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Friday, May 6, 2016

Coleman files complaint with state

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Photo)
John Coleman
On the heels of a formal complaint being filed against the White River Valley Board of School Trustees for a possible alleged violation of the Indiana Open Door Law, the board has changed its original plans for a charter school discussion at Thursday night's special meeting.

The board had planned to discuss the possible access to any abandoned school buildings by a private charter school in the future during a 6 p.m. closed door executive session that was to precede the 7 p.m. open meeting.

Instead, the charter school discussion will now be a part of the open meeting in the administration center in Switz City. The only other item that is included on the public meeting agenda is staff placements.

The board has recalled six teachers whose contracts were previously canceled because of a Reduction in Force action. The board needs to decide the class assignments for those teachers prior to summer in-service training sessions, according to WRV Superintendent Layton Wall.

Rural Lyons resident John Coleman filed a formal complaint early Wednesday morning with the Indiana Public Access Counselor protesting the board's original plan to talk in an executive session about a charter school possibly using corporation buildings that might be vacant in the future.

Coleman's complaint was filed before he had knowledge that the charter school discussion was "off the agenda" for the executive meeting and was now part of the public meeting agenda.

Wall told the Greene County Daily World, "The only thing we have on our (executive session) agenda is to look at staffing positions ... and some other personnel issues," Wall said.

When asked about the charter school discussion, Wall replied, "We are having an open session that involves charters (schools) and this new charter law and how it relates to the possible move of the elementaries here to the junior-senior high (campus). That's an open session deal."

Wall said originally the charter school matter was going to be a part of the closed door meeting.,

"Our original plan was to discuss it (charter schools in an executive session) and then we found out that we could not," Wall said.

Coleman agreed that his complaint, which he filed early Wednesday morning, is now probably a moot point, but he hopes the board and administration gets his message.

He added, "I guess they were going to do that until they heard all of my calling and rumblings."

Coleman's action came after he said he was told Tuesday by two school board members -- Roger Weaver and Jason Davidson -- that school attorney John Rowe was expected give the board a report on how to prevent charter schools from having access to any corporation buildings that may become available in the future.

Weaver confirmed to the Greene County Daily World on Tuesday night that the charter school issue was going to be discussed in the closed door session with the school's attorney.

Davidson would not confirm or deny that charter schools were going to be discussed in the executive meeting, but he added, "We're going to talk about a lot of things."

The board has been presented with a study plan recommendation to consolidate the elementary schools in Lyons and Worthington, however, no decisions have been made.

Coleman continued, "I'm glad they did (change the executive meeting agenda). I hope they will error on the side of keeping this discussion as open as possible. They are going to need huge community support to get through a referendum and the only way to get that is to get everybody on the team. It's not wrong to talk about consolidation. It's not wrong to look at those decisions. It's not wrong to talk about any options. They ought to discuss them all in public."

Coleman said he forwarded a copy of his complaint and his explanation for filing it to Wall, school attorney Rowe and the seven board members saying he believed the executive session of charter schools violates the Indiana Open Door Law.

Coleman also referenced the 1988 Indiana Court of Appeals decision in Simon vs. City of Auburn that states, "Public agencies may not seek legal advice from their attorneys in private about manners which are not related to litigation."

Coleman, a farmer and property owner, wrote in the complaint that executive sessions have a place, if the law is followed.

"As a resident and taxpayer in the WRV School District, I find it upsetting that our board has decided to work privately behind closed doors rather than openly with the public. It is my belief that executive sessions were never meant to keep all things private. Executive sessions were designed to keep personnel and current litigation matters private. The intent of an executive session is to not air a teacher's personal matters in public. It was not intended to be an avenue to keep quiet legal maneuvers to keep competition from occurring."

Coleman called for a transparent process in deciding if consolidating the two elementary schools and building a new school in Switz City is best for the students and the taxpayers.

