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Grand Theft Teacher

August 20, 2010

If you think if you just stay quiet, stay under the radar and do your job you will be safe, you are dead wrong. You may be thinking, “whew, I survived the purge at the Mont under an ethically dubious regime and didn’t have to go scrambling to find another position. I must be safe. Time to coast to retirement. No union meetings for me.” Think again. Remember the money that Congress passed to save teacher jobs?

Meet Gina Baruch, a National Board Certified art teacher and 17 year veteran (tenured 14 years) of Chicago’s Northwest Middle School. She brought 90 thousand dollars in grant money to her school but won’t be rehired because Chicago decided it would rather bank the federal teacher’s job money passed by Congress “to prevent future layoffs” than keep a veteran with excellent ratings. How did they get around the contract? She was “honorably dismissed.” Now she will have to go on unemployment. And in fact, 30 NBC Chicago teachers were fired during the summer of 2010. One -whose firing was rescinded had received an “unsatisfactory” after challenging a new principal who wanted to replace the staff he had inherited. Sound familiar?

The question is, why do I have to cite the Socialist Worker website to get most of this information? Why isn’t it in the mainstream press?

To my fellow teachers, you cannot afford to stay silent. It doesn’t matter if you are an outstanding veteran. They don’t care anymore. It is so much more tempting to hire relative youngsters at $40,000 a year and ditch your $70,000 dollar salaries. The Chicago Teacher’s Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 1000 teachers -yes, you read that right- 1000 teachers whose due process rights were violated. This will be happening everywhere. Arne Duncan, Ramon Cortines, John Deasy, Bill Gates, the Los Angeles School Board- they are all hoping you keep doing what you are doing- keeping your overworked selves (yes, I know how overworked Fremont teachers are with the new schedule) from getting involved and affecting change.

Let’s wipe those smug smirks off the faces of Arne, Deasy, and the Fremont administration.

How to file an OCR complaint with the California Department of Education

Caucus of Rank and File Educators

Teachers’ Letters to Obama

There is an interesting discussion going on right now on their wall about how the Common Core ELA standards are something out of the 1950’s.

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