Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just saying

So now that the media has picked up on the Superintendent survey, let me comment on what’s going on.  A few weeks ago, a survey was handed out to the staff that asked loaded questions about the job of the Superintendent.  The point of the survey was to show the school board that the teachers were frustrated with a variety of issues regarding our boss.  I didn’t fill out the survey for two reasons.  First, I don’t like the idea of anonymous surveys.  They are full of snarky comments that make teachers look like a bunch of old hags bitching about the quality of the soup at the rest home.  Second, there is no real legitimate political force behind an anonymous survey.  When the survey was first brought up, I dismissed it and recommended a simple vote of no confidence.  I won’t say how I would have voted, but I will say that a vote of no confidence holds a lot more weight by counting legitimate votes and making a simple, yet poignant political statement.  But I was ignored and this survey went out against the better judgment of many. 

I can’t tell you if the count is accurate or not.  I was not responsible for the survey and unlike a standard vote, it was not viewed by many responsible parties.  However I can say with strong confidence that Dr. Lois Nash is not entirely accurate with her statements in the newspaper. 

“Nash also questions the accuracy of the anonymous survey mailed to district teachers and feels it doesn't represent most teachers, but rather a small few in leadership within the California School Employee Association (CSEA) and the UTA.

"I think there is a small group who promote an adversarial environment within the district," said Nash. "I think most teachers are working hard to try and promote the highest achievement of our students."

That may have been true in the past, but it becoming increasingly apparent that a whole lot of teachers have passed beyond simply putting their heads down and trudging through a bad environment.  After we sacrificed over and over again, teachers now have a bad feeling that they are totally disengaged from the process of decision-making within the district.  And we aren’t talking about financial decision-making, we are talking about being a part of something that is so important that we have dedicated our lives to making it right.  And this is where Dr. Nash is might be mistaken.  I think the reason why this hasn’t come up earlier is because teachers were “working hard to try and promote the highest achievement of our students."  We were professionals that battened down the hatches and did our job in a rough environment.  Now even the most patient teachers are saying, “I can take the pay cut and the extra work, but I can’t take not being a part the conversation of what is good for students.”   

This week the district “found” one million dollars.  Apparently an accounting error has left a substantial amount of money on the table that will go towards, well, I have no idea what it will go towards.  I do know that money issues have created a massive amount of consternation within our district.  Some teachers think that the district is hiding money intentionally; along with the body of Jimmy Hoffa, the tapes of the fake Moon landing, and the evidence that Nancy Pelosi had an affair with John Boehner.  I am not one of those people.  However I watched my department scrounge for paper this week.  I bought my own scantrons this year because we had no money.  In fact, I’ve spent over a thousand dollars of my own money this year on my classroom.  I’ve had to tell my students “no” when they wanted to print in the computer lab many time.  I watched freshmen sports get cut, our consolers get overwhelmed with 500 plus students, and a request to replace out-of-compliance Advanced Placement textbooks denied.  I’m just saying…..

I usually stray away from local school politics for obvious reasons.  But when people start going to the paper and telling them how I think things are going, I get cross.  Want to know how things are going within our school district?  Ask a teacher.         

blog comments powered by Disqus