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23 Jun 2006 - 14:32

news from nowhere part 19

I may be avoiding email today.

email from the school board:

On June 6, the district granted tenure to 22 teachers, in a ceremony marked by both laughter and tears. Our newly tenured teachers' families joined in a celebration of their achievement, as well as their commitment to our district. Remarkably, some of our new teachers had been students of Mr. Lamassa and Ms. Urban, who served as their inspiration for careers in education. It is abundantly clear that our district has not only a commitment to excellence, but also a tradition of excellence. We look forward to what our new teachers, schooled in this tradition, will accomplish.

Twenty-two teachers.

That doesn't sound good.

I've been assuming Ms. K will be teaching elsewhere next year.

Which, in retrospect, is looking like pure defense mechanism. I mean, what evidence do I have?

There was the day the principal told Ed Ms. K is a "fine young teacher."

Then there was the time the chair of the math department told me, "Ms. K is an excellent teacher."

And that's pretty much it, the sum total of signs & indicators from the district.

So how did I get from "fine young teacher" to "not getting tenure" you ask?

I have the answer to that.

  • number one, the superintendent is ruthless when it comes to cutting loose personnel.

  • number two, the superintendent does not appear to want more trouble from parents than she already has. Ms. K is a trouble magnet.

  • number three, thus far my impression of the superintendent's hiring has been good. That impression will change if Ms. K has been awarded lifetime employment, health insurance, and a pension from IUSFD, of course.

  • number four, Ms. K has, at the end of this school year, regressed to her worst behaviors of school year 2004-2005, the behaviors that led to last year's Parent Uprising.

  • number five, Ms. K has been frequently absent this spring. Ed and I have assumed - ok, hoped - she's been taking personal days to interview for jobs.

  • number six, Mr. Fried, Ms. K's champion ("She's a fine young teacher") is leaving.

  • number seven, the silence of the lambs. In the past, the district has staunchly dismissed all parent complaints, but then dealt with the situation behind closed doors. I've been thinking that if Ms. K were getting tenure, her supervisors would have helped her improve her teaching, which is what happened during the first semester.

  • number eight, last but not least, my defense mechanisms are in fine working order. I think.

Basically, where Ms. K is concerned, there's been a dramatic change in tone and behavior that dates to sometime this spring. I could probably pinpoint it if I went back and read posts about her tests. Last school year parents complained bitterly about Ms. K's discovery tests, and the then-math chair stepped in.

Throughout the fall and much of the winter, Ms. K's teaching, while not good, was quite different from her performance last year. It was clear that her supervisors had stepped in.

Then, in the spring, she reverted to form, and the word from her supervisors was uniformly glowing. Christopher was "the only child" who was having problems following directions, etc. As a preditable result, parents are furious; if we had another month of school ahead of us, we'd have another parent uprising identical to the one last year.

The real horror is that it's entirely possible this isn't Ms. K's response to being denied tenure.

This could be Ms. K's response to being granted tenure.

I'm going to corral the dogs and go meet Christopher on the aqueduct. He'll be on his way home by now.

When I get back I'll decide whether to open my email and find out if Ms. K was amongst the 22.

That's something that has to be done today.

double doomed

-- CatherineJohnson - 23 Jun 2006

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-- KtmGuest - 15 Nov 2006



-- KarenA - 15 Nov 2006

Here we have a five-month-old article that has languished that entire time without comments. By commenting on said article, it rises to the top of the recently modified stack, and thus to the attention of readers again. Perhaps the commenter simply wanted to approve of the original sentiment, in which case commenting would be an effective way to draw attention again to this piece.

If, as I suspect, the intention was to publicly disapprove of the original sentiment, commenting seems likely to be rather counterproductive.

Either way, thanks for bringing this back to my attention. The issue is important and by my understanding, the actions of the school were reprehensible. It's good to be reminded that lousy administration is time invariant.

-- DougSundseth - 15 Nov 2006

Title: news from nowhere part 19
TopicType: WebLog
SubjectArea: IrvingtonMath, IrvingtonSchools
LogDate: 200606231031