In his explanation to board members, Coleman wrote: "I understand the difficulty of the economic environment you are facing. I understand the polarizing nature of the decisions you are making. It is because of these difficulties I would encourage you to work with the public in plain sight. There is no chance of a referendum passing without great public support. I believe this can only be achieved by having more people on the team, rather than behind closed doors. I am a strong supporter of our school board and will support our community always. Please do not take this action as a declaration for or against consolidating schools. I am not afraid to agree with tough decisions that may be made in the future. This action is only a condemnation of closed door meetings that should be held in public."


Comments
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Good for you Mr. Coleman. They do enough shady deals behind closed doors!

-- Posted by wjgrad on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 3:50 PM

Maybe Coleman should find a better use of his time.

-- Posted by chevygleen on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 4:14 PM

Keep up the good work John someone needs to keep a watch........

-- Posted by areader2 on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 4:22 PM

I think it would be great for a charter school to fill the vacant buildings and I know a lot of people in the local area who feel the same way.

-- Posted by Snake Eyes on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 5:33 PM

Thank you Mr. Weaver for being honest when telling the GCDW what was really going to happen at the closed meeting... Too bad Mr. Davidson could not or would not be as truthful.. or maybe he really does not know what was to take place........

-- Posted by areader2 on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 6:43 PM

You make such wonderful points Mr. Coleman!

-- Posted by caringmom on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 8:37 PM

It's funny how all these people can complain on comment section, but you never see them at board meetings. The board will make room if you wish to come. They do have public comment at end of meeting!!! Hope to see you there. Lol

-- Posted by Matt Hockman on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 8:46 PM

Way to go John! Someone needs to keep WRV in check!

-- Posted by mrscox on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 8:49 PM

How exactly do you classify a teacher as the "worst" or "best"?

-- Posted by lhsstudent on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 10:17 PM

John - If your plan for improving our county's educational system could possibly be implemented, my kids would be out of Bloomfield and enrolled at WRV immediately!!

-- Posted by blondestranger on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 10:49 PM

Teachers should never compete; they should collaborate.

-- Posted by drewlandry on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 11:16 PM

Mr. Coleman, as a teacher I can tell you that there is no one way to make an evaluation that would fit all teachers within a school corporation. All teachers have to adjust what they do and do not do on a daily basis. Some students need more auditory learning and other students need to have visual cues or hands on lessons. Teachers teach based on the students that are in their classrooms each year and what each child needs, not by a scale. If the school were to implement that type of system, your children (if you have any) and the rest of the children within this school corporation would be getting a more stifled education, lacking in what they truly need to succeed in life. You do not want to do that! There is a lot more to being a teacher than just money, test scores, and good/bad or best/worst.

It is also true that teachers have had to step up their game now that children with special needs have been included and mainstreamed within their rooms. Many teachers are not or were never taught how to teach or handle children with disabilities so they have to figure it out on a day to day basis. Children with special needs have a varied degrees of needs which can change in the blink of an eye. Add that to the time consuming classroom prep, the thousands of hours teachers put in every year grading papers, and the money they take out of their own paychecks and salaries to supply their students with necessities the school cannot afford and you will see teachers have their hands full.

Teachers, just like everybody else, are not perfect. We do our best to do what is right for our students and I don't want to ever see some sort of scale that stifles the education the children get from us. Education is a rapidly changing career and teachers spend a lot of time trying to keep up by going to conferences and educational learning experiences so they can keep up to date on all the new advances. Merit pay is wrong because teachers dedicate their lives to the children of the United States. Each and every one of them is touched by something a teacher did for them. It's a real shame we give so much of ourselves; and yet, still get torn apart by people who think we do a substandard job and want to put us on a scale which can lead to us being fired when you think how we teach is not satisfactory for you, even though you do not have a teaching degree.

Teaching is not all black and white, it's a huge variety of the color wheel. Your scale is black and white, but all colors on the color wheel are necessary for students to succeed. Some teachers need blue and red and other teachers need yellow, orange, or green. There is a lot more going on inside the classrooms of Indiana than you obviously have any idea about or you wouldn't even suggest merit pay.

