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Betsy Combier

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The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Aaron Carr
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Jim Calantjis
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
Treasure Tenure by Diane Hanfmann
If you think a teacher is bad, learn the procedures for acting on that. Hold the administartor accountable. We must treasure the voices that speak for our children,,,the brave teachers who follow their conscience and spill the beans.
Treasuring Tenure
by Diane Hanfmann

Imagine a teacher sees miseducation happening about her. Imagine that this miseducation occurs as a result of an administrator's directive and with his/her blessing.Imagine his or her best efforts at solving this quietly with the district are reminiscent of a head banging exercise in futilty. This ethical teacher is in a quandary. It is suggested that tenure be established before he/she addresses such failure to provide appropriate services to students. In one state, that would equal three years. A few brave souls speak out without tenure. They may then find themselves unemployed, blacklisted, or quite nervous. Tenure lessens the likelihood of such outcomes. Tenure provides for an opposing voice to be heard. Tenure allows for student failings by the schools whose mission involves creating appropriate growth to be made public and not hidden. Tenure aids in transparency.

I find this angle of interest as it can be applicable to both sides of the current education reform movement. Those who adhere to Ms. Rhee's ideas certainly find the public schools to be failing. It is simple to find articles posted there including static achievement measures as provided by the site administrator but there is no reference made available by the administrators of the site to educate the readers as to the limits of the scores so as to allow the reader to view such information in its proper perspective. Perhaps this omission is consistent with Ms. Rhee's decision to bypass mountains of research on poverty and such measures and keep poverty out of the discussion. I find that akin to describing 9/11 as a day between 9/10 and 9/12. Another intriguing observation of the Students First FB page is the lack of mention of NCLB as a factor in where America's schools have gone. Call me irritating but I can't get past the fact that Ms. Rhee has a background in government and public policy while NCLB remains a topic I add to the page .

I keep scratching my head. Yet one thing is certain; the unions are associated with the flaws they see in the public education system.

The unions are the exact entity that may influence a teacher to speak out against practice which is not good for students. Are the Rhee followers aware of the gag that will be placed on teachers' mouths if tenure becomes extinct Certainly we are awarethat Ms. Rhee had no problm masking taping the mouths of her entire class, but do her fans want to do that to the teachers of our nation's children? Why?

I hold the opinion that high stakes testing does not incite good practice. I infer that David Berliner may agree as he authored a book about the corruption of America's schools by such a choice. Sadly, imho, that practice continues across the nation and stakes have been raised even higher. The term bubble kids is reflective of bad practice which involves deeming some students as unworthy of being targets for instruction as they are not likely to produce desired data outcomes. Looking good does not equate to doing good. Certainly such unethical behavior is worthy of public attention. How will dirty laundry be aired if there is a constant possibility of being fired?

Enflaming the issue even more is the ever growing presence of politicians being pulled into ed reform efforts. Mayoral control is endorsed by Ms. Rhee and Jeb Bush actively recruits politicians to his reform camp. How likely is it that politicians will have a vested interest in proving their reform ideas were correct by cherry picking information and feeding it to the naive public? Opposing views from inside the classroom will likely disappear when tenure does.

If you think a teacher is bad, learn the procedures for acting on that. Hold the administartor accountable. We must treasure the voices that speak for our children,,,the brave teachers who follow their conscience and spill the beans.

Parents depend on them. Protect voices from within the classroom. Let the few who heed the call to advocacy do so without fear to their livelihood. Treasure tenure.

© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation