An Evanston man says School District 65 has blocked his efforts to let people see a heated exchange among board members about test scores.

Message displayed by YouTube after removal of the video.

The exchange, first reported by Evanston Now’s Charles Bartling, took place during a public board meeting Jan. 24, and the man posted an excerpt from the cablecast video recording of the session to the video sharing website YouTube.

The man, who identifies himself on YouTube as “Evanston Dad,” says YouTube has removed the video in response to a claim by the school district that it owns a copyright in the recording of the meeting.

The school district’s policy manual, in section 2:220, provides that “Any person may record or broadcast an open Board meeting.”

The manual does not appear to address the issue of whether the school board may assert copyright protection for its own recording of the meeting so as to prevent others from distributing copies of the recording.

The federal government is barred by law from asserting copyright protection for documents it produces, but rules vary about whether state or local governments may claim copyright in their works.

A call this morning to the district’s communication director, Pat Markham, seeking comment on the situation, was not immediately returned.

School board candidates, including some involved in the exchange at the Jan. 24 meeting, are scheduled to appear at a candidate forum at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Haven Middle School, 2417 Prairie Ave.

Update 11:35 a.m.: The person who posted the videos that were removed says he’s just reposted three five-minute excerpts from the meeting under a different YouTube account. At least for now they can be viewed here.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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17 Comments

  1. Make the video public!

    A copyright claim by the school district?

    What right do they have to withhold this information?

    Can we request copies of the video under Illinois FOIA laws?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    1. Seeing the video

      Yes, you can request a copy of the video from District 65 under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

      It's probably easiest to make the request by e-mail to the district's FOIA officer, Pat Markham at markhamp@district65.net.

      You'd want to note that your request is not for commercial purposes, which means they have to respond within roughly a week rather than three weeks.

      The district is entitled to charge for the cost actual cost of the DVD disk used to make the copy, but you can request a fee waiver under the statute.

      More information on making FOIA requests is available in this .pdf document from the state attorney general's office.

      The meeting is scheduled to be rebroadcast in full tonight at 7 p.m. and Saturday at noon on Comcast cable channel 19. At those times it will also be streamed online by Evanston Community Television.

      An Evanston Now reader advises that the interesting part is about one hour and 40 minutes into the meeting.

      — Bill

  2. Having viewed this video before it was censored…

    … I can fully understand why Superintendent Murphy would want to have it removed. It presents to all that he is a bully who tries to rely on intimidation and accusation to get his way. This attempt to preclude the D65 community from viewing his tirade is ill-advised; it may well develop into a legal matter and will almost certainly keep attention on this embarrassing matter longer than it would have if it had just been allowed to run its course.

    1. Dr. Murphy’s true character

      People's true character become unveiled during challenging and/or stressful times. It's easy to be happy, friendly, nice etc when times are good and there are bountiful resources to share. However, when times are tough your character and true stripes are displayed for everyone to see.

      I too saw the replay before it was censored by District 65 and was appalled at Dr. Murphy's conduct and comments. My family and i chose to live in Evanston because it is a diverse community, not a divided community.

      Dr. Murphy's comments are unprofessional, uncalled for and should be unwelcomed in Evanston or any other community for that matter. Hopefully more people will pay attention to what's happening in our schools – both District 65 and District 202.

    2. After watching this spectacle

      After watching this spectacle when it originally aired with our two middle school children, our daughter aptly remarked, "This is better than reality TV!" I predicted at the time that the video would be censored and indeed it has. Everyone should see for themselves why Hardy Murphy is so concerned about sweeping this video under the rug. Believe me when I say this is a tense and explosive display by our very own school superintendant. I will be filing my FOIA request to review and share this video with others and you should too. Makes for a great teaching moment with your children regarding politics, professionalism and righteousness.

