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Thursday: A Decision I Must Make With Life-Changing Consequences. Advice?

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posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 06:57 PM

Originally posted by smyleegrl

The details are very boring unless you happen to be interested in education, brain development, and learning stages.

Well one of my degrees is in psychology. So I'd be interested. Just make a post here. If people get bored, they skip the post.

I do remember your other thread, but I don't remember anything in it too over the top. Not having recess is bad, but maybe they had their reasons for it? Ok that might be a bad example, I don't really see any reason for not having recess, but maybe they have reasons for the other things they do.
So maybe they do have reasons that you just don't know about, and you might end up looking very stupid come Thursday.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:03 PM

Originally posted by benrl
Take the letter, and have first the teachers all sign it, and next any PTA members who may wish to as well.

Cant fire you all, and if enough parents sign on as well it brings the issue more attention.

This is along the lines I was thinking. The more backing you have, the better. The question is, are there any others who are willing to stick their neck out with you? Or are they willing to watch you take the hit for them?

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:10 PM
reply to post by pheonix358

This is good Phoenix. It's about time the media did some good, instead of what they normally do. The question then is, can she trust anyone in the local media to keep her out of it?

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:11 PM
This is amazingly tough. I tend to agree with BayesLike and phoenix358.

Maybe you can find some ideas in these links? (Of course, depending where you live, YMMV)

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:16 PM
reply to post by Klassified

In the past, they've been content to talk the talk and let me walk the walk.

In a way, I understand. These are mostly first and second year teachers (the turnover rate at this school is extremely high, this is my eighth year there and that's considered a very lengthy career for this school). These teachers don't have tenure, so if they stick out there necks all the administration has to do is not rehire them. I do have tenure, which gives me some security and that is why I've been the spokesperson in the past.

I like the idea of having everyone else sign the letter. I'll present that idea on Monday. Even if just one other signs it, that would be something.

Also, I've put in for a transfer. Maybe I'll only have to be there until June.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:26 PM
reply to post by smyleegrl
I haven't seen anyone mention this so I will ask: Can your household budget stand the loss of your pay until you can find other work or wade through a lengthy lawsuit? I know you want to do the right thing, and as I've read some of your other OPs concerning the situation I agree that something must be done- however you have to consider the possible cost to your family.

I agree with several things that have been said in this thread. I believe if you mail the letter anonymously it will be trash binned. I also agree that if you do decide to put your name to it you should try to get as many others as possible to sign on as well, and getting local media involved could be key. From what you've said in the past I don't think the Superintendent or the Principle would want anything that looks bad on them getting to the state officials and may play along to prevent more bad PR than is necessary.

Whatever you do good luck!

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:28 PM
reply to post by smyleegrl

If people aren't aware of the problems they will stay covered up.
give a copy to the board, every parent, all staff members, local news paper, your local Mp,local radio and local TV news.

Hopefully things will get sorted out and cleaned up.

best of luck
Love and harmony

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:32 PM
My advice to you is to send a somewhat sanitized version to the press, for that you'll need to identify yourself.
Then publish anonymously for your meeting. Check out whistleblower protections with your state department of education, maybe there's an ombudsman or something - maybe your union management can help.

Power of the press it awesome, you have to have credibility for it to work and that requires you to identify yourself in your written account. Assuming you can get ANY interactive communication going with whomever in the press you contact - then you might push your anonymous letter on the meeting group. Otherwise, the backlash effect might be devastating to your career. These things usually need to take an approach resembling a battle plan, a coordinated effort to be effective. If you can get any support from the "outside", you stand a good chance of effecting some positive change. Otherwise, your career isn't going to be much to your liking in all probability.


posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:36 PM
How long have you got to retirement. Don't jeopardize your retirement or future employability if you don't need to, it's not worth it. Just collect evidence over the next year or so of any misgivings of the administration. If you are dismissed and any part of your letter is inaccurate or unprovable, you may lose your retirement.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:37 PM
reply to post by smyleegrl

Keep us updated Smylee, whatever you decide. I wish you all the best, and great success.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 07:40 PM
May i suggest that you send it anonymously to the local news paper and suggest that they have a reporter attend the meeting to read it and see what happens. It could turn into a real story for them. I think i also would try to get other teachers and anyone of importance to demand that something be done to rectify the situation. Keep a low profile and keep in mind that if you end up getting fired you would then have little influence in the matter.

What ever you do give it careful consideration as to the outcome. The whole US school system is not what it could be because that is the way they (p.t.b.) want it and they do not want it fixed. You could end up being black balled without a job. Consider that even in a bad situation a dedicated teacher can help her students.

Before you kick a hornets nest be sure you have a place of safety you can run to.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 08:55 PM
Thank you, everyone. You've all given me some other options to consider. After reading the advice offered, I've come to two conclusions.

1. I must take action, this nonsense has to stop.

2. I must do this without haste, in a way that will preserve my career and my family.

I will update this thread as things unravel. Again, thanks to you all.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 09:01 PM
I recall some of your previous discussions on conditions you've dealt with. I agree with the petition idea, garnering support before presenting. But something else came to mind besides the whistleblower suggestion. Take it to state level and let the authorities audit the complaint. Provide the other teachers and parents with email addresses and a prewritten statements of concerns and resolutions with but take them to state governing boards. My home county had a turmultuous school board, enfighting and ended in legal dramas! Amongst each other and their superintendant. The superintendant ended up loosing her contract as an end result, but ended up working for the state in other investigative and evaluative position based on her experience with them.

My suggestion, since you have supportive evidence, call state governing boards first. If there is impropriaty they need to know, because self governing enities know how to cover their arses and make those trying to make a difference feel and or look like the culprits.

