Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Random Thoughts-Board Meeting-Mar.13

Maybe I was too busy cooking but I swear the board was bragging that the district level exams that are/were created and "tweaked" by teachers to comply with the Sunshine State Standards are being given away to the STATE and other districts!!! FREE!!!! The members appeared to be happy that these tests were requested. Your intellectual efforts should have value. If teachers wrote them, tested them, and tweaked them then they should have a price tag attached with the proceeds put into an salary account and given back to teachers.

We paid a boatload for CRISS training and materials which was nothing more than a collection of activities and strategies that every Masters of Reading candidate paid for at the university.

Ms. Olson wants to evaluate "programs" ostensibly to determine the program's effectiveness. Since we can't evaluate the "300 minute" plan, how about looking at data BEFORE a decision is made? Hey, USF! Hey, Tampa U.! How about a quid pro quo? We take enough of your ed interns, how about checking the research about our current dilemma. Can a teacher realistically be expected to perform all they are expected to perform 6 out of 7 periods a day - 5 days a week? Let the superintendent know. Let her know now. Answer completely and support your conclusions with valid research?

If you missed the "public" forum, believe me, things are heating up. Kudos to the 7 speakers! Even our students stood up and made great points. Articulation was razor sharp and professional. Was the board listening? The camera stayed on the speakers.

Special THANKS to Lee Drury De Cesare for her impassioned (and reserved - if you've ever read anything she's posted or published) support.

C.T.A. execs were present but mute - so just what are we paying for?

5:00 PM - 9:00 PM How much do you think was spent on P.R. and self-promotion vs. actual management?


Anonymous said...

A big thank you for all of those who attended the board meeting last night. It was nice to see some new faces from Sickles. Welcome aboard! Also, I was impressed that students had the courage to speak out for their teachers. I think that it takes a lot of courage for a high school student to speak on TV in front of strange and often rude adults (TAKING YOUR TIME!). I think we all need to support students who support us! There was a lot of emotion last night and hopefully some of this will reach the few sane board members who were present. Lets regroup for the next meeting... try to get new faces out there.

Carla C.

twinkobie said...

Seven teachers and two students sat through 4 hours of a Board meeting last night to get a hearing at the end of the maraton meeting. They impressed me.

I made this proposal when I spoke after the teachers and students: that if the Board reveres teachers as its members say they do, then the members should set aside a time at the beginning of every Board meeting to welcome teachers' input. This time should not have the degrading cut-off limits, I said, of the present public input session at the end of the meeting for citizens. The Board should let the teachers say their full say with dignity without the flashing warning lights going off/on at the podium.

In the back of the room after I spoke at the tail end, the teachers who had addressed the Board and I did a little victory dance for the teachers' performance.

The feeling was that these gutsy teachers had broken through the Board's lassitude on Elia's insult to the teachers of ordering them to work an extra period to solve her budget crisis. One 30-year veteran teacher summed up Ms. Elia's status well:he said that La Elia had lost the respect and trust of the teachers as a leader. A superintendent who loses the respect and trust of its teachers can't lead a school system. The bottom line is that teachers and students are the heart of education; administration and Board are mere support staff for teachers and students. The Board and the administration should keep this venerable fact in mind before they try to slap teachers around.

If the Board does not follow up now and consult with teachers before it makes any decision on this matter, it is time to replace the Board.But I have hope that the Board has paid attention to the teachers and students who appeared on the evening of the 13th to oppose Elia's insulting treatment of teachers.

I am sorry I forgot to say at the podium that Ms. Elia should kick in at least a hundred thousand dollars of her bloated $262,000 and perquisites since she is so keen on making the teachers work for free. Her salary represents an insult to teachers and students since she can't punctuate and doesn't show any sign of learning this literacy requirement for anyone's working in education. The Board should mandate punctuation training for all administrators (I infer 100 percent suffer punctuation illiteracy, all C-students from undistinguished colleges and universities on the periphery of the civilized world) as the price for a job in an education system. Massachussetts has a state law that mandates all administrators take the same literacy tests as do teachers. That requirement would clean out at least half of the current ROSSAC administration illiterati.

In fact, every administrator making over $100,000 should kick in at least $40,000 of her/his bloated paychecks to the budget crisis.

The CTA was there, I later learned, but sat mute, of course. I was president of the HCC union when I taught there for 28 years before retiring, and there is no way our teacher union would have sat silent while the administration tried to impose an extra period of teaching on professors. But the CTA is in bed with the administration. It should be on the administration pay roll instead of bleeding money from poorly paid teachers while refusing to post its own CTA staff salaries on the CTA Web site. Bart Birdsall and I have asked CTA for this posting repeatedly.

It's time for teachers of Hillsborough County to union shop. The Boston teacher union stands up to its administration and has gotten $44,000 as a beginning teacher salary. Hillsborough County teachers need one like that. Compare that to the measly beginning salaries for teachers in Hillsborough County.

The teacher who thanked the Board for the past raise should remember that this raise came after a long period of no raises at all and thus represented catch-up. Even as catch-up, the "raise" was meager compared to bloated administration salaries. Ms. Elia got over $10,000 raise at the same time the teachers got peanuts and the bus drivers get third-world salaries and drive broken-down buses with not enough mechanics to fix them.

I encouraged teachers with whom I spoke in the back of the room to read Susie Creamcheese's The Wall blog and to start blogs of their own.