  3. EvanstonNow Providing a Valuable Public Service

    THANK YOU for covering this issue! I hope as many people in and around Evanston view this as possible. I had heard about the contention at the meeting but seeing the video for yourself is a must. Whoever published the video on YouTube did a great job of helping people remain informed on what we deserve to know. After all, the meetings are public… and trying to hide the video implies that there is something there that *somebody* doesn't want seen! I also hope that this forces the hand of the Superintendent into making a public apology, both to board member Tracy Quattrocki and to the community.

  4. The videos of evanstondad are

    The videos of evanstondad are viewable this evening. I was appalled to see the reaction of Mr. Murphy. The question asled by Ms. Quattrocki was absolutely on point. It does not help minorities to showcase only the most favorable test (it might serve Murphy's career, but not children's possibilities of success). Murphy must apologize.

    1. In my opinion

      Dr Murphy answered her question and she continued to argumentatively push and push – going so far as to infer that she thought the district was trying to mislead the public. She definately seemed to be on the attack. I was not surprised he became upset and frankly I do not think he was any more angry or disrespectful than many other board members throughout the years when having heated discussions.

  5. transcript from the meeting (partial)

    TQ Because college and career readiness has come up over and over again tonight and it is something as a district we are moving towards and because the measures we use to evaluate college and career readiness have been a topic of discussion in our community, I would like to put on the agenda for next board meeting a board level discussion about the measures we’re using for both career and college and readiness – and because we’re also moving toward state v state standards how we’re reporting out our national percentile, how we are ranking up nationally, I think this would be a good board discussion to have.

    BL Have we had that discussion already – I thought we had?

    TQ Well, there’s been new controversy about it and I think we’ve, I’ve had, a lot of people talk to me about it – there are people in the community talking about it and I think as a board we should respond to this discussion

    KW What ‘s the discussion, I’m sorry?

    TQ Read the paper, Kim? Dr. Murphy’s written a paper, we’ve read in the Roundtable discussions about how we report out the national percentiles, how we are doing compared to other students nationally and there is some debate about which test we’re using to measure that and I think we need – some of these measures have been called into question as to whether they are reliable or they are misleading – and I think we need to resolve this at the board level.

    KW I’m totally confused by it

    KB Well yes, Ms Lockhart – you brought up a good point – I actually, I agree – I think we did – Well, Let me say, I totally agree with you and I agree with Ms. Quattrocki now. We did, we totally said let’s look at meets and exceeds, which we do, ,let’s look at grade level and let’s look at college and career ready and the marker. But I guess what I’m hearing Ms. Quattrocki – and I am actually now myself personally confused, I thought we agreed that the measures we would use for those three things were the MAP the IL percentile and the meets and exceeds on the ISATs. So, I thought that’s what we were, but it appears that that’s not always what were using, so we probably should discuss it to make sure were all saying the same thing. So I totally agree that we did have the discussion.

    BL Can we have a review of the minutes. We had a discussion and I can’t remember when it was

    KB October 18

    BL Where it was decided what we would use going forward. We said we would let that go for a year and then once we got that data we would determine where we went after we got that data.

    TQ But the difficulty is how we as a district are presenting our achievement report is not – we’re not using the same measures that we agree as a board to use for academic reports yearly.

    KW Where?

    TQ On the district highlight page on the web we’re using the SAT10 as opposed to either the MAP scores for national percentiles or the IL scale scores which are both of the measures we asked for as a board.

    BL But not for till next year?

    KW They are what we asked for?

    TQ Yes (they are what we asked for) / no, not till next year – going forward we were going to be looking at these numbers because there is a test, there are numbers we’re looking at on the district web site which have been called in to question because they are 20 points higher than two other nationally normed test. And so we need to look at that and have a board level discussion as to whether we want to use that test

    KW Is the data accurate, I mean, is the data truthful?

    HM Yes

    BL We can’t talk about it tonight

    KW Here’s my problem – I’m so done with this topic

    TQ Kim, this is a very important topic

    KW I understand it’s important, but if it’s just a matter of where we have it, I mean we’re looking at it next year again we’ve already agreed to how we’re going to look at it, if it’s on our highlights page, who cares?

