Friday, May 31, 2013

This Blackballing Goes on in Every School District in the U.S.

At least at Denver Public Schools, teachers are not sitting back and taking it.

The only time a "do not rehire" should occur is if there is an offense worthy of a license revocation.

Of course in more and more states like Florida, a teacher can have his or her license revoked if he or she has a couple of bad evaluations. THAT should NEVER be allowed given the power imbalance inherent between principals and teachers.

The blackballing continues even on employment applications under threat of license sanctions for "dishonesty." Again, it isn't the same in private industry since just one person, an unaccountable principal, can literally kill your career.

From the linked article:

Henry Roman, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, said DPS is the only school district in Colorado that has a system in which it labels teachers ineligible to be rehired by the district.
"Before making these career-ending decisions, I suggest you make sure you have a clear understanding of the cause behind each of these non-renewals and whether this cause rises to the level of 'you will never work again in this district in any capacity,'" Roman said.

There is even a petition to stop the practice.

Washoe County School District, my old dirtbag district, has at least two lawsuits pending against it for this very thing.

The devil, however, is in the details. Even if you are eligible for rehire, that will never guarantee you a job with the district, as the principal who sacked you can blackball you from ever working for the district again.

This comment following the article sums up the situation nicely:

I was in the DPS system for 4.5 years and, to me at least, DPS is a neo-feudal bureaucracy. Principals' individual power is akin to a medieval lord's authority over an entire village, in that it is rarely checked by the higher ups, and ultimately leads to corruption. This corruption includes principal aligned cliques ('helpers') ratting out "undesirables"(i.e. those who don't bow down to the principal), cronyism, principals bullying teachers (in one of my schools, every teacher who went into the principals' office came out crying), and widespread discrimination (sexism, racism, ageism, etc.).

While life is rarely fair, and we all take our knocks from life, what goes on in poorly run public school systems is downright criminal. It has nothing to do with poor teachers (my overall teacher rating was 4.67/5 or Superior) and everything to do with power, control, and money.

Whether it is the entire Frank Roti scandal, the class-action law suit filed by 200+ former DPS teachers alleging ageism in 2011/12 (including my best friend), or the numerous sexual harassment cases involving principals harassing teachers (including mine), DPS is structurally broken and in dire need of a fix. DPS shows that the age-old adage, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely" is true. The fact that something like the recent teacher purge happens every year is very ominous indeed.

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