Recently I received a call from Superintendent Aefsky concerning my petition regarding the possible re-hiring of a teacher at Sargent Elementary School.
She informed me that if a teacher is let go because of budget cuts, that the school was legally obligated to re-offer the position (for up to seven years) should it once again become available.
"Well," I said, " supposing this laid-off teacher was incompetent? Are we still required to offer the job?"
"Yes." was the response. "So what are we parents to do about this?" I asked, "since we are forced by law to re-hire incompetent teachers?"
Her reply to me was that it was only my "opinion" that the teacher was incompetent.
"No, it is not just my opinion," I countered, " that petition was signed by many parents and many more would have signed were it not for the fact that it was done in the middle of the summer when most people are away."
"Well," she said, "the teacher had been evaluated several times and was found to be effective."
Incredulous, I asked "And how was she evaluated?" but was informed that this was confidential. "I just wanted to inform you of the legalities." she said, and that was pretty much all she had to say.
It wasn't exactly the kind of support I was hoping for, but I have learned over time that the administration is very good at protecting their own....like the trolls who run the bank in Harry Potter.
Anyway, this got me thinking. There is something wrong with a teacher evaluation process where the parents have little or no input. This needs to be addressed. I know you can attend Board of Education meetings or like myself, start writing, calling and banging on doors, but there has to be a better more effective way for parents to inform our elected Board members. How can we expect them to do a good job without our input?
So, why not do it via the web? Put a confidential "Teacher Performance Survey" online, so the school administration cannot mess with it, and all parents have to do is to add their thoughts/ideas from time to time. This would be a good direct way for parents to express their pleasure/dissatisfaction with a teacher's performance and how it has positively/negatively affected their child's education. This info. would be accessed ONLY by Board of Education members and I think would be extremely helpful in determining who gets tenure and who doesn't.
With our tax dollars increasingly stretched it becomes critically important that the BOE find new ways to receive input from parents in our district. Since the teacher evaluation process is obviously flawed, web access like this will help the Board of Ed. to become a better watch-dog for all of us, especially our kids.