Update: Parents: Your forum

I’m going to add emailed comments at the bottom instead of posting them as a comment.

By: Diane Benjamin

Kids are suffering from closed schools. Parents are suffering and watching their kids fall behind. Meanwhile, Tri-Valley is holding in-person classes while Unit 5 and District 87 are closed. The Unit 5 school board had the audacity to pass a property tax increase while not educating your children.

I was asked to create a forum so parents have a more public place to vent than a private Facebook page. The schools aren’t listening. You can either post comments below or email comments to me and I will post them without your name if you want. You can comment without using your real name.

This is the email I received:

What is your story?

Something else parents need to be aware of is the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) is meeting on December 15th. They will be discussing:

Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning

Below is some of what’s included and why parents need to demand JCAR rejects this indoctrination:

Email the committee here: [email protected]

Sample email, please don’t copy it. Use your own words.

I urge all members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to reject the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CRTL) standards as published in the Illinois Register Volume 44 Issue 37 pages 14574 through 14629. Not all “other worldviews” deserve the moral equivalence to the Judeo-Christian values that this country has thrived upon since its founding. These amendments go beyond examination and analysis of “other worldviews” by altering teaching methods, pedagogy as referenced in the amendment. Educators will be required to promote all “other worldviews” with moral equivalency at the peril of their employment. These changes are not good for our children. These changes are not good for our communities. These changes are not good for Illinois. These changes are not good for our society. 

Policies like this are why kids grow up hating their country. Parents need to take a stand.


I’d love to hear what parents are thinking and how they are coping. I’m thankful my kids are out of school! Your email address will not appear if you post below.

It has been the most emotionally draining time in my adult life. I don’t say that lightly, I have been in some pretty difficult situations and this one has been the most challenging of all. I am the mother of a kindergartner and 3rd grader who is diagnosed as ADHD. The work given to both is above their technological level which requires a parent’s involvement to complete the work. My children also have completely different schedules and trying to get them on to each meeting is a full time job itself. I also work full time remote so the work give throughout the day unfortunately has to be completed after I get done with work. This makes for a really long evening.. we are spending 2-3 hrs a night for my third grader and about an hr for my kindergartener. This time that is meant for family is spent getting this work done ( with lots of tears and begging), cooking, cleaning, baths etc. I start work a 7 am and don’t stop moving until around 9 pm and by then kids need to be in bed. I wish we could afford someone to help but these daycare places are charging outrageous prices when I looked into the cost it would be about 1k a week for my two kids. This is just not doable for a middle class family. I emailed the teacher of my third grader at least twice asking to get special education involved for my 3rd grader because she is struggling big time with this setting. I was brushed off and told just to lessen the amount of work. I have unfortunately had to make a conscious decision to not pressure them do extras homework like pe/art/music etc.. it’s just too much. I see that both of them are struggling and not really advancing. They are constantly refusing to pay attention and are not interested in this type of setting. Kids just do not have this type of attention span, even neurotypical children. When we went back to hybrid for a few weeks I could just see how happy they were after school, things were calmer here, I didn’t feel like I was drowning.

For the first month my son’s computer had problems, so he only got one or two full days of remote learning. He is a special education  student so he is at least  6 months or more behind due to last semester, not having home internet, and this semesters problems with technology. We have had issues with daycare provider taking time off and finding back up because of covid.  I know schools are not made to be daycare  providers…however, this semester alone because i am a proxmity worker, I am paying  the equivalent of a semester at Heartland for the technology not to work. I get countless  emails from school every day saying my son missed this class or an assignment.  We are probably a month plus behind in homework  and there’s nothing I can do because I work.

I have no clue what I’m supposed to do while at work.  I have to remind the school about 10 times a week that I’m at work, not working from home. 

Thank you for taking this on. It is a big job with a lot of unhappy people. I have reached out to all of the board members, president of the teacher’s union, The Pantagraph and WGLT for issues earlier this year. I still feel like they district is not understanding our frustration which is why I’m reaching out. 
Our daughter is in 2nd grade and has been an excellent student since pre-school to the point that when we sit down for parent teacher conferences, we’re told it’s almost a waste of time because she is so good and participates. Now is a totally different situation. It is a constant struggle to get her to pay attention to the online class throughout the day and to do the work after class because it’s not a classroom setting and there is no direct contact with her teacher. We have tried everything to get this to work but it is not working. A couple days ago she told me she wasn’t learning anything in school. As an 8yo, that is heartbreaking to hear. On a good day, we’re done with classes at 1:30pm, on asynchronous days, we’re done within 2hrs. Our kids are being failed. They aren’t even getting a full day of education. If I were to start clocking the actual time spent on class, I think everyone would be shocked. On several occasions, our teach has had a 30min class, is done in 15min and tells the kids to take a break. All education is important but at the elementary level, they are learning so many fundamental things that they need to succeed in the future, but it’s just not happening anymore. It is an absolute disgrace.