-- Posted by Polar Bear on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 11:34 PM

Yeah, and we also know that alot of money goes to the schools for real stupid things. Granted I don't know whether you can turn the money down; but for instance what about all the money that was sent for the schools to have a fitness program thank you to Michelle Obama. The kids signed up and got a free t-shirt; didn't have to do anything but got a free shirt! They were all supposed to walk around the gym or track or something and then got some kind of snack.....like leaves and twigs. Whatever! There is alot money spent on stupid stuff like that. Seems to me someone needs to make sure that maybe that money be spent on something to do with learning. What do you think ? We never had this kind of stupid junk going on when I was in school.

-- Posted by ARL on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 12:20 AM

I think firing two teachers every year would breed a culture of fear and backstabbing.

-- Posted by corbinsa on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 8:55 AM

ARL your complaint has to do with administration, the admin are the people who should have required the children do a certain task to accomplish the reward. Just because the child signs up to do something doesn't mean they did it! The way I understand it, that money was to get the children moving! There is an epidemic of obesity in america among our youth, it has alot to do with children not moving they sit in front of the playstation or tv or where ever not moving. I am glad to see someone trying to get the kids outside and moving myself.

I think Johns idea should be taken into consideration! It sounds like that would be a great reward, in more way's than 1! 1, the teacher receiving bonus, 2 Knowing you helped the child, the child would not be the one to suffer, they would excell.. the more our students would excell the more students our school would have, if money follows the student win win!

-- Posted by elynn66 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:05 AM

Good job John!

-- Posted by switzgirl9 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:09 AM

corbinsa, I guess for those who would choose to do that, ( backstab ) I would hope that they would be fired.

-- Posted by elynn66 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:11 AM

Why do WE have to buy them a t-shirt to walk? Besides, only half that signed up and got t-shirts "walked" anyway! So what good have we done! Sounds good though right?

-- Posted by ARL on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:43 AM

Like I said, admin should not have gave the shirts until the children done the walk! that should have been a reward for them to walk for!and yes if administrated correctly it should have been good!

-- Posted by elynn66 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:48 AM

JPC-

I love the concept. But it lacks "real world" consequences.

Maybe we should fire the worst administrator each year as well? The worst cook in the cafeteria, the worst bus driver, worst janitor???

Threatening people with "losing" their job is not the answer. However, I do like the rewards for a "good" job. How about we hold administration accountable for evaluating the teachers each year - on a wide scope. Not just scores or popularity. A good administrator should know who is doing a good job and who isn't. They should be allowed to improve, grow as a teacher. If they in the end are not getting the job done - ok - cut them loose.

Professional people deserve professional opportunities, professional pay = professional consequences.

I do not have the answers. I do like John's passion and deserve to have the best. However, I do not think this is the best avenue.

-- Posted by indyzoo11 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 10:51 AM

Really, this is pointles bullcrap. You all complain so much, but do so little. All Mr. Coleman done was gripe a little, and things were changing anyways.

WRV, no matter the rumors, has always been a good school. Academically, it is much better than Jasonville, Linton, or Bloomfield. Socially, the kids are more well behaved. I feel safer here than I would any other school. Yes, we have problems, just like any other school, but we also have been conditioned to behave well. Seeing as how I am graduating Saturday, I would like to give much thanks to the administration and faculty for all they have done for my class.

-- Posted by tonialexandrea2011 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 1:10 PM

Toni, Congrats on the Graduation!

I agree w/ this part of your comment WRV is better than Jasonville, Linton, or Bloomfield. (that's only my opinion)

I can see your point, and if I were 18, I might think this is all pointless, but the point being made is the Taxpayers would like to have all the information about decisions being made w/ *our school* up front, discussed openly in public meetings. When you start paying property taxes, you'll understand then.

-- Posted by switzie on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 1:43 PM

How about giving tax breaks to parents whose children perform better? Everyone is so hot to blame the teachers when they aren't the people soley responsible. If people want to argue that their child does well but they have poor instruction, then reward them somehow!

