Debate facts: the Cliffs Notes version

The video from the League of Women Voters Debate on March 12 is now available; the D115 segment starts around 1 hour 15 minutes in.

We encourage you to watch it—it's very revealing—but in addition we offer the following abbreviated version of some of the points covered.

1. ACT scores: There has not been a downward trend. Up to 2012, scores were reported only for students who took the test under "standard" conditions. Starting in 2013, they’ve been reported in three ways: standard, with accommodations (eg, extra time for students with IEPs), and combined. When you compare "apples to apples," scores are at an all-time high. See a graph here.

2. Tom Nemickas and the D115 contract with IBJI: Contrary to the opposition's claims, Dr. Nemickas is absolutely eligible to be on the ballot. His employer, Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI), has a contract with D115 to provide athletic training services. Neither Dr. Nemickas nor IBJI profits from the contract, as it only covers costs. Read more here.

3. Detracking: D115 is actually not "detracking." Various skill and engagement levels remain at the high school, including AP, Honors, CP, and more. The school is simply removing barriers to students jumping the tracks.

Kids develop unevenly and sometimes make rapid growth in a short time. Rather than decide in 8th grade where a student should be when he or she graduates, the new system simply permits growth that is self-directed and organic. Summer school classes and support are available to students to enable them to challenge themselves. It is part and parcel of the growth mindset that the school is trying to inculcate across tracks.

A low point of the debate occurred when the leader of the opposition group remarked that AP classes should be only for those students who are "entitled" to them. A current LFHS student responded to this shocking claim better than we ever could; read it here.

4. Administrative cost comparisons: More apples to oranges. The opposition has been citing some figures to support their claim that D115 has an excessive ratio of administrators to students. They choose large districts for their comparisons, hoping people won't realize that there's a certain level of unavoidable administrative overhead involved in running a school district, large or small. Also, some positions may be reported as either administrative or faculty, making it even harder to draw any meaningful comparisons.

Many more good points were covered in the debate - hope you can take the time to watch the video!

taking notes