Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rookie Teacher Fired For Telling Parents She Didn't Have Enough Supplies

The Education Wonks (see blogroll at left) is covering the story of the Yuba City teacher who, at Back To School Night, told parents she didn't have enough books or other supplies--and was fired a week later.

The EdWonks then lament that here in California, a teacher without tenure can be fired for any or even no reason whatsoever. What they left out, though, is that it was the California Teachers Association that elected to throw its young teachers under the bus by agreeing to this rule change in exchange for different political concessions. Apparently this happened in 1983 and the Hughes-Hart Education Reform Act, where CTA accepted "no cause" dismissals for probationary teachers in exchange for reducing the probationary period from three years to two.

Union zealots, this rookie teacher's fate should wear on your conscience.

Update, 9/21/06: Added information about CTA's treachery. Thank you to my secret source regarding the Hughes-Hart Act.

6 comments:

nebraska girl said...

The parents of Yuba City students should take the principal, superintendent, and school board to task for not only not having enough supplies for the students, but for firing a teacher that obviously cared about the students enough to let the parents know. As a parent, I would be at the next school board meeting.

EllenK said...

Extracurricular-That which is outside the normal school program.

I bet they had enough football helmets. I hate to sound petty, but it drives me nuts that school districts, especially those in small towns, seem to identify the needs of the athletes over those of the average student. I am one of those people who believes that pay for play is the way to go, but too many people say it keeps poor kids out of the game. I've got news for you, the situation now is on the verge of keeping most kids out of the game. The only kids that benefit from the healthy athletic fund are the few kids who make the teams. The rest of the organizations are constantly scrambling to find financial support. In this day of rising populations that must be served, dwindling personnel in some areas and administrations that seem clueless, there has to be more clarity and more definition of what is important and what is not. No, I am not a football widow. I was raised in the shadows of the real Friday Night Lights, but enough is enough. When you have elementary art teachers in schools with more than 600 kids who have budgets of $50 (and no, I am not exaggerating, that was what one large district generously gave each elementary teacher to buy supplies). That doesn't even work out to a penny a kid. Things have to change and it isn't going to come from administrators, it HAS to come from parents. Be vocal and make sure that academics are served before extracurricular activities.

Chanman said...

Wow, to think these machinations are occurring right in our own backyard.

When I see a story like this, I sometimes think that there has to be more to the story than this. There has to be something else this teacher did to piss off the administration. I find myself thinking this, because it is hard for my brain to compute that there are administrators out there who would actually be this callous and idiotic.

allen said...

And the school board would give you your two minutes, or however long they'll allow, and then you'll shuffle off. If enough people use their two minutes to pound away at the subject the board might feel impelled to do something but then, maybe not. No repercussions until the next election by which time the subject will have been forgotten by the relatively small number of people who vote in school board elections.

You know, one thing that strikes me about this incident is that not much thought could have been given to replacing the fired teacher which is a bit counterproductive. Hiring isn't a cheap process any more. Organizations incur fairly serious expenses when searching through job candidates and getting them through all the various steps of the hiring process. That suggests a couple of possibilities:

Either the administration/board wanted to make sure everyone knew that embarrassment of the administration/board is a capital offense or there isn't a teacher-shortage, there being no end of replacements for the fired teacher. Maybe both.

Darren said...

I've read at EdWonks, and now here, that there has to be more to this story. Maybe, maybe not.

"I find myself thinking this, because it is hard for my brain to compute that there are administrators out there who would actually be this callous and idiotic." When the facts contradict your espectations, believe the facts.

Doug said...

I'm willing to bet the "more to this story" is simply the fact that this wasn't the first time she complained about inadequate supplies. This is purely speculation, but I'd wager she'd already complained to the librarian, administration, and her fellow teachers (from whom she probably just received the obligatory "Aww shucks. I know it's hard, but that's the way it is here. Do it for the kids."). All of this complaining was probably annoying, but acceptable, to the administration. However, then she broke one of the cardinal rules of public education (Thou shalt not collude with thy parents and break our sacred "Us vs. Them" struggle). It's education's version of treason.

New teachers take note-keep all complaining "in-house." Once you involve anyone outside the school, you'll be labeled a traitor.

And choose your allies carefully. Avoid the "Queen Bees" who appear on your side but will stab you in the back first chance they get. I'm thinking of the "veteran teacher's" quote in the article-something to the effect of-"I'm a veteran teacher. I don't need these supplies to do my job. But new teachers need more."

Never mind, Ms. Queen Bee, that the LAW requires that you all have those resources, whether you "need" them or not.