-- Posted by NewberryUSA on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 2:43 PM

Let's fire the worst teachers? Seriously? So ... how are the teachers judged on who is the best and who is the worst? I guess if a particular class isn't as strong academically, any teacher they have would be fired? Give a most improved bonus? Mr. Coleman, what exactly do you know about education? Every school has good teachers and bad teachers. Do the bad teachers make the good ones look bad, unforunately, yes. Have you ever taken into consideration the home lives these kids have? Some kids come to school dirty, tired, hungry ... do you really think getting an education is on their mind? Probably not. Many students don't have the greatest home life and don't have a good support system at home. How are kids supposed to excel when parents don't care?

-- Posted by ISUgrad06 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 4:03 PM

It would be a win win if the teachers would work with this but, as I read the comments I think I can see why this wouldn't work and it isn't because of the children!

-- Posted by lillymae on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 5:07 PM

John,,, You do great things for the community of Lyons and the surrounding area. Thank You for not getting pushed around by those who think they are better than the rest of the world. WRV school board hides way to many things from the public. They forget children are the reason they are there.

We should vote JOHN PAUL COLEMAN for WRV SCHOOL BOARD !!!! He is open, honest, hard working and has the best interest of our kids at heart. VOTE COLEMAN!!!!!!

-- Posted by lbpeabody on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 5:31 PM

Very big of you to defend them. I respect your opinion but don't neccessarily agree with that they don't forgetthe kids. It is a thankless job, but they could use some improvement in communicating with the public and parents of the kids. totally get the red tape that restrains them but they need to fight to change some of that red tape...I believe that some people want to hold those positions for the prestige rather than wanting to help the school system. Still think you would make a great addition to the school board John!!! No matter we agree on all points or not "you did good in standing up for what is right".

-- Posted by lbpeabody on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 5:54 PM

Thank you John Coleman for all you have done. Your understanding of the issues and their solutions is very evident in your statements. Taking the time and energy to monitor those elected officials, who will ultimately make the decisions we will have to live with, is no small task but is extremely important. We should all work together and both sides need to maintain their credibility. Having private, executive meetings, to discuss what to do with abandoned school buildings is not an example of credibility. It is just my interpretation but it would appear to me the WRV board has tipped their hand ,having the needed votes, to close the two elementary schools, and in order to prevent a charter school from opening in either location they are discussing and will need to take action by July 1st. This is the date the newly adopted Indiana Senate bill goes into effect, which will allow Charter schools to use unoccupied school buildings. Translation: Block Charter schools first then close the two schools...in a whisper!

-- Posted by mr obvious on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 5:59 PM

Way to many people expect a "Thank you" for jobs that they either get paid to do, or elected to do. The board should be thanking the community for voting them in period, not the other way around. I am not trying to say that they are asking for a Thank you,so before anyone comes unglued about my comment that was not my intention..

-- Posted by teenythomp on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 7:06 PM

So, John, are you saying there aren't any good teachers at WRV?

-- Posted by ISUgrad06 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:07 PM

If the public is so worried about the school, why do they not show up for the board meetings? Instead they just get on here and complain! As I said earlier they have public comment at end of every meeting.

-- Posted by Matt Hockman on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:29 PM

Be as it may with these stupid programs, I do agree with John on the whole thing! I just have a hard time understanding why there is just no common sense to anything anymore. As a society, where are our principles and standards? Using the peoples' money, I believe we are obligated to being open and making sure that every cent that goes out is spent wisely; like asking the question I ask myself a lot "is this something I really need?".

-- Posted by ARL on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 10:47 PM

We are ushering in a new age in teacher evaluations, so Everyone will need to work together to come up with an adequate answer. The problem is nobody seems to really know. The state has suggestions that are simply a coarse framework. They want to do the same thing as Mr. Coleman...pawn it off on teachers. Problem is teachers struggle with the terms "good" or "great" teacher. Everyone knows the really bad ones...

