Monday, August 27, 2012

These are not isolated cases. This is being repeated throughout the country in great numbers.

TeacherTails from Detroit:

  • Teacher “A” is a National Board teacher certified in Adolescent Science. Last year she secured a position at a high school for technology with a principal who was very excited to have her on the staff. At the last minute the district pulled her from that school and placed her in another teaching English Language Arts. As you might expect from a teacher placed outside their area of expertise, her evaluation was not stellar. However, during the interview process, the original principal was able to select her as a science teacher for her high school. Yay!, right? No, because of the evaluation, she was told (verbally through the grapevine) that she is terminated.
  • Teacher “B” is an excellent Reading Recovery teacher. A former first grade teacher and early interventionist, the district has invested thousands of dollars in her training. In a district where a great majority of our students come to school unprepared for the rigors of reading instruction, you would think an early childhood educator who has intensive training in early intervention would be golden. However, most principals do not have the Title I funds in their budgets to keep Reading Recovery in their schools. So instead of placing this valuable teacher in a high needs first grade classroom somewhere in the district, her lay-off appears to be taking effect this morning.
  • Teacher “C” is a previous year Michigan Teacher of the Year, National Board Certified Teacher and National Board Candidate Support Provider. She has worked extensively to develop School Improvement Plans and has written for many School Improvement Grants. For the past several years, she has been an Instructional Specialist in the district. Although she has repeatedly been assured by her principal that she was indeed selected, the money was budgeted, and her performance is stellar, she has not received a recall notice and in fact has been locked out of her board email over the weekend. This teacher has devoted nearly her entire summer to re-writing the School Improvement Plan (pro bono) to meet the ever-changing demands of the district and state, and now faces unemployment.

These are not isolated cases. This is being repeated throughout the district in great numbers.

I don't understand why AFT and NEA locals around the country have not been posting stories like this for the past few years. I suppose we still think that maybe if we are quiet, they will be nice to us. Or we can't believe it is really happening. And we're just ashamed. It is happening, and it is wrong. I think we all see that quiet compliance not working.

We can't let people deny this is happening, shrug their shoulders about what could possibly make people think that these reforms are anti-teacher, against teaching as a real profession, fundamentally destructive to education.


Robin Kuykendall said...

I work for an NEA affiliate. Three months ago, we faced your Teacher B scenario exactly, except it was THREE teachers at once.. We did save the jobs of all 3, but not as reading specialists. They are, instead, back in classrooms & the $Millions+ invested in them & their fabulous literacy library is just abandoned for an IPad infusion, for teachers only, by Wireless Generation. The sup't could not tell how this "technology" would actually touch students. The steady gains in literacy over the past 6 years, which exceeded state norms for African-Americans, had NO bearing on the decision to spend more money and to "go in a different direction," in the words of the sup't. the small district has several certified reading specialists, one with a doctorate in ELL, but none of them were consulted in this decision. The sup't, himself, stated that he has never personally taught anyone to read. He has a postgraduate degree in something, but I really don't know what or from where.
So, I spoke. There are many more, but time for another person to join here.

Tom Hoffman said...

Thanks for the comment, Robin!