"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Teachers are devastated.

I had occasion to talk to a teacher friend this week after they were cold-cocked by the administrative staffing proposal on Monday. This person is the personification of an ideal teacher. She is kind and respectful and lives for that "aha" moment when a kid really gets it. She is humble and quiet and always thinks the best of every person. She really reminds me of my dad in that way and would never speak ill of anyone. I admire her so much that it pained me greatly to see her so devastated by this turn of events. A few of our kids had the privilege of being in her classroom and some of our kids are similar ages. When I went to their house on Friday, she looked like she had been drawn through a knothole backwards, as my grandma would have said. I learned that a number of items in the admin. proposal violated the DPI and legislative instructional minutes. I also learned that the proposal of cutting 6th grade language arts nearly in half and 7th and 8th grade language arts by about a third made no sense because the student achievement in those areas is so low that the State Report Cards are in jeapordy at the Middle School.

(On another note, I was also confused by the  elementary proposal to cut PE by 35 minutes a week (apparently one of the DPI violations) and the simulataneous increase of 120 minutes in core curriculum without saying what else is being cut).

I was nearly in tears telling this teacher how appalled I was that this administration had the gall to start a board meeting asking the board to approve the addition of a coach and ended the same meeitng asking the board to consider a plan and be ready to approve in two weeks a plan that laid off 10.14 instructional positions. At least Brodhead has a plan to share the pain across employee groups if their referendum fails next week.

And these are the people who get paid the big bucks in this district, and who just "coincidentally" happened to ask the board to approve their (mostly) one year contracts last month. How convenient that they locked in their overpriced contracts before they took the hatchet to the teachers. Only a select few admin got 2 year contracts this year and I agree only with a subset of those. Paula Landers is the most professional and most competent person I've had the pleasure to work with and she deserved her regular 2 year extension. I depend on the board to have a very good memory of this incident and how overpaid this group is on the whole. I pray the board keeps all of their feet to the flames until every one of them is either annealed by the heat or leaves.  I can promise that if I am one of those board members, I am up to the task and will remember this last in a long line of atrociously incompetant actions taken by our administrators.

There are supposed to be public and staff comment sessions scheduled after spring break regarding the staffing proposal. Please go and register your thoughts about how you think the district could save money or alternatives to the current proposal located at the link below. Also, please vote on April 2. It's my mantra these days.


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