Schools should be places of collaboration and innovation. Now some will say that can only occur with competition, but it doesn't have to. In fact, it may be the absolute wrong thing to foster the types of schools, teachers, and students we want.

I'll leave with this thought. Two teachers are thought of as top of the line. Teacher A has high achieving students that always test well, behave well, etc.. Teacher spends most of their time in their room. They don't make a lot of small talk with other staff members or students, but they are phenomenal with their students. This teacher is helpful when asked, but doesn't make big efforts to share their winning ways. Teacher B does equally well in the classroom. Students are top of the line, but this teacher is an extrovert. They foster relationships with staff members and students throughout the school. They are the first to share in their successes and failures.

Which teacher is a product of competition? Collaboration?

Obviously, this could be explained by simple differences in personality...or could this eventually reap self centered teachers interested in gaining favor in the evaluation. I don't know, but it seems like a slippery slope.

As for the firing two teachers every year...what happens when you start firing good teachers? Theory has too many holes to float.

-- Posted by GCC on Fri, May 27, 2011, at 12:13 AM

yes, teachers who tell a student the answers on the Istep test over the students' shoulder who can not answer the question should be one of the first to be dismissed!

There should be some type of evaluation for 1st and 2nd grades, too many students are getting into the 3rd grade without knowing how to read. The teacher feels the need to pass, just to make themselves not appear as they couldn't teach that student, when it actually was 1st and 2nd grades who should not have passed them to the 3rd grade.

-- Posted by elynn66 on Fri, May 27, 2011, at 10:06 AM

Mr. Hockman, I been to school board meeting and had to go to a second one just to ask a question. Then my question was not answered. So, to me, it is waist of my time to go.

Thanks Mr. Coleman!!

-- Posted by Dallas13 on Fri, May 27, 2011, at 11:04 AM

Common sense is somethnig we all talk about, yet it is amazing how many simply don't have it. Throw in the human element and a lot of people are scared of what these evaluations will become. WRV has a board that hired an AD/Basketball coach against the wishes of the superintendent...common sense told me to hire within. Somebody else's common sense said something far different.

I agree that common sense rules our opinions. We all think we have it. We think we know what a bad teacher looks like... We might even pick out the mediocre or average teachers fairly quickly...it just gets cloudy after that. The teacher A and teacher B would be a good example of that. Both are great in the classroom, but it would seem one is a bigger asset outside of the classroom. How exactly do you measure friendly...is it 2 hellos per morning and an inside joke with a student. Is it sharing 1 idea with a colleague...or two. The last thing I would want to see is teachers forcing it just to meet an evaluation. Do we want car salesman as teachers?

I don't know what the answer is...I just know it is way more complex than some are suggesting.

-- Posted by GCC on Sat, May 28, 2011, at 2:43 AM

I have read a lot of comments in these posts about how teachers 'should' be evaluated, but noone seems to know how they actually will be evaluated. There are going to be several parts

1) Do the students in that teacher's class show an overall improvement over last year on the ISTEP test. This will be an aggregate overview, so no one student can cause a teacher to get a bad rating. On the other hand, if a very bright student was Pass + by 60 points in math in the 5th grade, but then the next year they are Pass + by only 50 points, then that effects the 6th grade teacher negatively. Anyway, if the ISTEP shows that overall the kids in a certain class drop from the year before, that teacher is ineligible for any type of raise...their pay is frozen.

2) So if a teacher's students do improve on the ISTEP, the next step in determining any type of raise is through the evaluation process. So the new law says that all teachers will be evaluated every year. Doesn't sound too bad, right? However, it also says that such evaluations can be performed by an outside agency. The reason for this is that the state knows that it isn't feasible for principals at larger schools to perfrom all those evaluations and still do their actual jobs. So the state says that an outside agency can come to evaluate. The state is also promoting leadership incentives to any teacher who is willing to perform evaluations. To me this is saying, if you are willing to be a henchman for us, we will pay you more. It is true that effective evaluations need to be developed in order to either get teachers who lack skill or motivation out, or get them motivated. It is my opinion though that the people who will benefit the most from the new system will be the people who are willing to do the dirty work for administrators.

