Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Everett School District Employees SPEAK UP!

I can't tell you how many teachers and other district staff have told me privately that they wholeheartedly support he work of the Everett School Board Project. My kids even come home from school telling me that teachers will take them aside and ask them if they are related to me and then say, "Tell your mom she's doing good work."

I'm sure there are plenty who would like to poke my eyes out or flunk my kids in their classes, too.  But, I'm encouraged by the private "thanks you's" I get. Many teachers get it - the administration of this school district doesn't focus enough on the classroom - they spend a lot of time focusing on things that make good resume' bullet points for themselves while creating, at times, a hostile workplace with low morale for those "in the trenches" at our schools.  

For instance, since our current Superintendent arrived about 6 years ago, the graduation rates in this district have sort of mysteriously and dramatically INCREASED.  Can't quite figure out why other than we are counting "Super Seniors" (5th year high school students) in the mix as well as some others who were dragged back to finish.  Essentially, if they graduate before they're 21, they're counted as a graduate.  The other troublesome bit of trickery is that we also lower the bar for students who really can't graduate under the regular standards.  A mom told me the other day that her child graduated ONLY because they scrapped the High School math requirement for him and lowered the bar to the 8th grade math test - the last one he passed.  Another mom told me that her special needs son was told he could graduate if he made a rap video about what he'd learned in high school.  *BOOM* two more for the statistics....

But, I digress.  

While I know that far more people are reading the Everett School Board Project Facebook page than have actually joined (we are approaching 400 members now), I know that a lot of them are district staff members who dare not join and/or participate.  The recent kerfluffle with Coach Bertrand at Cascade High School has been a bit of a cautionary tale for anyone thinking of "crossing" the Superintendent and making him look bad.  Suddenly, he took an interest in reorganizing the X Country program at Cascade (things must be going so well down there at the new $28 million administration building that he has time to run all the sports teams in the district now) and declared that he wants to see the Cascade X Country program go "in a new direction" and then fired the respected and inspirational coach who had held the position for over 30 years.

Insert public outcry here and here and here.... (with much more not linked here).

So, how DOES an ESD employee speak up without incurring the vindictive wrath of an administration unafraid of punitive punishment?  Well, a recent ESD graduate figured that out.

Behold a completely anonymous way to tell your story:

And, I am NOT kidding when I say this is anonymous.  There is no way to connect you back to any school or position unless you reveal too much about yourself.  Even if the district DEMANDED we reveal who said what, we can't because we simply won't know.  It's a chance to finally have your say about whatever you want to have your say about without fear of reprisal.  

Comments will be posted at Everett School District Anonymous Facebook page so that others will see they aren't alone in their frustrations.  It sort of is for Everett School District employees what the Everett School Board Project is for frustrated parents and taxpayers.  We get to speak publicly because there's no danger of losing our job.  You don't, sadly.  

The bottom line is that we think the Everett School Board needs to take district leadership in a new direction. We need to find a leader who is engaged and participating in our schools.  This year a new contract will be negotiated for teachers - and I know based on comments I got three years ago, that this secretive process is as frustrating for teachers as it is for taxpayers.  

Have your say about:
  • Learning Improvement Fridays
  • Workdays
  • Assignments
  • Leadership
  • Paperwork
  • Funding
  • Transparency
  • contract negotiations
  • Union leadership
  • Morale
  • Maintenance
  • Curriculum
  • ?

It's your turn to speak up and we hope you will!