Friday, July 25, 2008


In a country that is supposed to be a world leader, our educational system struggles. There are many causes in this complicated topic, and I don't deem to understand or have the answers to it all. I just chose not to be part of it. Reading the paper yesterday, however, I could not believe what I was reading. Locally, the contracts of 18 teachers were not renewed. This has gone to court to force the school district to renew these contracts. Note, I am not saying hire/rehire as from what I've read, these teachers are on contract.

The teachers' union maintains that even if there are serious charges and problems with a teacher, regardless of what happened, each teacher "was still entitled to that 12-week period of time to correct his deficiencies."

Sounds reasonable until you read about the alleged infractions of one of the teachers:

MR, a High School teacher who the district said chewed tobacco during class time, had absentee problems and allegedly was heard threatening to bring a gun to school on May 27, his last day of work. He is charged with terroristic threatening, a second-degree felony, which is pending in court. According to the criminal complaint, R was "aware that this was his last day of employment, (and) was overheard by witnesses commenting that he 'might go home and come back with a gun.' " The complaint states that R said he was "just kidding." Court documents also state that R tested positive twice for alcohol use while at work, and was discharged from a district-required treatment program for noncompliance.

So, it is alleged that he chewed tobacco, doesn't always come to work, threatened to bring a gun to school, didn't have the maturity to know that joking about guns at school isn't done, he's tested positive at work for alcohol and couldn't or wouldn't complete a treatment program. Yes, he certainly (I am about to throw in some satire folks for those of you that read the New Yorker and don't get it) is someone I want teaching my teen daughters.

And he deserves 12 weeks to get his act together? How about that detox program the school district sent him to complete that he did not? Was that not his chance?

Perhaps the school district completely made this all up. Perhaps he is a great teacher and someday someone is going to make a movie about how he motivated inner-city school kids to rise above and 100% of them went to college because someone believed in them. I highly doubt it. As for the union officials, I don't know how you sleep at night.

Disclaimer: this is just my opinion. I'm sure I know nothing about it.


Flock Fold Kids said...

Ah, an editorial about education...I have so many thoughts and so little space to say it in.

Without doing my research to get the names, dates and exact locations of these teachers -- I can say that there are inner city schools that employ "DEAD BEAT" teachers who do NOTHING but sit in a teacher's lounge and read the newspaper. WHY?

Because these teachers have all sorts of crimal chareges against them like you described, but these unions are DEFENDING THEM!

On the other hand, students use the administration against the teachers. During my teaching in public school, I heard of students threatening "sexual misconduct" charges towards teachers. This is when I learned you had to be way above reproach (and still that might not help). So, although I might not have agreed with the unions -- I paid for my union fee in order to have a "defense" if I was charged with something unfarily.

It is a double edged sword.

BTW, I homeschool now.

Junosmom said...

I agree - there are two sides to this situation, and in some of the cases of the 18 teachers, there may be unfair practices by the school district. I think, however, the school district loses credibility by defending in any way someone who so obviously is not measuring up.

I'm sure you could write a book about what you experienced as a teacher. I'll buy it!

Junosmom said...

ack - I mean the union loses credibility. I need more coffee.

Indigo-Daisy said...

You know, our children are our most precious resource in our country today. It really makes me cringe when more isn't spent on ensuring them the best teachers possible. We talk big like "no child left behind", but it is all words, if we really meant what we said, we would up the teachers salaries and put more money in our eduction systems.

Arby said...

The assistant principal I reported to was studying for her PhD in education when she told me that less than 2% of teachers nationwide are fired for cause. Reading the union's defense of this teacher, I can understand why. Union Strong! (That's just one of the reasons why we home school.)


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