3) If a teacher's students make adequate progress on the ISTEP and they are evaluated favorably, then they still have to make sure that they are kissing the correct amount of administrator rear-end. All those other things; ISTEP, teaching effectiveness, collaboration; won't amount to a hill of beans if an administrator doesn't like you. Under SB1, which deals with contractual agreements an bargaining rights, teachers will now be limited to bargaining salary and benefits. What I am interpreting this to mean is that if an administrator comes to a teacher 30 minutes before the end of the day and says, "So and so isn't able to cover their after-school detention today because they are writing up teacher evaluations. I need you cover that 3-6 detention for me." At this point the teacher can either bow down in hopes of getting a raise the following year. Or they could stick up for themselves and say, "I can't because I already had plans after school." At this point, with certain administrators, that teacher should kiss any raise goodbye because compliance to assigned duties is a part of the state's new merit pay system.

Again, this is just my opnion, but I think that last part was one of our Republican leaders' major goals - to take power away from teachers so they would have to be subservient and obediant. And for the teachers who are willing to stand up for their lives outside of school, for the time they get to spend with their families and say, "No"? Well the state has now developed a system to get rid of those people, whether they are good educators or not. Don't be fooled by all this improvement garbage that the Daniels and Bennett have been feeding everyone. Why would they be cutting funding to our county schools, making those schools cut programs like elementary art and PE if they want our schools to be better?

They don't give a rip about schools improving. All they want is for teachers to shut-up and bow down so they can pay them less. Paying teachers less would give them the perfect opportunity to lower taxes on the big businesses who line their pockets. The idea that many of these laws are about education is all a fašade. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.

-- Posted by EGRACER on Sat, May 28, 2011, at 10:55 AM

John,

The article you cited has nothing to do with teacher evaluations. It has to do with the idea that the NCLB law's conditions were perposterous. If you knew what the NCLB law said John, you would know that it calls for 100% of students to be passing a standardized test by 2014. Each year kids were supposed to get closer and closer. We're pretty close to 2014 John, so of course the figures would show that many schools are failing because it is impossible to have 100% of the kids pass.

Do you know why John? The ISTEP, for example, scores kids based on how they compare to their peers. This system guarantees that some kids must fail in order for others to pass.

Now, as for these things that you say aren't true...have you read the bills? I have, and I suggest that you do the same before you call what I have to say "A Load". The one thing that you said that I agree with is that it is time for a change in evaluations. However, the system that has been created IS ambiguous in the ways aforementioned.

Here are the bills for you to read...hope you have a while.

http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2011...

http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2011...

-- Posted by EGRACER on Sat, May 28, 2011, at 10:42 PM

John,

In particular, read section 14 on SB 575. No bargaining over hours.

Also, read section 29 of SB 0001 reagarding teacher ratings.

-- Posted by EGRACER on Sat, May 28, 2011, at 11:02 PM

So the rest of the world has peers evaluate each other...and that fosters a good working environment...Seriously?

I will agree that the old way allowed poor teachers to skim by on the coattails of the good teachers, but the new way of doing things opens up a pandora's box. To pretend it will not have its own issues...is simply naive.

Outside agency??? Who pays for that? Does that mean we have to cut the Art and Music aides(since most schools are moving away from licensed teachers in those areas). I doubt Mitch will be floating the bill.

The peer evaluators sound really shady. I'm unsure that will increase collaboration. It could be something as noble as calling the police when somebody is messing around at your neighbor's backdoor...or as ruthless as spies that seem to be common in dicttorial reigns.

Teachers teach...Administrators go to school to lead their building or school....why exactly can they not do it. A peer evaluator would actually have less time to evaluate...remember they are supposed to be teaching too.

