Thursday, February 06, 2014

Another Day, MORE Scapegoated Teachers

Two teachers didn't fight it, and they should have. I am sure they thought that resigning in lieu of dismissal increases their chances of employability. It doesn't; it's virtually an admission of guilt in the eyes of the public school system. Why wouldn't you fight a free hearing, even if it's rigged, and give up your right to sue civilly?

Their careers are over with:

The investigation included hiring an outside psychometrician, who “noted that the probability that these results occurred due to chance was close to zero and that further investigation including interviews of students, teachers and aides would help isolate the conditions that contributed to the low growth.”

The implication was the teachers informed their students to do poorly on the test so they would show improvement when they took the test again in the spring. As a result of this conclusion, the district offered Warnock and Traxler a deal – resign and get paid for the rest of the year. With little union backing, they decided to accept the deal, which included a stipulation that they would not be able to seek future legal damages against the district.

Supporters of the teachers say the investigation was unfair and amounted to a witch hunt.

One of the teachers clearly doesn't understand how it works:

Warnock: I did not believe I had another option besides resignation. As I understood it, legally there was another option of fighting the charge, but it was not an option I felt comfortable taking. It was presented to me, if a district went forward with tenure charges, it would be an uphill battle that the union was uncomfortable pursuing as they had limited success in fighting such allegations in the past. I was told that the judicial law judge hearing the case generally ruled on the side of the district. Additionally, while I would have continued to receive pay, I was told the court case would have taken six to 12 months. My life would essentially have been on hold and, during this time, my family and I would have been under a great deal of stress and uncertainty.

I knew I was innocent and could fight the charges. However, I also knew that, if I won, I would return to a district that did not want me to teach there. I felt I would definitely be teaching in a hostile environment. During this “limbo” period, I could not apply for jobs in other districts or move forward with my life in any way. The students, who are currently fighting so hard for my return and who feel they have lost the support and guidance I gave them, would still have been without their teacher for the remainder of the hearing. The struggles they are expressing now would have continued indefinitely, while the district and its taxpayers would have incurred double the expense for teachers’ salaries on top of expensive legal fees. It just seemed like a lose/lose situation all the way around. I decided it was the healthiest decision I could make to resign and move forward with my life rather than stay in a district with administration that would bring these false charges against me and accuse me of such unethical behavior. Based on the overwhelming support of the parents, students, my co-teachers and other colleagues at Northville High School, I am confident they believe in my innocence. They know I am a teacher who went above and beyond for each and every one of my students.

You will NEVER teach again, at least in a public school district.

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