Percentage Attending Four-Year Colleges: Huntley School Superintendent Concerned, Board President Not

The Daily Herald ran a little story November 15th about the Huntley school district.

In it, Superintendent John Burkey was quoted:

“I’m concerned by the few number of selective colleges we see on this list. I just want to make sure that a student that is qualified for a university of that caliber knows what he has to do.”

This shouldn’t come as any surprise to residents. School Board member Kim Skaja and former board member Rosemary Herringer, a retired teacher, have consistently described as elitist efforts to have any district goals for what percentage of students should be going on to a four-year college.

Not 10%.

Not 20%.

No goal of any kind whatsoever.

The Board majority elected Shawn Green as board president. He has been vocal at public meetings that he feels no students should go directly on to a four year college.

Interesting how Green forgot to mention that part of his educational philosophy when he ran for school board.

Even board member C.P.A. Tony Quagliano opposed having any goals–even 10% or 20%–set for the district for the percentage of students going on to a four-year college.

Less than half of Huntley’s students have plans for a four-year college. And this is from a student survey, which probably includes a lot of optimism of getting into one.

How can you tell there’s optimism in the survey?

Huntley has about 10% who don’t graduate from high school with their class, yet 93% have plans to go to a technical school, junior college or four year college.

Could it be that high school administrators and teachers suggested that if they could ever possibly go to a technical school or junior college they should check the box?

In spite of having well-paid guidance counselors, Huntley doesn’t really keep track of which students are accepted to a four year college. There is no verification process of “Please show us your letter of acceptance.”

Instead a survey is filled out by students who can write they are going to Northwestern when, of course, they might just graduate from high school. In other words, teachers and administrators with master’s degrees who have studied student measurement and assessment opt for a “let’s use a technique that will make the results look good.”

It’s a bit ironic that Superintendent Burkey is publicly surprised few students are aspiring to attend an elite university when Burkey vehemently opposed setting even a goal of 20% for the percentage of students who go on to a four-year college.

I doubt all Illinois school districts eschew an actual management goal for any, even 20% of the students, to go on to a four-year college.

But that’s the case in Huntley School District 158.

When it comes to setting high standards by the board majority in Huntley, the board majority is willing to settle for no standard.


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