If they really wanted to fix evaluations they should have attacked administrators for giving up those rights within teacher's contracts. Why do they get a free pass. Most schools had their veteran teachers evaluated once every couple of years. Even young teachers were only evaluated 2-3 times a year. If that is all the time a person spends evaluating someone...they will likely come away with a very limited knowledge of what is going on. Once again more evaluations per year would mean more time out of class for a peer evaluator...I don't see how a "good" teacher would want to be out of their class numerous times per year/month/week. At what point does their time away from their students interfere with their teaching.

-- Posted by GCC on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 2:26 AM

John,

I agree with what you say about # 2, that if a teacher is doing nothing, then they should be out. However, that is the administrator's job, not another teacher's job. It would create a 'Big Brother' atmosphere where noone trusted each other.

In regards to # 1, I know that the rest of the world does base pay on improvement. The new system is better than the old one that was simply based on pass/fail. However, like the example I gave, what if a student does extremely well on their third grade ISTEP and there is very little room for improvement? Should a teacher be negatively impacted by a student whose score drops by 5 points in the Pass + range. The perfect example of this is when I had a student in the 3rd grade who got a 617/620 on their math ISTEP. Should the teacher of that student be negatively impacted if the next year they get a 610/620?

Also, people also have to remember that kids are not raw materials. They are not all equal, and that is why the 'Business Model' for education is very flawed. All students are different, so they all need different things to succeed. I am not saying that success cannot be had by all students, but to compare them to a material that someone need just perform some operations on, is not a fair comparison.

In reagrds to # 3, I appreciate that you acknowledge that such situations could happen. I should have made it more clear the first time that I know there are good administrators who will do the best for their students and teachers. Those adminstrators will operate on openness and integrity, just like thay have in the past. They will use the new laws to try to make their schools a better place for the kids. However, just like in all professions, there will be some who are out for power. In these cases I hope you are right. I hope that the communities around such situations will step-up. Noone works well in an atmosphere of fear.

-- Posted by EGRACER on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 7:57 AM

John,

If a teacher's class doesn't show improvement on the ISTEP, then they MUST be rated as 'ineffective', or 'needs improvement'. The law says that. If a teacher is rated as 'ineffective', or 'needs improvement' 3 times in a five year period, then they can be fired. This is what I meant by negatively impacted. Also, a teacher who is rated in one of those categories cannot recieve any pay increase. This is what I meant, that ISTEP scores could have negative impacts.

-- Posted by EGRACER on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 9:46 AM

John,

I should have posted this on the last one. I know that a lot of people who were trying to sell this idea made it sound like ISTEP scores weren't going to play a big part in the merit pay system because the tests were only going to account for a part of the increase, but they were either purposely misleading people, or they were misinformed themselves. The law does say that if a teacher 'negatively impacts' their students' performance on the tests, that their pay is frozen, no increase in any category.

-- Posted by EGRACER on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 9:50 AM

I see every one of you people have brought up good points here. But you all seem to forget the one thing about our schools. And it isn't at the school level or even the county level. Everything runs by what comes down from the top meaning, the state level. And with our governor against the local schools, and rather see private schools happen I think all of our schools do a pretty good job. We just need to look at what they have got to work with after the state gets done cutting the rug out from under them. I'm really surprised every one of our schools haven't been sold already. And what has kept them off of the chopping block is beyond me. And with Bennett in there now as Mini Mitch's lap dog I feel we only have to give it a little more time. Then we won't have to worry about how our schools are doing. We will have to look at how the private schools are doing if, that is even possible. Like I just said the key word here is, PRIVATE which means it's non of our business. When you bring a business for profit in to educate our children that is just something that I don't see being for the child's best interest. That is the best interest of the private business and how much money there is to be gained for the least amount of time and labor doing it. I don't like looking at it this way but, it has become a way of life. Everything is for the money now days, and there are some things that shouldn't be. It should be about the children. They are the ones that have whole different way of life facing them today than what we have had in the past. They say it is time to step into the 21st century. That's fine and dandy as long as the children go along with it and not be left behind. This is just my opinion so take it for what it is worth. I also feel like we have the best teachers now that money can buy. I don't see them doing any better than they already do because they also have our children best interest at heart.

