Monday, February 26, 2007

Throwing Lewin under the bus - why it is bad when a superintendent lies to parents.

The other day I did a little run down of the city council candidates and wrote that
Then we have Liz Lewin who has never been anything beyond an unprepared and incompetent in my eyes. I have never dealt with Liz where she hasn't lied directly and with purpose to me. If you dig into this at all, you will find that the scuttlebutt is that Liz cut a wide swath of lies, incompetence and deception in her time as District 95. The best her supporters in District 95 have to say is, "we have had worse." I sure am not going to vote for a her and in a race of weak and unproven candidates, she is the one to avoid based on her lack of ethics IMHO.
Had a comment that said I was making stuff up about Liz, so I thought I would write up my first encounter with her here and let you decide.

When we moved to town 5+ years ago, our oldest child was home schooled and about the right age to start playing a band instrument. My wife went by Winkler School and asked the Principal if home schoolers were allowed to take band. It turns out you were allowed to take band if you jump through a couple of simple hoops - register with the state as a home schooler, have your shots, that sort of thing.

So my wife did what was required and off the kid goes to band. Turns out the band teacher (Sara Hansen) for 4th - 8th graders was really good and everything goes well. The kid plays in the Christmas concert, even does a little solo. We are pretty happy, it is nice when the teacher is a star and the kid practices.

In February, we get a call from "Dr. Lewin" about 9:00 PM on a Sunday night and she tells my wife the kid can't do band the next day or every again. When my wife asks why, Liz tells her she isn't following a correct curriculum - wife says we are both following one and it isn't a requirement according to their rules. Liz says your kid does have her shots, my wife says she does. Liz says your kid isn't registered with the State, wife says she is. I think there were a couple more lies in there, but Liz basically went through the list of possibilities seeing if we would go away.

Wife hangs up and she is pretty confused and a little pissed. Like any super smart person she starts doing the research. We find that in Illinois home schooled children don't have to be allowed to participate in extra circular school functions until high school. The District 95 rules say you can participate as long as you jump through the hoops (which we did).

Next morning the moment the State office opened my wife called and talked to the one person who is in charge of registering home schoolers. They had chatted before when my wife registered the kid in the first place. Wife tells state employee about the Liz's call and what was said. The nice State employee tells my wife that District 95 hasn't called to check our kid's status, ever. While they are chatting, the State employee tells my wife that she just got a handed written message that Liz Lewin had called and was checking the status of our kid.

When Liz called us at home and told us our kid couldn't participate anymore, she hadn't check her status with the state. Liz hadn't read her own district's written policies. She hadn't done her homework and she lied. In my book, this makes her unethical and a lier. How about you?

At this point I called Nancy Stemper (AKA - spineless school board head) and told her what was going on. Nancy's first question was, "have you told the papers?" Jerk. I pointed out that I didn't really care what they did next year, but if they threw my 10 year old out of her class at this point, against their written policy, I was going to sue them. Nancy said, she would look into it. Nancy Stemper called back a few days latter and said the kid was back in the class.

At this point, my wife decided that District 95 was wacko and started lining up a different path. Hired the band teacher for private lesson. Found another group to play with, etc.

About 4 weeks later District 95 changed their written policy about home schoolers taking extra circular activities officially. Turns out you can't kick kids out of school by changing the rules in mid-year legally in our state. I check with the lawyers and this is illegal and the school board knew it. So, the question is do you want to sue the wacko school board or just realize that they are losers and walk away?

As is my tradition in times like this, I started to research Liz Lewin and the District 95 Board and system. The good news is that Liz supported her teachers and earned some respect from the ones in middle management, but hey if you pay most people they will like you. Liz is also known to show up for meetings unprepared, not understand details of important items and there are lots of reports of back biting and double dealing running around in town. In addition, District 95's results weren't good when Liz started as superintendent, and have only gotten worse.

As an example of how bad District 95 is today, the new superintendent quit after only 6 months. There was some excuse about his father/wife/dog being sick, but the insiders say that nothing has changed in his life. The people who are sick now, were sick 6 months before. If things were terrible in the school district, why didn't the new Super take a leave instead of quitting? They are conducting an internal only search to replace him. Sounds like the Titanic doesn't it?

I am biased against Liz Lewin, because I have a clear case where she lied directly (where there is no confusion or misunderstanding, she lied multiple times about multiple issues), went out of her way to attack a child who had done nothing but be a excellent student and who was following the written rules.

Ignoring the rules, lies, deception and terrible work results are great reasons not to elect Liz Lewin to city council. I certainly hope we don't, this isn't the person to serve this city.

Your comments are welcome.


Anonymous said...

If you think this is "lying," you've not lived much. Your irritation is understandable, but I don't see how this rises to the level of lying. To each his own I suppose.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Actually, I think this is one of the biggest lies I have ever been told. You don't have kids do you?

Formicid said...

A lie is a lie. Plain and simple. If a person is willing to lie about Peter's daughter's eligability to perform in the school band, what else is the person capable of lying about? I would not want a person to represent me in government that sees fit to lie when the mood strikes her or to get her way.