    TQ Because people are talking about it Kim and we need to respond to it as a board, people are questioning whether we’re using the right test on our website.

    KW It’s not the only measure we’re using

    TQ Well it’s the only one used in terms of national percentile

    BL Maybe we should determine as a board if it’s something we should be looking at

    TQ I’m asking that a discussion goes on the agenda

    KW I know, but I’m saying I don’t want to have it on the agenda

    BL Maybe tonights not the night to decide

    KB I actually think if you go back to the October 18 minutes, I’m pretty sure it’s the October 18th, I thought, with Ms Lockhart, I too, thought this had been decided I thought it was pretty clear, we were doing and I just said it, but to repeat it, college and career readiness, grade level and meets and exceeds and we were using the IL standards and MAP, and meets and exceeds the fact that were using a different test that we decided to seems to

    KW to do what though?

    KB to measure it and present it out – to show what, how our students are doing
    so were using a different test than we decided to use. So what we decided October 18th as a board is different that what’s on our highlight page.

    KW  See this is where I have the issue, our web page should be something that draws people to our district – that’s what “highlights” are to me so like if I’m in a , – I mean do we want to put all our lawsuits up there, I mean, I’m confused? Like, what’s wrong with with a highlights page, having some, if it’s accurate data, I don’t want to lie,but I don’t understand what difference it makes as long as it’s truthful, if it’s not, like, so were showing something that we didn’t say were going to measure ourselves with I mean like, I work at a business and we don’t put on there all of our failures we put up our successes? As long as it’s truthful if it’s not so were

    KB I know it’s important for me to say this cause I was told today that I haven’t been positive enough and I want to say that au contraire, because Kim

    KT oh god

    KB I think that using the data that has been presented tells a very positive story for this district . You look at the fact that we have doubled the number kids who are on track for college and career readiness in the last six years.. those are positive ways of using data I don’t think we need to use the SAT 10 to tell a positive story. I actually believe the team over here and over here has done a great job and this summer school presentation tonight is another indication of really unique and forward thinking ideas to increase and improve the achievement of all kids in this district. We’ve done some really amazing things. I don’t think…

    KW Should we not report that though because it’s the way that we, it’s not those 3 things or whatever, this has nothing to do with it – does that mean it doesn’t belong on our highlights page? Do you see what I’m saying

    KB You’ve lost me

    KW You just said how great our summer school is -don’t, I would put what they just presented on our highlights page.

    KB I would too

    KW Well then why can’t we put something also on our highlights page that’s not a specific measurement. It’s like we should not be determining as a board what , we determine the what, they determine the how

    TQ Mr. Kerry, I asked that it put it on the agenda – If you want to have this conversation – this is the conversation I would like to have. I don’t want to have it tonight, or if you want to have it tonight, we could have it tonight

    BL We don’t want to have it tonight

    TQ But, I was trying to give everyone ample warning that I want it on the agenda. You are giving your side of the story I have an equally compelling story to tell you, but I want to do it in two weeks when we have time to prepare and have a reasonable conversation.

    KW I don’t want to talk about it anymore, that’s my point.

    KT She legitimately posed the question, Mr. Summers I’m trying to go .. this is a subject I know people are passionate about so, Mr. Summers lets hear from you and the lets hear from Ms Lockhart and then let’s make a decision.

    JS I think we talk about statistics and tests and assessments in mind numbing detail. These people here have put together report after report after report on math an reading and differentiation and middle schools and you know it makes your eyes cross and roll back in your head. There are different ways we can assess or even interpret – I guess interpretation is an issue more so than assessment, different ways we can assess how good or how poorly we are doing, I think everybody agrees regardless of which side of the controversy they’re on – that we are moving in the right direction. Am I wrong here?

    KB I think your right, your right there.

    JS And we were going to talk about his in far more detail next year, that’s what I thought

    KT Ms Lockhart? Dr. Murphy do you have anything to say on this, because..

