District 65 school board members agreed Tuesday to start offering geometry classes at two middle schools but also continue a program that lets eighth graders travel to Evanston Township High School for the course.

The board acted despite opposition from a sizable contingent of parents who said they saw no need for the added option.

The parents, most of whom have children who have thrived in the high school class, voiced fears that the geometry offering at the middle schools would not be as strong, would divert resources from other urgent needs and might ultimately lead the district to eliminate the high-school option as had earlier been considered.

Four board members favored offering geometry at the middle school.

“I don’t see any negative in this,” board member Andrew Pigozzi said. “If parents and children like the new offering, it succeeds. If they don’t, then we move on.”

But board member Mary Rita Luecke said the geometry program was not one of the goals the board set last year and yet “we’ve veered off in this direction.” She said the action raised questions about the board’s ability to set priorities and stick to them.

She was joined in oppostion by board member Jerome Summers who praised the high school offering as a great program that serves the children well.

A survey of parents conducted by the district administration indicated that only Haven and Nichols middle schools have enough students whose parents were interested in the middle-school-based geometry class, and that even at those schools the classes would likely be small, with at most 10 to 14 students.

Students who take the class at the middle school, unlike those who take it at the high school, would not receive high school credit for the class, but would be not have to retake geometry at the high school.

School Superintendent Hardy Murphy said he expects to be able to offer the new geometry program starting this fall.

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D65 ignores parental concerns to support parental choice – Mindy Wallis

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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