I am so grateful that you are willing to speak up for our kids.  I feel like NO ONE else is listening.  I could go on and on about the horrors of remote learning, the tears, the anger, the frustration, the sadness, the burnout, the regression, the fear, the loneliness, the unrealistic expectations and above all the toll it is taking on our family.  We are pretty much paying private school prices (at this point we have seriously considered private school with how much we are paying for childcare) because we are a two income household.  I don’t have the luxury to be able to work from home and get any work done like so many parents.  My husband does work from home but he has a rather demanding job that takes 100% of his concentration during the hours of 8-5 pm.  He can not be expected to answer the hundreds of questions our kids have daily because they don’t understand something or they missed what the teacher is saying.

I should probably mention that we have three kids all home doing remote learning.  A Kindergartener (at this point is there really any point to have her in school?) which we will seriously consider have repeating Kindergarten next year, a 2nd grader (who is our resilient one and it actually fairing rather well but would WAY prefer to be in school IN PERSON) and a 4th grader who is taking this the hardest by far.  He is the one I am the most concerned about.  He is missing so much.  He never had anxiety before this but now he is anxious daily because he can’t keep up with what is expected of him.  He never knows when an assignment is due and really needs teacher interaction to help explain so much.  He is smart but is falling behind more and more every day.  He thrives on the social aspect of school and is a kinetic learner so sitting at a desk in front of a screen all day every day does NOTHING for his educational needs.  He is showing signs of depression and so much anger.  The likes I have never seen before.  We are scared of what will happen if he doesn’t return in person soon.  The outbursts have gotten so bad. It has pretty much ruined our relationship with him because he looks at us as a “teacher” as well as a “parent” and we can really only be one or the other.

The thing that makes us the most furious is that all these other schools are managing to go in person and have since September.  I know a few have come home for a week here and there but if they can do it, why can’t we?  It’s the schools that require financial resources such as Corpus Christie, St. Mary’s, Central Catholic, Trinity Lutheran and Cornerstone but there is also Tri-Valley, El Paso, Lexington, Leroy, Heyworth (I know they are remote now but went back from the beginning and I know will return in person after the holidays).  The precedent being set is that if you have money you can send your kids to school.  It’s creating a greater economic divide that, let’s face it, already exists to some extent in our community.  We don’t make enough to afford private education for three kids and if we could afford to live in the Tri-Valley school district, we would.  Right now I am using almost my entire salary to pay for childcare so I can keep my job in case we do eventually go back to school (which doesn’t even seem likely at this point).

There has been NO communication on what may happen or if there is even a consideration of hybrid learning in January.  Parents need to plan and the schools need to do better.  I feel like no one is standing up for the kids.  They are the ones suffering the most right now.  Yes this SUCKS for us as parents but we are adults, the kids didn’t ask for this and shouldn’t be expected to grin and bear it.  I am not even going to go into the whole metrics thing and I am very well aware that there is a pandemic in our country.  But if a retail store can be open, why can’t a school?  If a gym can be open, why can’t a school?  If a restaurant can be open, why can’t a school?  Why isn’t school the FIRST place to remain open after the hospitals, doctor’s offices and grocery/pharmacy stores???  I can give up my trips to Target, Target will be fine.  Walmart will be fine. Chilis will be fine.  Our kids will not be fine!

Please do not post my name as I would like to remain anonymous.  I am not one for social media but I hope the more parents that speak up, the more we can be heard and listened to!!!

I also want to point out that the teachers are doing an AMAZING job.  We are so lucky to have these phenomenal teachers who didn’t ask for this either.  Each of our teachers have expressed their desire to return to in person learning.  This has nothing to do with our incredible teachers.  This is the administration and the school board.  We are disappointed and disgusted with how this was handled from the beginning.

19 thoughts on “Update: Parents: Your forum

  1. I think Unit 5 is doing the best they can with remote learning. Unfortunately, the children are falling behind with learning as a whole. A teacher cannot see a child struggling from a monitor. This struggle is transferred to parents, grandparents, daycare workers or babysitters. It becomes a practice of catching up without learning the curriculum. The social detriment of home learning is the travesty of online learning.
    Kids have been lacking social interaction since March. They become introverts within their own households. The science seems to present itself to in class learning . The damage will last a long time if we haven’t already caused permanent damage

    1. A very good summation of the problems. What’s worse our schools, particularly Unit 5, have been handed an impossible mitigation model that is designed to prolong the pandemic and force schools back to remote learning once they try to go back to in person learning. Unit 5 needs to revise their mitigation plans to be more conducive to in person learning. They also lack the backbone to stand up to the Teacher’s Union that is driving most if not all of what’s happening at Unit 5. I don’t expect a return to in person learning this school year and with my tax increase last night, they’ve got some answering to do.

