Friday, March 4, 2011

Extremely far from ideal

Here's a small excerpt from my upcoming April East Side Monthly education column. I put aside what I had been writing for April to focus on the sharing reactions from teachers in the first week of hearing that they faced termination at the end of the school year. Since last Wednesday, when the news of the teacher terminations broke, the possible impact of PPSD budget cuts on our young people and their schools was surrounded by a larger context of bleak finances and immediate responses by Mayor Taveras. The mayor is addressing neglected and obfuscated financial responsibilities; I applaud him and am committed to contribute all I can to move our city to its next strength. Here's part of what I wrote; the issue should be in your mail within the next couple of weeks, and I'll link to the full version when it appears online.
...we know  that the way the teacher termination decision was reached and announced was extremely far from ideal, even if could not be helped. I am not in a position to know if there were no other choice. What I do know is that the specific circumstances of the teacher termination announcement—during vacation, with no guidelines or support of which I am aware provided for teachers to manage students’ anxiety—created a perfect storm for stress and unease. One can assume the utmost good will and believe that no one intended to create anxiety among students, but the consequences, however unintended, have been real. The erosion of trust that resulted from the way the teacher termination news broke created resentment, confusion, anger, and worry at precisely the worst moment. We all need safety and security to use our minds well. We need everyone at their best as we pull together to preserve what works and improve what’s broken in our schools for the benefit of our city’s young people.


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