Thursday, June 18, 2009

This Newsweek list of the best high schools (Hillsborough 34, Plant 76 in Newsweek's rankings) leaves out a key element: How well does the administration treat the teachers?

In the Hillsborough County schools, the administration and board use the Professional Standards office as a gulag to either make up charges against teachers whole cloth or take a trifle and turn it into a felony. The teachers must be non-committal about the administration and must not have a blog that tells the truth about the administration, or the administration files a Professional Standards charge to threaten their jobs.

The board looks the other way and allows the outrages against teachers to go on. The head of the Professional Standards is a woman with a home-ec degree who doesn't know how to punctuate; the administration just hired her husband, who has a high school degree. for an accounting position that required a bachelor's degree and experience. which four of the applicants have. This was payoff for all the dirty work the Professional Standards head has done for the superintendent and board, one infers.

The board and administration want to keep the teachers quiet because the board and administration want to waste public money and hire sycophants, buddies, and no-talent relatives with nobody's complaining or reporting them to Tallahassee.

All the highly paid administration jobs go to collaborators. The board has given superintendent MaryEllen Elia a franchise to hire and fire on her personal whims and pathologies. Teachers and students have no place on the board agenda. The board and administration refuses to give them one. I asked the two newest members of the board, April Griffin and Susan Valdes, to sponsor a spot for teachers and students on the board. They didn't even deign to answer my email.

Teachers are treated like field hands who supply the body count that gets state tax money for the board and administration to pretend to be great powers in the community and to waste the money on personal trifles and handing out no-bid contracts to chums. One of the board spent $50,000 on travel in one year.

See for a history of the board's and the administration's misdeeds that harm education and diminish teacher free speech and dignity. Of the outrages perpetrated on teachers, the most recent is suspending for a year a special-ed teacher for a cooked-up charge of felony child abuse because he had a blog.

The sheriff threw out the charge, but the administration kept the teacher on suspension for over a year to torture him into giving up his blog. Thank the lord, he didn't. But the board did not lay a finger on the guilty administrators for practices that augment child abuse and dilute child safety. Administrators always get away with murder. Teachers get sadistic punishment for trifles or made-up offenses.

Newsweek's education division needs to do an investigative story on how well administrations and boards treat teachers. Start with Hillsborough County, Florida.

lee drury de cesare

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Newsweek certainly does need to do a story on the school board and how it thumbs its nose at democracy and how unethical some of the individual board members are.