Reading the following article:http://www.theday.com/article/20130306/NWS01/130309746/1017 about superintendents and people of power excercising total control over their staff.
The key points of the article for me are when one of the review committee has to say that they are proud of the staff members that were willing to step forward and testify and document what turned out to be abusive behavior of the Groton Superintendent. When we look at all school systems (WPS, WA, Pomfert, etc…) I see that there is no way to have someone raise any issues about supervisors/superiors without suffering the full effects on their jobs. Within business and government we have had to create the ombudsman so that serious issues can be raised about abuse without fearing for one’s job and report what in my view a serious infraction. I have yet to see any of the school systems have a method/process to allow employees to raise issues.
Everyone at the high level of administration will talk about how their management processes do allow this, but when you start to talk to the teachers, administrators or staff away from the building, you will find out what is going on within the system. Many of the smart BoE members tend to create a pipeline with senior and trusted members of the staff to gain access to what actually happening within the system. If the BoE really want to find out what is happening I think they should find a way to create/use an Ombudsman type of service.
Here is an example. All names and locations are made up but may resemble details that I have been told by multiple staff members in school systems from different districts: When a school has a low test results and one of the grading of the school is based on students who are not promoted, would the senior administration of that school find a way to ensure that students or a particular student is passed? If the teacher is spoken to on a one-on-one bases with no one else available to verify the comments, and the teach is pressured/directed to pass the student(s) of the teacher would suffer some kind of career impacting consequence. What does that teach do? This becomes even more of an issue when you see teachers in the early stages of their career that are getting rave comments from their peers, all of a sudden told that their contract will not be renewed. This teacher was grading/teaching to the standard of “do the work or fail the class” but then is not asked back. Another example is if a fully tenured teacher has a couple of students (one might be the child of a prominent and vocal parent) that fails their course after being spoken to, then that teacher goes from teaching advanced placement courses to teaching classes at the lower levels next year.
This kind of pressure/actions is happening at all schools in the area. Can Woodstock schools’ BoE find a way to set a standard to address these kinds of problems by enabling an Ombudsmen program?
If you think this is not happening within all of the school districts think again. This no-child-left-behind is creating many problems outside of that student not wanting to learn that should be addressed. The more I think about the number of hours our children are in the school system and getting taught both scholastic knowledge and ideological lessons from the adults that they are around for 7 hours each school day, don’t we want to ensure that they are being taught the correct lessons in life not those of office politics? If you don’t think the students have knowledge of this, think again. When a school is passing all of the students all of the time, and everyone in the class knows the grades earned don’t match the promotion list – who is kidding who. The students get this fast, and if the parents are not paying close attention, the students figure out what is actually needed to get out of the HS, but nowhere near enough to get by in business and life. I hope I am not missing the mark and have a Polly-Anna view of the world…