Bloggers changed the political life of the United States. Old-time practitioners of politics sneered at bloggers at first, but now bloggers romp triumphant as masters of the game and are in the forefront of change in politics. Those who sneered are now converts. Politicians shudder when bloggers catch them out and publish their sins on their Webs. Susie Creamcheese's blog will inch its way into that status with the Board.

Summary: Victory went to those seven gutsy teachers and two courageous students last night.

Susan Valdez was crying when I spoke. The teachers and students had broken through to at least one Board member. I think there's reason to believe that Griffin, Olson, and Edgecombe can see the light on this more-work-with-no-compensation-for-teachers

And I do not abandon hope for dear old Dr. Lamb. He was a 4th-grade teacher and is basically a sweet fellow who must have some feeling of solidarity for the teachers in a corner of his heart. At the beginning of his career, he was one of us. Teachers should keep that fact in mind when they petition Dr. Lamb.

Bottom line: Keep on blogging and send a copy of your blog to the Board.The members need to know what teachers think.

I was proud to be one with the teachers and students who appeared last night before the Board. Teaching is not a business: it is a calling as old as Socrates' strolling around the forum with his open-air class in 6th-century Athens to impart the knowledge he had acquired to his students.

Parasitic administrators are the bloodsuckers who later attached themselves to teachers and students. Teachers should remember that they and their students are the blood and guts of education.

That truth will ever remain thus.

lee http://www.leedrurydecesarescasting[room couch.blogspot.com

ps: I sent this below to the CTA and will send it around to the schools for which I have collated emails:

Contact Web Form

To contact us or leave a comment, please fill out the web form below.
You may also e-mail us directly at webmaster@hillscta.org.


Where was the CTA tonight at the Board meeting to lend support to the teachers who appeared there to protest the Elia ukase that teachers must teach an extra class period to solve her budget crisis?

In fact, where is the CTA ever when teachers need it to stand up to the administration? The CTA is no use to teachers as long as it is in bed with the administration.

Creamcheese readers: Keep in mind that it was media specialist and former teacher Bart Birdsall who challenged the lack of information for teachers about their rights when caught in the gauntlet of Professional Standards. Bart got Dr. Lamb to ask that Board attorney Gonzalez assemble a pamphlet outlining teacher rights to give to every teacher who enters the portals of the Abu Ghraib of Professional Standards with its resident fiend La Linday Kipley and the attack hell hounds that she keeps under her desk to harry teachers after she has draped them in Abu Ghraib black-sheet couture.

Anonymous said...

I work with Jim Aulisio at Freedom. He is genuine to the core. Jim has spoken at the last 3 meetings with an unwavering, quiet passion.

Thanks to all who were there. You were terrific. I suspect that others choose not to speak so that the 3 minute rule would not shrink to 2 minutes. The strategy allowed some development of thought.

For everyone's consideration: Let's plan to email EACH board member and the Superintendent a short and sweet "memo" that we are not happy with the Superintendent's plan. Include a simple sentence about what we may not be able to do in the time that the plan is alloting us. A suggested solution could be optional. We should send the email on ONE of the following days: Thursday April 5, Friday April 6, or Saturday April 7. (numerologists take note)

We do not want to blow up the email inboxes or tax the system. It is NOT our intent to do damage. It is our intent to display our unity, displeasure, and professional thoughtfulness as displayed by the 3 target days which include a Saturday. This not not appear to violate any District Email Guideline and actually will indicate how much the Board supports its own goal for improved communication.

We have enough teachers to fill the Forum.

We have 3 weeks to spread the word and 3 days to make it heard!

Roll call begins now!

twinkobie said...

Dr. Lamb:

I copied a section off the Susie Creamcheese blog's comment section (below). I want to know if the teachers have intellectual property rights in this action of the administration's appropriating their intellectual labors and distributing that product without the teachers' say so? If there is money involved in this intellectual property, is it due to the teachers?

Can you ask Mr. Gonzalez for an opinion?

Thank you.

lee drury de cesare

Anonymous said...

I believe that anything created on company time with company assets belong to the company. Teachers participated in training on test-item writing. The company can indeed give away its assets and creations if it so chooses. It just doesn't seem to make sense (cents!). We appear to be in the "business of education" in the narrowest sense (cents!).

Considering the district's financial position and the "plan" making the teachers shoulder the "solution", GIVING AWAY the questions to other counties is infuriating on so many levels!

SpringBreak said...

Did you see the message Elia sent out to teachers today wishing us all a happy Spring Break? It's like stabbing us in the back and smiling and pretending to care about us. I bet she's trying to appear sweet. Everyone I have talked to who has known her for any length of time thinks she is on a major power trip....always has been....she's pretending to be nice and wish us a nice spring break while she concocts plans to make us work more without extra pay. Meanwhile, she has her $262,000 per year salary, so what does she care if we work harder?

Anonymous said...

Haha! I did see that email. I was thinking to myself ..."what a load of bullsh!t!!" I also saw in the newspaper that she is the honored guest at some golf tornament. I say we all pitch in some money to sponsor a "down with Elia" hole! Oh man! Enjoy the break...we need it :-)


Anonymous said...

>The Board should mandate punctuation training for all administrators (I infer 100 percent suffer punctuation illiteracy, all C-students from undistinguished colleges and universities on the periphery of the civilized world) as the price for a job in an education system.<

Lee, naturally, you'd insist that the Board mandate similar training for teachers. I mean, they have jobs in an education system too, don't they?

twinkobie said...

Susy, post something. I saw
"The Wall" on some blog the other day with a question mark after it. lee