The Information the GIS Board & Principal are Hiding from GIS parents:

Information is severely curtailed at the Muslim Community Association (MCA) and Granada Islamic School (GIS).  The MCA/GIS board members are accutely aware this information is way too dangerous to let the MCA Community and GIS Parents know about.  They know if you learnt about this information, you will hold them accountable and that is a risk they cannot afford to take.  This site will not only give you the information that they are hiding from you, but will show you how to verify it and ask the right questions to get to the bottom of the issues that matter most to you and your children.
 
Last month, GIS Parents learnt that Granada’s upper grades will be merged into one class per grade increasing class sizes to 28 students per class.  Parents know this undermines their children’s quality of education.  When parents ask, they get the following misleading responses:
 
 Claim:  The GIS Board says the decision was the Principal’s.  The Principal says it was the GIS Board’s.  And the MCA Boards say they had nothing to do with it.
 Response: Oh really!!  Why the run around?  As the proverb says: “Success has many fathers.  Failure is an orphan”.
 Claim:  The GIS Board and Principal claim that 30+ students per class is the norm in public schools and that it does not affect the quality of education.
 Response: Wow.  Are you serious?  A few questions then:
  • Why do the GIS Board and Principal compare Granada with *public* schools when it comes to class sizes and *private* schools when it comes to tuition?
  • Have they ever compared the square footage of classrooms needed to support these numbers with Granada’s before they made such misleading statements?
  • Would the GIS Board and Principal be able to forward parents *any* data they might have from Granada or elsewhere to support their claims that increasing the classroom size does not affect the students’ academics?
 Claim: The GIS Board and Principal claim that Granada has no money and that decreasing Granada’s class sizes can only be achieved through increasing the school’s tuition
 Response: That is not only misleading but an outright lie.  Here is why:
  • Would Granada’s Treasurer disclose to parents Granada’s cash balance that should have reached $1 Million by now?
  • If Granada had no money, how did it lend the MCA $100K this year?
  • And most important: isn’t it a conflict of interest for the GIS Board and Principal to hide from parents the Granada’s inflated overhead that can keep Granada’s class sizes small *without* raising the school’s tuition a dime?
 Claim: The GIS Board claims that if you, the GIS Parents, wanted your voices be heard, you need to register as MCA members and vote.
 Response: The question to ask the GIS Board is: shouldn’t the GIS Board have made this a contingency before lending the MCA Boards money – especially that this money is the GIS Parents’ hard earned money they would have rather invested in their children’s education compared to a minaret the MCA Boards failed to manage to budget?  What parents have not realized yet is that the MCA/GIS Boards desparately want your money but *not* your vote.  They know that if GIS parents became MCA members by virtue of the tuition they pay, the entire board, MCA President and Principal would have been replaced a long time ago with far more competent people.
        

Here are the facts about class sizes the GIS Parents ought to know:

·         US National and State standards on square footage are:

o   50 sq ft of net classroom space per student.

o   100 sq ft of building space = classroom + office + lab + library + hallways + cafeteria + gym + bathrooms + storage per student.

o   Minimum class size ~ 750-1,000 sq ft.

o   Class room size, in number of students and square footage, *do* impact the student’s quality of education as documented by some of the references below.

·         Granada’s square footage is as follows in comparison:

o   Granada’s building space = 22,000 sq ft for 400 students.  Building Sq ft / student = 55 sq ft / student = half of the national/state standards.

o   Granada’s net classroom size is less than half the building size at 27 sq ft / student = half of the national/state standards.

o   The largest classroom at Granada is 600 sq ft.  The majority of classes are only 300-400 sq ft.  Again = half the national/state standards.

o   Increasing the number of students to 28 per class will put Granada at 3-4 x times the national/state standards!!

o   Granada’s facilities are already overloaded and do not support extending the school’s permit beyond 400 students as the MCA/GIS Board claim.

o   The discrepancy in Granada’s square footage per student is largest where students need it the most @ upper grades with full grown student adults.

o   Given Granada has no Gym and no Track for students to play in, the above space discrepancies are unacceptable by any standard.

 

And here are the facts regarding Granada’s Overhead and how it affects your children’s quality of education:

·         Granada’s Teacher:Student ratio is 1:13.

·         The average Teacher salary is $30K / year as documented on Granada’s website.

·         The tuition per student is $6K / year.

·         For each teacher making an average $30K / year, the students they teach generate an income of 13 x $6K = $78K.

·         The difference between the two numbers above is the school’s overhead.  At Granada, half of your tuition goes to other than direct instruction!!

·         The national and state standard for non-instructional overhead is one third.  Check out this reference to confirm yourself.

·         Here is what the GIS Board and Principal are hiding from you:

o   To balance the school’s budget, the GIS Board and Principal want you to believe you only have one of two options:

a)      Increase the tuition.

b)      Or increase the class size adding more students per teacher.

o   Where as the most obvious solution is the solution they don’t want you to ever know and that is: reduce the school’s overhead to match the US national and state standard!!

