Standard of Excellence'

Yes, other schools have "poor neighborhoods" but Kennedy has the lowest percentage of low SES students of any school in the district. And it's not just the socio-economic status that's at issue-- for example, doctoral students with children might be low income, but highly educated and therefore more likely to prep their kids for school. Not a lot of PhD students living around Kennedy. (And your insults to their grammar are just rude-- they have a right to their opinion even if they can't express themselves as well as you imagine yourself to.)

It's not just the money. It's the education level, it's the lack of familiarity with the way schools work, it's parents holding down three jobs, and the lack of commitment by the community to support these families. Shutting down Kennedy means these kids become the bullied poor kids wherever they go. And there's nothing exceptional going on at any other school that's going to magically, suddenly bring kids up to AYP who have entered grade school significantly behind their peers in other schools. In fact, it is a testament to Kennedy that by middle school and high school, standards are being met. These kids don't magically test out once they hit 6th grade-- YEARS of education by the dedicated Kennedy staff brings them there.

I know this because my kids go to Kennedy. I sat through a year of consolidation meetings hearing folks extol the virtues of their schools, celebrating some asinine things in the attempt to save themselves. But the idea of closing a school of kids who NEED a local school, a great school, because they aren't progressing fast enough-- well that's just as asinine. Closing Kennedy would just be one more way of quitting these kids.

September 19, 2012 at 5:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Report criticizes voter ID law in Kansas, other states

Show me massive voter fraud. This law will disenfranchise many, many more voters than the number of voters who vote fraudulently (which is estimated, and not proven.) No one has ever proven 'massive' voter fraud-- there are ideas about it, yes. Few prosecutions. This thing is fundamentally a politician-created 'problem.'

Think about it: if you aren't legally in this country, is showing up to VOTE where you could get caught going to be first on your to-do list? No way. Lay low, don't get caught.

July 18, 2012 at 9:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Spending doesn’t equal achievement

Today's tax-supported funding per pupil is roughly the same as the rate in 1998. Ask yourself: does housing cost more or less than in 1998? Gas? Clothing? Technology? A gallon of milk?


What does more money buy? It buys teachers who are willing to stay in the state because they are being paid competitively. It means teachers can afford to live in the town in which they work. It buys programs to bring struggling students up, and achieving students farther. It buys social workers to notice the student who is struggling at home, or who may have undiagnosed issues prohibiting them from their full potential. It buys full time schools nurses, so that teachers can spend time with students, instead of dealing with medical issues for which they are not trained. It buys up-to-date technology, books, and facilities that support learning. More money for more teachers means smaller class sizes, which translates to more one-on-one time-- less students slipping through the cracks-- which can translate to less drop-outs.

For communities that do not have the tax base to supplement the cost-per-pupil through local initiatives, state education dollars mean a fair shake at an equitable education.

While state funding HAS increased since Montoy, the amount-per-pupil received is almost $500 dollars less per pupil than that court mandate. For Lawrence schools, this equates to over $5 million dollars that is currently not being spent on initiatives that could help our students.

NCLB is a flawed system, and there is little argument that changes need to be made. However, we fail our students by under-funding their education. By failing those students, we fail to invest in the long-term success of Kansas.

March 30, 2012 at 11:05 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Comparison of large, small class sizes underscores importance of personalized interactions

I agree with all three points. Hillcrest accepts transfers it cannot fit because of the need to keep the ESL/non-ESL students within a balanced ratio (they shoot for no more than 60% ESL.) Soooo... if you moved out half of the ESL kids (who are being bused from all over, and could be effectively taken anywhere-- how about Prairie Park which is not even within 70% of capacity) to a new cluster, then not only would it remove the ESL students, but also reduce the number of non-ESL transfers that are taken to balance the ESL kids out.

Interesting point: only 40% of the kids at Hillcrest live "in district." Take away the ESL kids that are "in district" (and therefore still bused) then that number drops to less than 20%.

Class sizes matter-- but the space is THERE. Re-adjusting boundaries makes this possible.

March 21, 2012 at 9:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

No closings

Just to point out-- there were only proposals to build one new school. The others were expansions packaged with much-needed renovations.

February 16, 2012 at 8:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School consolidation working group won’t pursue specific closings

Honestly, I don't think there is a "right" answer. Each side has points of value. Each side is passionate and emphatic in their reasoning. And, ultimately, I believe that each person *thinks* they are right, and trying to do what they believe is best.

At base, the conversation is more about where we are going as a district. What are our priorities? What do we, as a community, value? When we favor preserving one thing, that necessarily means that something else becomes less of a priority. Limited resources mean making those decisions.

A great example-- four schools in Lawrence still do not have all day kindergarten. There are no additional monies in the offing-- state or otherwise. But the district has made all-day kindergarten a priority. If USD497 is to implement full day programs at the remaining four schools, that money has to be found from somewhere.

Maybe the community decides that neighborhood schools are high on that priority list, and if so, then that's something that we must act to preserve. But if so, we understand that other things must become less of a priority for our resources. I believe this is exactly the point Ms. Sanburn made early on when the group came to the board.

It will be interesting to see what the board does with the recommendations of the group, if anything.

February 14, 2012 at 7:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School consolidation working group won’t pursue specific closings

This whole thing was written well before a single person was named to this committee. Three of the new board members were against closure, and it wouldn't have mattered what anyone said, or what data was presented. Apparently, the fourth vote has spoken. And that's all it takes. I don't blame the committee for being unwilling, as Ms. White put it, "to play the villain to their hero."

Both groups will recommend a bond. So, there is unity there. They just don't agree on whether or not is is efficacious to leave small schools open, losing a certain economy of scale. It is a difference of opinion, each with data and research on their side.

Not surprisingly, it is the three schools who are on the "close no schools" side who are most at risk: a non-ADA compliant dilapidated building that needs almost $2B in repairs, a school in which only 100 kids are in residence (in a neighborhood where there will be no growth because young families with kids cannot afford to live there), and a school that is one section in almost every grade.

February 14, 2012 at 5:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Firm maps out school consolidation group's proposals

They are on the block strictly because they are the smallest, with less than 200 kids. Running a school at that number is inefficient, and the site is small and not ideal to be built out for a larger number of students.

January 31, 2012 at 10:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Firm maps out school consolidation group's proposals

ESL is not about a building. There is no proposal to end ESL clusters, and the charge is for the change to occur in THREE TO FIVE years. If we can't move a cluster to a different physical structure, with three years of planning, without it staying successful, then I think that's a fault of the program (and maybe even the folks who are trying to protect it by refusing to believe it can not be successful in any other formation.)

To say that we are going to keep one school because we don't want to spread an award winning program (therefore multiplying the number of students who would come into contact with that program)-- and yet cram over 500 low SES kids into one school from NOT award winning schools.... well that just doesn't make any sense.

I think it's time for folks to end the protectionism and think about what's best for *all* kids involved.

January 31, 2012 at 10:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School consolidation options due from task force next month

Right, those Kennedy reps who quit are totally uninvested, what with one having MAJOR surgery and the other one having her house burn down.

Get real.

Kennedy, ironically, was the only school to volunteer to be closed, hoping that consolidation would bring the resources it should already have with the lowest test scores and the highest number of low-SES kids. Everyone else just peed around their territory talking about how wonderful they were and why they shouldn't be closed.

January 12, 2012 at 9:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )