Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Willits Board President dresses in skirt, calls himself “Michelle”.

In a time when school districts need to come together and figure out how to deal with unprecedented economic times,  it's nice to know that a school board president takes teachers and throws them all the way under the bus.  I mean, what better way to boost moral than to call hard working teachers lazy, selfish, and money-hungry.

“It was interesting to note the excellent showing of Willits Charter School. They have led the way before with consistently high test scores.

They have smaller classes due to lower salaries for employees, but that can't explain all their success. There must be a dedicated team of professionals doing a heck of a job. How refreshing to have teachers that care more about their students than their paycheck.”

That quote was from Willits School Board President, Bob Harper.  Mr. Harper wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Willits News (the local paper), the only source of local news that is read by the multitudes in the town of Willits, a small community about a half-hour north of Ukiah.  Bobby must have just got back from some special screening of Waiting for Superman, because it really takes a special kind of naivety or ignorance to throw out a half-assed accusation of the very institution you are supposed to support.  However, I’m not really surprised at a rant from someone who worships on the altar of test scores.

But since Bobbo brought up test scores, how about we look at those demographics of both schools.  By the way, I don’t question the hard work of Willits Charter Teachers, I question the motives of a Board President that sits in on negotiations, and then uses the media to spew crap in a lame attempt to sway public opinion.

  Willits High Willits Charter
Population A little over 500. A little over 100.
Hispanic 22% 3.5%
English Language Learners 7% 0%
Students with Disabilities 13% 5%

What you see has little to do with teachers that supposedly care less about a paycheck.  You see the same old, tired formula about charter schools; pick, choose, call it even.  Mr. Harper likes to show himself as knowledgeable about charter schools because he doesn’t really have a damn clue how to deal with the real problems of education.  El Presidente not only insulted teachers, but showed himself unethical by trying to negotiate with teachers through the media, and extremely biased in the way he views public education.  But before he gets all Michelle Rhee on charter schools, he might want to actually address the fact the charter school in Willits does not serve the same population.  In fact, it isn’t even close.  And while I’m not excusing low academic achievement, I’d like to point out to Bob that those students that don’t know English will probably score poorer on an English test than those that have a grasp at the dominant language in the United States.  Wow, fancy that.

I use this example for two reasons.  One, I want to avoid this example in my own school district.  Board members, district officials, and teachers need to sit down and actually collaborate toward a solution to the financial woes hitting education.  Guess what, they aren’t going away and will probably get worse.  And two, this shows that problems with education are also a local government issue, not just a social image concern.  A board president that lip locks charter school test scores, manipulates information to his advantage, takes knife jabs at teachers, and promotes Gary freaking Hart is exactly what education doesn’t need.

Hey Bob, I know plenty of teachers that work their ass off.  Why don’t you get off yours and stop being part of the problem.

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