Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Washoe County School District "Firing," Or, Why Should Any School Administrator Have a Lifetime Job?

That's what it amounts to, let me tell you, when they are allowed to keep their jobs no matter how awful they are, no matter if they ruin other people's lives in keeping those jobs. WCSD Superintendent Pedro Martinez has the right to reorganize the district in any way he chooses. In fact, every fiscal year, there is a reorganization of the district. Go to the website and download the flowchart showing the "organizational chart." It's different every year.

What Martinez has done differently from previous superintendents is that he has actually gotten rid of people through reorganization or outright forcing them out through firings and "resignations" or forced retirements. I am referring here to administrators--NOT teachers, not classified people, who have few or no rights at all and have always been dumped with the greatest of ease. Administrators in the past have been virtually impossible to get rid of. When I say "get rid of," I mean OUT of WCSD, not create a job for them when they screw up, not move them around when they screw up, not demote them when they screw up, not promote them when they screw up. Fired, forced out, dumped, is what I am talking about. Martinez also talked publicly about the difficulty of getting rid of these people who think they are entitled to have a job for life. He said to the effect part of it was the law, and part of it was relationships. I would say that only about 10 percent of it is the law because the statutes are vaguely written and give administrators a lot of leeway, and 90 percent is connections with either board members, other staff, people who used to be administrators, and other patrons. Many of these administrators are patronage hires who never had to look for a job in their lives. A teaching job, for example, was handed to them literally out of the gate upon college graduation, simply because they had a well-placed friend or a relative who worked at the district grease the path for them. This favoritism is generally illegal in civil service employment but is allowed in public education. Most of the rest of us had to try for years and years and years to get a job and mostly were relegated into taking jobs nobody else wanted and often treated like dirt by principals and even other colleagues who were themselves patronage hires. These patronage hires, if they still belonged to the "inner circle" of this district, got to move up the ladder into a principalship or some makework job in the central office (there are always oodles of those kinds of "jobs" to guarantee these people never have to seek work outside of WCSD). Those options were almost never allowed to us outsiders.

What Martinez has to worry about is the board being pressured by the bargaining unit of the administrators (I am not talking about the at-will ones like Mieras who were near the top of the organization but those like principals who actually have a UNION, something that should be illegal because principals are management, not rank and file) to dump him because they are scared that the gravy train is ending for them. They want things the way they "used to be" under Paul Dugan, Hager, and the others from way back. They want that good old boy system where they could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and they never, ever had to worry about consequences to their own careers while destroying other people's lives in the process.

Speaking of Martinez, he talked about the Mieras matter in this video:

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