Updated September 21, 2023 3:30 pm
By Brian Massie, A Watchman on the Wall
The article entitled “Revelations of a Retired Mentor Teacher” was published by us on August 15, 2023. We were contacted by Lake County citizens asking if they wrote a response to the article would we publish it our our website. We told them that we gladly provide them with a platform without any edits.
RESPONSE TO REVELATIONS OF A RETIRED MENTOR TEACHER
by Kathy Baka / David Lima / Bambi Vargo
September 20, 2023
We appreciate the opportunity to respond to the article that appeared in the
August 13, (sic) 2023 edition of Lobbyist for Citizens entitled “Revelations of a
Retired Mentor Teacher”.
Although we acknowledge a person’s right to privacy and choice to remain
anonymous, our response to some of the content is made more difficult by
not knowing who authored the article. We feel the article’s credibility and its
content is compromised by this fact. It would be important to know where
this individual taught, subjects taught at what grade level, when they were
employed in the Mentor system and in what capacity, since the system
employs many individuals in varied capacities. Despite this limitation we
would like to share our responses to some of the comments made in the
The school system is in demise. The school system is not in demise. The
2022-2023 Ohio state school report card released by the Ohio Department of
Education found that out of a 5 point rating scale Mentor scored an overall
rating of 4.5. That puts Mentor in the top 28% of the 607 statewide school
districts. Components of this overall rating considers Achievement (4),
Progress (4), Gap Closing (5), Graduation (4) and Early Literacy (4). Mentor
ranks third out of 9 Lake County school systems, bettered only by Kirtland
and Perry that had an overall rating of 5. Achievement measures how
students did on statewide tests and whether their schools met established
thresholds. Progress tracks how children are doing year over year
instead of how well they score on statewide exams. Early Literacy
measures reading improvement and proficiency for students in
kindergarten through the third grade. Gap Closing looks at several
data points such as how many students are chronically absent, qualify
for gifted programs, and whether certain subgroups of students
(Black, Hispanic, disabled, economically disadvantaged) are meeting
statewide standards. Graduation looks at the percentage of students
who graduate with a regular or honors diploma. Four stars mean a
graduation rate of 93.5-96.4%. Another measure of achievement is
the Performance Index which measures the test results of every
student. Mentor schools scored 91.7 out of a possible 108.8. This is
above the overall state performance index score of 84.3. We are once
again approaching pre-pandemic levels of performance, 91.7
compared to 95.6 in 2019. Again, these data reflect a system well on
its way to regaining losses experienced as a result of the pandemic.
The system is not in demise.
Phonics program. The Mentor school system uses 95% Phonics. This
program is used daily in grades K-3. It is listed on the Evidence for ESSA
(Every Student Succeeds Act) for Tier 1, whole-class instruction. The
program meets federal standards under ESSA for demonstrating the highest
level of evidence. The 95 Phonics Core Program (PCP) is a whole-class,
supplemental phonics curriculum. This Tier I program is designed for
students in grades K-5 to address and prevent reading gaps using explicit,
structured phonics instruction for 20-30 minutes per day. Instruction is based
on a scope and sequence with 25 lessons for Kindergarten and 30 lessons for
each of Grades 1-5. Each lesson focuses on specific phonics skills, provides
examples of high-frequency words, and contains information about other
skills addressed within the topic.
Math program. The comment was made that “kids in Mentor can’t do math at
all”. Mentor school system adopted the Open Up Math math curriculum for
grades K-5 in the Spring of 2023 and grades 6-8 in 2022. The evidence-
based program is listed in Ed Reports for K-5 and high school as one of the
top-rated programs. The program encourages student growth through
problem-solving and hands-on learning. It immerses students in real-world
learning opportunities, uses accessible, meaningful contexts to build on
students’ knowledge, centers around student discourse/discussion,
conceptually based with multi-level tasks designed to allow full student
participation and embeds signature mathematical language routines to
develop students into mathematical thinkers.
Ed Choice vouchers. Comment was made “I’m hearing Mentor could be
taking a big hit with Ed Choice this year.” A recent article that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on September 8 reported that Ed Choice vouchers
had been approved this year (27,553) comparing it to last year at this same
time (24,320). According to the president of the Ohio Education Association,
Scott DiMauro, there does not appear to be a real exodus. Mentor’s data
reflects Mr. DiMauro’s view. Out of 6817 enrolled students, 77 have chosen
Ed Choice representing 1% of school enrollment.
Student Services/Programs. Since the 1990s the Mentor school system has
added the following programs/services to improve the learning experience of
the student. They are as follows: safety activities including ALICE (active
shooter training program), digital citizenship and online monitoring, mental
health awareness and support programs (NAMI and Crossroads), Rachael’s
Challenge, Stick Together, Student Ambassadors, Responsive Classroom,
WEB (Where Everybody Belongs), Kindness Rallies and See Something?
Say Something! In addition to those listed above, one initiative deserves
additional comment. Ensuring the safety of each and every student is critical
in the provision of an environment conducive to learning. The Bullying and
Character Building Initiative has demonstrated success over the years. This
is reflected in the data concerning known incidents. Between 2008 and 2013
the average number of incidents reported each year numbered 53. The
following 5 year period between 2013 and 2018 saw the average number of
incidents reported each year reduced to 15 . This number was further
reduced to an average of 10 a year from 2018 to 2023. Although bullying
and harassment obviously continues online and outside the watchful eyes of
parents, teachers and others, these data demonstrate the impact of
implementing initiatives designed to further enhance the learning experience
of Mentor students.
Staff Replacement. Comment made suggesting that the entire administrative
staff and others be replaced with conservative staff. This suggestion ignores
the fact that we live in a diverse community with diverse views. Public
education serves all of the public, not any one segment of the public. Staff
and others should reflect the diversity of the community, not one segment of
it. Preferences of this kind can be found and are best served in the private
sector of the community.
Student Conduct. The author expressed concern about the conduct of
students and accused parents of “raising animals”. Concern was also
expressed about responsive classrooms, ED classrooms, Crossroad
counselors, out of control students and the failure to remove “bad” kids.
Although the school can’t control the parenting students receive, they can
attempt to deal with misconduct by providing programs designed to assist the
student when appropriate and needed. To ignore the “baggage” students
bring to school and fail to respond to some of these issues facing them is to
invite further chaos and disturbance not only in school but in the lives of the
students. Please refer to the Student Services/Programs paragraph above.
Updated September 21, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Phonics and Whole-Class Instruction Deception by the Globalists
By Linda Goudsmit
Brian, this defensive jibber-jabber is how the public gets duped with words like “phonics” and “whole-class instruction.” Neither means what the public assume they mean.
Phonics are phonics. Anyone can teach phonics after reading Max Blumenthal. PHONICS for Reading is a program developed by Anita Archer, and self-described on its Curriculum Associates website as “A research-based intervention program that accelerates instruction for struggling readers.” More marketing jibber-jabber.
Curriculum Associates was founded in 1969 and became an edtech company in 2008. The first things they did were to create materials aligned with Common Core standards, and use adaptive digital technologies to create curriculum for learners with “diverse” backgrounds. In 2017, Berkshire Hathaway became a major investor. Curriculum Associates is a globalist edtech firm that does not apologize for its private-equity investors or their globalist agendas. Take a look at this article by Tina Nazerian posted on EdSurge October 17, 2018, “How a 5-Decade Old Education Company Reinvented Itself.” Curriculum Associates CEO Rob Waldron is as proud and unapologetic as the respondents from Mentor Schools. The response came right out of Curriculum Associates marketing materials. Using the words “evidence-based” does not change what an advertorial is. An advertisement is an advertisement.