·         Here is another way of reaching the same conclusion:

o   Out of your $6K / year tuition, only $3K goes to instruction at Granada compared to the US national/state standard of $4K.

o   That means that every student is paying on average $1K for the GIS Board’s and Principal’s mismanagement of the school’s tuition.

o   When it comes to balancing the school’s budget matching income (tuition) with expenses (salaries), where should the GIS Board and Principal focus their energies:

a)      Increase the tuition.

b)      Increase the class size.

c)       Trim down the school’s overhead without increasing the tuition or the classroom size.

o   The GIS Board and Principal are deliberating hiding option (c) from parent.  And that in of itself is a blatant conflict of interest especially for the Principal.

o   Please read this reference.  Boards and Principals/Superintendents who tend to cut from the budget for instruction (by increasing the class size) before they trimmed their overheads *ought* to be fired.

·         Please ask the GIS Board and Principal this direct question and watch the run-around they are going to give you to avoid answering that direct question.  Please ask them: what percent of your tuition goes to direct instructional-related salaries at Granada?  You now know the answer to this direct question.  Watch the GIS Board and Principal dodge that question.

·         What the GIS Parents and Board do not know is that:

o   The MCA Board had instructed the Principal before to not mislead parents by saying Granada’s is a school + district justifying the over-inflated school’s overhead.

o   The Principal, along with her tribe known as MAS = the Muslim Brotherhood, voted down amendment #12 the GIS Parents put on the ballot a few years ago to force the GIS Board and Principal to disclose such critical information to GIS Parents.

·         Another question to ask the GIS Board is: Given you had to hire a consultant to draft the School’s Strategic Plan you were supposedly working on for years and you cannot answer the most basic questions like the ones shown above, what is it that you actually do?  And more important: if the above information is in the best interests of the Granada’s students and parents, then whose interests do you serve?

 

Here are the reference from which the above facts where extracted:

·         State & National Guidelines on Square Footage per Student:

o   School Space Guidelines

o   The 35 Square Foot Myth

o   Square Footage Requirements in other States (ND)

o   Square Footage Requirements in other States (GA)

o   Square Footage Requirements in other States (AZ)

o   California’s Guidelines on Class Sizes

o   National Averages of Square Footage per Student

·         Reference on School Overheads:

o   National/State Education Data

o   Granada’s Salary Structure  (Note how non-instructional salaries are never listed on Granada’s website)

o   Article on inflated School Overhead and How Boards should deal with them

 

What You Should Know about SAT/10 vs. TerraNova:

 

Have you had a chance to carefully analyze the 2011 Test scores for Granada comparing TerraNova vs. Stanford Achievement Test SAT/10 for the same student population?  A few points to think about:

 

·         Did you know that the Principal refused to test Granada on SAT for years?

·         Did you know that the Principal insists on testing Granada on the *exact* set of questions ever year?  Exact set of questions means the Principal buys the tests once and re-adminsters the same exact test over and over again for years as opposed to getting different variations of the test from the publisher.  The test costs $30-$50 a student already paid for through your tuition.  Don’t you think parents would rather have their students tested with tests no one has seen before to get an accurate measure of their academics?  Isn’t it a conflict of interest for the Principal to hide that information from the GIS Board and Parents?  Ask the Principal to confirm this information yourself.

·         Did you know that Granada was on CAT/5 and that when Granada switched to Terra Nova, the school got an artificial boost of about 10% across the board?  Did you know that Terra Nova is well known amongst in academia to be easier than CAT and SAT?  Isn’t it a conflict of interest for the Principal to hide that information from the GIS Board and parents?  And more important: isn’t it the GIS Board job to make sure the choice of tests and the decision to re-administer the same tests are the furthest away from the Principal’s conflict of interest selecting the easiest measure of the school’s academics to which the Board is supposed to hold the Principal accountable?

·         Did you compare Terra Nova’s test scores with SAT/10 this year?  Have you had a chance to put the scores side-by-the side on a chart to check out the differences?  Here are some charts you won’t find on Granada’s website nor in the communication you received by mail.  Note this is the first time the Principal, staff and students are exposed to SAT/10.  Whereas they’ve seen Terra Nova for many years.  Note also that SAT/10 was administered before Terra Nova.  Here are some patterns the Principal ommitted from her Summary Report:

o   Red is where Terra Nova under-estimated the students academics and blue is the other way around.

o   SAT/10 is a higher standard that Terra Nova.

o   If you ignored differences < 3%, interesting patterns emerge.

o   Except for Reading, all subject areas are 5-15% lower in SAT/10 compared to Terra Nova.  The differences are quite noticeable in the lower grades especially the 2nd grade.

o   Reading is the only subject area where Granada students scored higher in SAT/10 compared to Terra Nova.  The difference is noticeable across multiple grades especially the 2nd grade.

o   Reading is the subject area with the lowest test scores amongst all subject areas. 

o   Battery = Composit of Reading + Language + Math.  Reading/Language are pre-requisites to Math.

o   Both tests show the same patterns observed over the years.  Granada students score highest in KG where they have the highest advantage over the rest of the nation by virtue of spending twice the instruction hours in KG.  Granada students then lose that academic advantage by the middle grades especially the 2nd grade, then partially or completely recover by towards the upper grades.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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