      Added to this is the reprehensible actions of the IHSA. Interscholastic activities including sports are an integral part of the learning process that our children are being denied. That too is adding to the problems of socialization, a lack of exercise and an overall unhealthy outlook in life. Our kids have nothing to look forward to. The IHSA’s handing of the winter sports season has been particularly egregious. They keep moving the goal post. Now we’re being told possibly sometime in 2021. Try walking through that with a Senior in high school who wants to have one last sports season before graduating. After abandoning their decision making to JB Pritzker in the fall, the IHSA tried to take it back in the winter sports season and it didn’t work out too well for them. They never should have given it up in the first place and now that they have, they’ll never get it back. It’s time for high schools across Illinois to scrap the IHSA.

      1. The teachers and the union have found out about plans about 15 minutes before parents have. Don’t lay blame there.

      2. Stop trying to lay blame on the teachers or union. Teachers don’t find out the plan until 15 minutes before parents do.

  2. Was an interesting story on the squawk box this a.m. about kids staying at home and learning fractions, because they are helping their parents cook, do mechanic work, etc. I think it was TRYING to justify kids being home.
    BUT, if the parents don’t SPEND TIME with the kids and be responsible, you can GUESS what’s going to happen.

  3. While my kids are not in school yet, I don’t have one single friend in Dist 87 or Unit 5 who’s kids are doing well. They miss the structure of school, their friends, and just being out of the house. This online learning is a huge disservice to kids, parents, and teachers. Almost every school district surrounding BloNo is in person. For the most part, they were doing ok. Kids need to be in school, period. Everyone is suffering.

  4. I AGREE COOKIE!! MY niece WOULD HAVE been on varsity basketball this year, and she’s done all this work for NOTHING!!!
    That really sends a great message to our NEXT GENERATION!! Work hard and the Democrats, politicians and power patrol will ruin your life..

  5. I heard about a month ago half of normal west football players were not eligible. That means they were not passing 5 courses.

  6. As unfortunate as it is, I think it all comes down to liability. There is a fear that if they have in-person sessions, and a massive amount of people get sick, and potentially die, that the decision to host in-person sessions, will come back on the district. I don’t agree with it, and to your point, other districts are making the decision to get kids back in school where they belong, but it would be interesting to see if there was communication between the district and their legal representation/insurance company on this topic. I have a feeling it was all about “risk management” more than their opinion of doing what is “right” for the kids by having them learn remotely. Had this happened in the 90s or prior, my bet would be that everyone would be in class right now. The world is a much different place right now, unfortunately.

      1. That’s an interesting take, Diane. I had not considered the teachers union being an influencer in the decision on whether or not kids should be in class. It makes sense though. Any way to expose that is, indeed, what is going on here?

      2. Speak for yourself. Perhaps you don’t mind being a guinea pig and catching the virus.

        We just remembered Pearl Harbor day that day saw 2,300 dead Americans. 9/11 claimed 2,300, According to a database kept by the COVID Tracking Project, 3,067 across the country were confirmed to have died of complications from COVID-19 on December 1. The U.S. surpassed the 3,000 death mark for the first time on December 2 when 3,088 deaths linked to the virus were recorded.

        Children especially young children may not get COV-19 but they are certainly capable of transmitting the virus. What of the parent who is a cancer survivor? That parent’s chances of surviving the virus is not good. The same is true of any parent or grandparent with any pre-existing conditions.

        But falling behind and education is not your main rant, it’s because you want your rather narrow religious views promoted in public schools. If you want your religious views taught, send you children to the appropriate religious school. Religion does not belong in our public schools. I certainly don’t want any of my children taught your narrow minded nonsense.

  7. Unit 5 Ford is a bunch of morons. They’re competent when there’s nothing to handle or deal with. Ever since the busing issued came up they’ve been Clueless. The border around to sit on that board all look at each other and Pat each other on the back stating good job when all they are doing is screwing up the district. Nice job idiots! Go screw something else up. Quit screwing up the kids’s education

    1. There’s still time to collect signatures to run for Unit5 Board in April! Aimed at All complainers, not you personally, but nothing will change if nobody is willing to actually step forward to make the needed changes happen!

      * Support * Recruit * Become * Good Candidates! *

      Contact me or any other Good local office-holder or candidate for the get-started basics.

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