    HM  Well, I do have this to say – I mean, I don’t remember because the issue at hand are the Sat 10 scores, we been presenting those scores for a number of years and I don’t remember in the in the minutes where we were told we could not present the SAT 10 scores – just let me finish – on the web site – what I did hear you say was you wanted to use the – this thing called the Illinois distribution as the measurement, as a measurement of college readiness and I (that said you cannot present the district SAT 10 items) the fact of the matter is that there is this debate as to whether or not proficiency means anything – that’s a lot of conversation about whether or not just because a student meet proficiency standards whether or not we’ve accomplished anything with that. What we’ve tried to show is that over time is that we’ve had more and more students meeting proficiency Now when you look at the SAT 10 items, yes, it shows that the achievement of the students using the SAT 10 is somewhat different that when you look the the IL distribution items, so we’re gonna have to have the conversation again, but I can tell you this, we didn’t get up from that table that night feeling that we were prohibited from showing what the district’s test results were. The SAT 10 results are legitimate results that students in this district has attained. We did not make that data up – all we have on that page is the presentation of a table that is already in the achievement report.

    TQ It’s highly misleading or I will ask again that we put this on the agenda you take your pick

    KW Oh no…. I don’t want to revisit this

    TQ You know what Kim, I am asking for an agenda item and I think that is a legitimate request.

    KW I’m so tired of it

    KT  Let’s respect our board members –

    TQ Yes – I would ask for that respect

    KB I don’t see there is anything wrong with having a discussion – if you have a board member asking for a discussion we should be able to have a discussion I too have the same question so there are two of us that have the question.

    BL But I also think there is some question about what the questions are I mean is sounds like

    KB the question is whether the Sat 10

    BL like does it have to be at the board level where we have or you know, maybe there is some information that we need to have that we don’t have that you both have that were ignoring – I mean Tracy just said there are some issues in the community about us not addressing it – you know, I’d like to know that. I’d like to know that the community is ….

    KT So let’s just do this

    TQ You know what, I am raising as a question – Maybe it ‘s not if you about how we measure the district, I am raising as a question if you have 3 tests – the MAP, the NAEP and the SAT10 and you have one that is giving you 20 points higher for many of our, many of the groups that we’re looking at and were posting that these numbers when were talking about 60 and 68% being college and career readiness and these numbers are inflated by 20 points, I’m not sure why we are doing that or who that is in the service of and I would like to have a discussion about whether or not we are doing something that is helpful to our school district by, I would say, misleading people into believing that we have higher numbers of career and college readiness than we really do or that our kids are doing better nationally that they really are because those numbers are inflated.

    HM I think that the issue the real issue that we’re struggling with is that I think we are stereotyping black kids as failures.

    TQ You know that is so unfair. I am talking about a test

    HM The fact of the matter is that I outta be able to say

    KB What did you just say to her?

    HM what this district achievement was or is

    TQ God, I am so offended by that
    uattrocki – I am offended also by over and over again telling
    African Americans children in this district that they are failures

    TQ I cannot believe you

    HM I feel that that is what we are doing. – the fact of the matter is that what we presented on that website is was what our children have achieved that’s what we’ve done and I resent the implication

    TQ I want to say one more thing, I If you could stand behind that test I don’t think you would have to turn here and say something so demeaning to me.

    HM What I can do is stand behind our commitment to African American children.

    TQ This has nothing to do with that, we’re talking about the legitimacy of a test.

    HM  your talking to someone who goes to every function we have to celebrate their achievement and I’ve yet to see some of our board members at those functions.

    KT  Let’s do this – because this has broken down into an area where I, I’m not We have a board member that wants to talk about this – so you know, were hot, what I’d like to do right now is , the most prudent thing is for us to have a more substantive discussion on this at a future date, cause right now this is not going to be productive, this is not going to be productive, I mean, I’m honest with you guys this is not going to be productive, Ms. Q, hold on. Dr. Murphy hold on,. and so with that what I am suggesting here is that we’re going in an area that I don’t want us to go to and that is dysfunction. So with that said we have to put this on another topic to talk about later.