-- Posted by dkbuskirk on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 11:07 AM

John,

If you are going to quote me, then consider the context in which you found the quote. I used that quote in the context that ISTEP tests will determine whether or not tecahers get pay raises. If you agree with the point of view that students are test scores, then I guess you proved your point. I think, and have thought this for a long time, that judging students on tests alone is unfair. Tests don't judge work ethic, they judge memory.

Furthermore, as I pointed out earlier, in 'most jobs', employees can decide which materials to use to prove their proficiency. Do teachers get to choose which students they want? If schools followed the business model, then the kids who didn't pass the ISTEP would be discarded like defective material. Are you suggesting that we get rid of the materials that don't meet IQ standards?

-- Posted by EGRACER on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 11:47 AM

John,

I agree with you that injustice is done everywhere to some degree. However, if everyone who was treated unjustly just rolled over and took it up the tail-pipe, then that just paves the way for more injustice. I am sure that my opinions will not change anything, but I'll be darned if I'm going to let some governor and his stooges make up all the rules according to their own ideologies and not say anything about it. Again, you are right that bad teachers need to be out, but when Mitch says that 'Teachers make too much money.', teachers are going to be fuming mad at pretty much everything he tries to do. Yes, he did say this on the FOX news network. He claims that teachers make 22% more than the people who pay their salaries. After hearing that statement, what teacher would think that he cares about any of our interests? I revert back to my original post that says' IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.

-- Posted by EGRACER on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 12:45 PM

..thought all of you "Better Idea" guys, home

schooled your kids?

-- Posted by thunderoad on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 1:48 PM

What a great conversation...The problem with the idea of it all is the focus of the problem. The very large majority of the teachers are good, if not great, but are often held back by "what the school board will allow" or what the state says they can do.

Add to it that there are so many students that make it difficult for good teachers to actually spend their time and energy on their craft. These are the disruptive students who lack the parental guidance needed to enhance the whole process. The parents become part of the problem rather than the solution. Regardless of what we may all think, this confrontation due to the disruptiveness, takes teachers away from teaching to developing more of a defensive posture. They end up focusing on "What can I do that will not land me in trouble some how". I see it in corporate america. Managers go from confidently utilizing their talents, to trying to cover their butts so they do not bring unwanted attention to themselves. This is not good for creativity and I would guess not good for that portion of the teaching profession either.

A very open mind, might sense that creating "private" schools or even potentially Non-profit educational facilities might create a learning environment, not governed by what the state will allow or how much money the state or federal government will or will not give or budget for.

These types of learning environments might also create a consequence for the disruptive students, whatever it is.

The system, whether government or privately run, would benefit from a business like performance appraisal system. The problem with these type systems are commonly the person with the responsibility to perform and follow up on them.

At that point, the development of the teacher, if they are not performing, would be limited to the "manager' or the "administrator". If they do not succeed, there will be two places to focus. Either the teacher or the administrator. By that time, it should be pretty clear.

One thing is certain, the problems, be them teachers or students or even school administrators, in Greene Co. schools are not necessarily representative of what is seen in other parts of the state. this should all be taken into account when casting judgement on the decisions of the Governor, or the State School Superintendent.

Just thoughts...

-- Posted by Indymac4 on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 6:05 PM

Indymac4, maybe we should be looking at the superintendant, but our state school superintendant should be keeping him in line shouldn't he? Isn't he the person who supersexcedes our local level?

In my opinion It falls back to the state level of school superintendant and our govenor!

-- Posted by lillymae on Wed, Jun 1, 2011, at 9:42 AM

You know John, I think we are all just making a big to do for nothing. All of our kids are being educated just fine. No problems getting into colleges and then coming home to start great jobs for our county. Haven't you been around here long enough to know that there are all kinds of jobs around here and already have such a great tax base already around here. It doesn't get any better than what it is. There is nothing wrong with our schools silly. It is all of us and in our own minds thats the problem!!!!!

-- Posted by ARL on Fri, Jun 3, 2011, at 12:06 AM


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