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Only Oswego

Letter: District 308 Administrators Untruthful on Scope of Audit

Sep 24, 2014 10:58AM ● By Steven Jack


Since last spring, Dr. Wendt and his administration have been targeting the Dual Language program to be dismantled without any clear reason why. 

First, they presented skewed data to the Board of Education in April, which the Bilingual Parents’ Advisory Committee refuted and disproved. On June 7th “Response to the Citizen’s Comments,” Dr. Judith Minor states “The EL students participating in the DL program delivery model do outperform the District’s EL students in other EL program delivery models (TPI, TBE, and Resource)” but added that “all of District 308’s EL program delivery models are in need of expanding and revision.” 

Later that month, Oswego SD 308 announced an Audit of English Language Learner Program, citing that the EL programs had received 19 sanctions in the previous year. Incidentally, none of those sanctions were leveled at the Dual Language program. BOE President Bill Walsh stated that “The Board looks forward to working with district leadership to address necessary changes to the EL program to bring it back into State compliance.” 

Every press release, public reference, or meetings comment about the audit has specifically stated “EL” is the focus of the audit. That audit began this month, with multiple focus groups meeting with the auditors since last Friday.

Each person attending a focus group was shown a 
copy of the auditors’ Scope of Service which clearly states the audit focuses exclusively on Dual Language. The three questions the auditors must answer for the administration are: How are the students chosen for the DL program? What are they learning? And How much does the DL program cost? Our “budget-conscious” administration is spending $34,000 to get answers to only those three questions, even after the BPAC insisted on adding more questions. 

According to this plan, there are no options to review any other EL programs. There are no comparisons being made between the EL programs. No review of which program enables or 
empowers our Native Spanish speakers to learn English better or more quickly. I fail to see how 
this audit will “(offer) to the Board of Education a report outlining facts, fiscal considerations and research-based recommendations to enhance the academic achievement of all our English language learners,” as Dr. Wendt assured us it would, in the June 10th Press Release announcing the audit.

I greatly appreciate the two Board of Education members who asked Dr. Wendt to explain this, 
but Dr. Wendt brushed the concerns of Matt Bauman and Alison Swanson aside without even acknowledging them. Will we allow him to dismiss the educational needs of our EL students as well?

This last-minute bait-and-switch tactic with the auditors is proof of this administration’s 
lies, and that they are directly targeting the Dual Language program, without an intent to improve the educational achievement of the EL students in our district.

Ruby Reveles

EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to some of the questions raised in this letter, a district spokesman issued the following statement. This statement is also included in the latest Ask Dr. Wendt column on the School District website. 

Focused on dual language programming, an EL audit is being conducted by a third party organization.  Researchers will be responding to two primary issues:  (1) academic achievement of students enrolled in the dual language program, and (2) costs of the dual language program.  To the extent possible and considering the timeline, SD 308 has requested the audit include consideration of other EL programs.  It is possible, may be even likely, the audit is a “phase I” step as SD 308 works to consider ways to improve services for our EL students.  I look forward to the results presented to the Board of Education in November.