    BL But Mr. Kerry, we need to talk about what it is because what I think we don’t want to do is rehash things. We just need to focus on what is the issue it’s not something we can decide right now, you as the president and Ms Bailey and Ms Quatracki can talk about what it is and share it with us.

    KB I see it as really simple right now and now I’m seeing two things, I respect everyone who sits at this table – well, and all you guys – but really, we need to treat everybody with respect and this just broke down to me in a way it should that it should never do, I believe we all come to this table with a commitment to the kids in this district, every single one of us. And what I hear Ms Q asking and I’m asking for it, is just a dialogue because on this one test, the SAT 10, to understand why we are hearing two different things. And she’s asking for something and I think it’s a fair conversation. IF a board member asks for something. Discussion on isIs it a biased test or is it not, and yes, the data on the website is reported as it is, it’s not like we’re not lying, it’s out there/ I had a conversation with Dr. Murphy, tell me it’s not a biased test, that’s fine. I don’t see it, so I think that’s the question , that’s what were asking for.

    KT We’re not going to have that discussion now

    KW If we have a discussion about what the SAT10 is – so were discussing more data again – we’re not talking about how we promote ourselves on our web page

    HM The SAT 10 as a representation of its achievement.

    KW We should use every test of our achievement

    HM And It is what it is – but I would say this about this concept of bias – I think that as I did the research on my essay what I determined in looking at that is that some of the national exams actually under predict the success of african american students. I think there is a lot of test bias in this industry. I think the ACT is biased when it comes to Af students I think there has been considerable research that show that those students can achieve at much higher levels that those students can achieve than what those test predict. I think it is erroneous of us to hang out hat on one test score relationships I have said so in writing and I stand by that.

    KT What we have decided to do is put it on the agenda

    TQ I have one more thing to say. I don’t at this point know wether I care… I would not dare to question any one in this rooms commitment to the children in this district and the fact that you did that to me.Dr. Murphy is a tremendous blow to me – I would never question your commitment. And I want to say just that for the record. for the record

    HM Ms Quattrocki I think it’s important to understand on the record that I would never say to say anything that I would never question your commitment to the children

    TQ Yes you did – you did – you did.

    HM Sometimes you can internalize that everything that’s being said is about you , but it’s not.

    JS Wait wait wait wait – Let me say something here. I guess probably me more than anyone on this board knows what it’s like to be on a dysfunctional board. And this has been the best board I’ve ever been on to be honest with you and one of those things that has been great about this board is that we really can talk about things
    In light of what has just happened here, I really would like to have some kind of conversation so we could come to some kind of resolve about this because Ms Q is a wonderful person and you are too, Dr. Murphy.

    We need to be able to talk about this in a civil way and reach some resolve – either to agree or disagree – but nonetheless know what the facts are and I’m very very willing to talk about it in that light.

    KT So with that said, we’re going to close out this it’s going to be put on the future agenda a to be talked about at the next working board session and Mr. Summers do you have an adjournment.

    JS Meeting adjourn – 9:06pm

    1. Meeting Transcript

      Thank you for posting the transcript! I was not able to watch the board meeting or view the video on-line. Reading what was actually said by Tracy Quattrocki, Dr. Murphy and the other board members was enlightening and raises questions about Dr. Murphy's behavior toward an elected representative and board governance.

  6. Time for a change at D65 – Yes We Can!!!

    It's interesting to note that after the last D65 Board elections, one of the first orders of business was to extend for the second time Hardy Murphy's contract (with the exception of Quatrocki who joined the Board after Murphy's contract extension) even though at the time Murphy had about three years left in his contract.

    I wonder if there are any regrets.

    So by simply trying to get discussion of particular tests on the next board's agenda, Hardy Murphy responds with "we are stereotyping black kids as failures." Murphy says some of the national exams such as ACT are biased against African-American students and "under predict" their success as students.

    But since African-American students scored higher on the SAT that test is acceptable to Murphy. Speaking of tests, how is Oakton's African-American curriculum coming along? Last I heard, these kids scored lower than African-American students enrolled in the general curriculum.

