Saturday, April 06, 2013

Glad we can all get along


So we got a raise, something I discussed earlier in a blog post.  The contingency on that raise was that enough teachers would retire to make the raise nearly revenue neutral.  That way the county would pass our budget status and all parties would be happy.  The budget is solvent.  The teachers get their first raise in seven years.  And sacrifices that teachers made, wrongly and with incorrect information, were corrected.  All-in-all, the institution seemed to be going in a direction where all parties were ready to be more collaborative. 
That is, until this came out in the local paper.
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Whoa, now wait a minute.  Is this some Woodward and Bernstein investigation that has taken place within the district?  Who could make such a statement?
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So the quote basically came from our district CBO, Sandra Harrington.  That’s interesting that the top number cruncher in the district has now become district spokesperson, telling the people of Ukiah that if their kid has a problem with services in Ukiah Unified, it’s the teacher’s fault.  This is not the way to build any sense of unified institutional philosophy.
While the professional collaborative development opportunities on the Internet are spectacular, one of the drawbacks is that you realize that much of what you want to control, you can’t.  In many instances it shouldn’t matter.  In a small town it does.  When a CBO makes comments like this people around town start to grumble, and the district manages to go from professional manager to professional agitator, making the job of the teacher that much more complicated.  I notice in my online communities that many successful districts have good management; and while I’m not saying that ours if bad, it seems that there is a strong disconnect between districts that have strong morale and our own.  Some of that is teachers for sure.  I see plenty of examples of very top-down management where teachers feel part of the process, they feel supported, and the evidence presents itself in student achievement. 
In the end, this commentary is pointless.  If the raises were going to kill the district in the future, why not just say “no” in the first place?  Why make a statement that does nothing but say “Hey, the greedy teachers are going to bankrupt your district while stealing your first born child and sacrificing them to the God of worksheets.”  Yeah, not helpful.

UPDATE 4/9

So the Anderson Valley Advertiser has made a commentary on the issue as well.  This show you just how "progressive" Mendocino County actually isn't.  First of all, the newspaper looks like something that comes out of Tombstone, Arizona in the late 1800's, and is written like it is coming out of Arizona in 2013.  It spouts off commentary like Bill O'Reilly or Amy Goodman without the legwork of research, with the hope that it gains the attention of the general public that really hasn't ever given it a real glance.   
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