    Ah, but it's so easy to say tests are biased when the results are unfavorable and OK when they are good. That's the leadership we get from Murphy.

    The idea that D65 removed the YouTube video, claiming copyright ownership, is absolutely shameful. This was a PUBLIC MEETING – taxpayers own the copyright! It was a heavy-handed tactic that shows the true colors of the D65 administration.

    I didn't like it when Murphy passed over experienced and highly qualified principals last year and hired two principals who had a total of six months experience as principals between them.

    As a D65 parent, it is clear to me that the leadership is lacking in D65.

    It's time for a change. Yes we can!!!

    1. Murphy’s attack on Quatrocki is an attack on standards

      At the core of the exchange between Murphy and Quatrocki goes to the heart of what we want for our students. If you follow Quatrocki's argument she would like ALL students to have a chance to compete for positions at good colleges or universities.  Murphy would rather cherry pick scores to show his success and attack people as racists if they question the validity of the tests.

      It has been known for some time that the predictive validity of college aptitude tests differs by race and other factors.  Murphy did not discover this but brought up this fact when board members and the public starting questioning his cherry picked data.   The fact is, however, that no decent college or university is going to look at what Murphy wants US to look at as a measure of success.

      It is reasonable, however, for people to ask about the validity of D65 cherry picked results when SO many students, many of them lower SES, are completely unprepared for rigorous courses at D202, so much so that D202 had to ELIMINATE freshman humanities honors.  That's a pathetic admission of failure.

      It is a sad day when people who contend that they are championing the rights of minority students can only point to attendance at awards ceremonies rather than genuine elimination of the achievement gap.

      Rather than going to awards ceremonies I would like to see the board and the superintendent report honestly on the continuing achievement gap.

      The bigotry of low expectations is abetted by praising false achievement and attacking those who are honestly trying to bring real achievement to our students.  

      1. Pathetic accusation of failure

        SO many students… are completely unprepared for rigorous courses at D202, so much so that D202 had to ELIMINATE freshman humanities honors.  That's a pathetic admission of failure.

        Wrong.  Show me a 202 Board member or administrator saying this.  EvanstonNow quotes Superintendent Eric Witherspoon saying the change is "designed to create a school where many more students attain higher academic achievement, to improve learning for all students."  You may disagree with that change but conflating the two is just making stuff up.

        1. Be serious

          D202 eliminated freshman humanities honors because not enough minority students made it into the straight honors.  They did not make it because they did not score high enough on the exams D202 had decided to use.  Since D202 cannot force D65 to better prepare students (maybe consolidation is the answer), they decided to eliminate straight honors so everyone could take it.  We'll see what happens.

          You cannot deny, however, that the "success" of the ISAT on which board members  based Murphy's contract extensions were the results of juking the stats–the state itself lowered the ISAT cut points and D65 accepted those lower standards, praising Murphy for closing the gap.

  7. There’s a great deal of

    There's a great deal of unsettling material in that meeting.

    Most importantly, an attempt to open a future discussion ends in Dr. Murphy accusing Ms. Quattrocki of diminishing the achievements of African American students. Of course, her point is the exact opposite – that D65 might not be doing as well as it claims – but Dr. Murphy uses a thinly-veiled accusation of racism to try to silence her.

    This is the character of the man we want leading our schools? It's unsurprising that the District doesn't want this video widely seen. His performance is appalling.

    Also disturbing is watching multiple board members profess ignorance of an issue that's been discussed at length in the Evanston Roundtable. Kim Weaver, in particular, displays an utter lack of intellectual curiosity and concern. Not only does she not understand the issue, she doesn't WANT to understand the issue because she's tired of discussing it. News flash: if you don't want to talk about student performance, don't run for SCHOOL BOARD.

    I will say that Keith Terry does an excellent job of trying to minimize the damage and restore functionality to our school board. Something every D65 parent should see: http://www.youtube.com/user/evanstondad

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