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 10:30 PM
reply to post by smyleegrl

Offhand, Smyleegrl, I would say your plan will be met with failure. Here's why, imo.

I may be wrong here, but a school board is usually very political and admin plays ball with them. Generally speaking,teachers are considered by parents to be part of the system. Since you say you've already put in for a transfer, no matter what little corrective action admin might take after what could well be a combative meeting will not be acted upon until the fall session at the earliest in any case. So all that you would have accomplished is to stir the pot and get yourself a reputation as a s--- disturber and possibly result in negative impact on your career.

Then there is the diplomatic advocacy approach that usually does not involve threats of public embarrassment although the players involved know only too well what could happen if the truth be made public. ** Remember they are bit political players so wiggle room /saving face is very important if the people you are trying to obtain change from are the very ones whose actions or policies you are looking to expose. **

(In my experience, the diplomatic approach is the one method that obtains satisfactory lasting results. My last advocacy plan involved obtaining a change in federal fiscal health and admission policy which took a lot of careful planning over a few months and use of strategic community resources and people. In the end though, our one presentation to the feds brought about the changes sought and was announced by the perpetrators of the injustices as though the idea had come from them; and, since the changes requested were granted, it was a success.) They knew we had not yet gone to the press with the evidence we had btw, and I think it really helped us to effect a timely change in the manner we wanted.

What risks getting lost here (and you don't want this) to individuals who might attend this upcoming meeting is whether you would want to bring about real change / or disparage the school administration. If you are trying to bring about change, then imho the presentation must not be from a teacher or one single person, but from the parents primarily, with the inclusion of the teachers and the community as background support. This requires a lot more planning than a dramatic exposé by one person who is generall considered to be part of the school system, because ask yourself if you want to get the attention or have the problems receive the attention.

You may want this to get attention on Wednesday and be proven right, but I suggest you think this over more. I've been in meetings where this was done and it literally sux the energy out of the room. Exposing all the problems at once and finger pointing in a single public meeting will only risk causing info overload to the attendees and inaction as a result, as they will want to create distance between themselves as individuals and the admin/teacher, since they must be given time to consider the evidence and weigh it. Otherwise, being forced then and there to choose who is wrong and who is right will bring detachment and non-involvment.

Real advocacy requires careful planning and optimal use of all resources possible and a carefully planned presentation by individuals in the concerned group.

If you want your legacy there to be one of bringing about real change, I suggest you take a bit longer to plan and describe each problem in terms of policy rather than individual inaction etc., with a clear corrective goal for each problem. List resources, number crunching etc in the plan. Ask yourself if the demand for change might be better met if presented by parents who will be sticking around and watching for improved results. You could meet with a select group of parents and let them carry the evidence forward with specific proposed remedies. Let others point the finger down the road. And consider whether you want the meeting to be with the PTAwho usually represent the parents (?)
, the school board, or dept of education, etc.

There are several excellent books about planning for change. They helped me a lot.

All the best.

edit on 2-2-2013 by aboutface because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2013 @ 10:43 PM
you seem to be very passionate about your work.
do you think you might be of better service in a different position?
say, superintendent?
sounds to me, you are exactly the person i would want running the entire system.

either way.
i say be bold, stand up, and give it to em, on a grand scale. screw the formal minutes, give it to them yourself.
practice your speech,
be dramatic,
be passionate.
the parents will have your back!!!!!!

if higher office is a potential option, maybe take a little trip down to the local newspaper, or t.v. station.
i say go for it.

go big or go home!!!!!!!!

passion, is a beautiful thing.
don't walk away from it, embrace it.

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posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 01:30 AM
I highly agree with aboutface.
Unless you want to risk being fired, a warlike and confrontational attitude would not help accomplish the very goals you want. He or she who can win more cooperation will win in the long run.
First off, I would phrase everything in logically positive statements, so they sound less like blaming or an attack (even though maybe that's how you feel about it, and perhaps justified).
You stated that many of the school's practices are "incompetent and stupid."
What is the positive antithesis of these?
Competent and smart, or intelligent. You could even say, practical, or economical (e.g. as far as the student's energies go).
"A more practical approach would be to extend recess to those students too who have P.E. too. (Then you can sum up your reasons or your thought in a headline). What exactly stops this school from doing just that?"

In your verbal gestures, you could pretend to work together with the existing administration.
Which would, if listened to, isolate those who are obstacles to change and will not cooperate with those that would.
You could also gain time to sway people who are sitting on a fence to your side.
You could make up a slogan that would sit well with people, such as "Parents and teachers for intelligent change" ...

posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 01:32 AM
Hey smyleegrl,
I appreciate your dedication and determination to repair the situation. Sadly, a move like this could not only get you fired but potentially end your career.
I recommend two things to you:
1. Stay at your job, find a reason to love it again. Big changes usually occur by making a whole bunch of little ones. Be a/the facilitator of change, be a professional and help make the little changes without being the messenger of death.
2. look for another job elsewhere while you can still get a reference, and screw that dysfunctional school board!
Good Luck,
Stay professional, not emotional.

posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 03:22 AM
My advice would be to take your lawyer's advice.

posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 05:12 AM

Originally posted by smyleegrl

Originally posted by BigBrotherDarkness
Send it anonymously, administration has to abide by things to get funding. Kids have been left behind and education has taken a backseat, due to bureaucracy of things like no child left behind. The schools have to meet the bureaucratic red tape to get funding; so that's all school boards and administrations are really focusing on, meeting the bottom standard requirements.

It's like prison standards; what are the minimum requirements needed that keep funding flowing into the prison? That's all they'll typically focus on meeting; the prisoners are not important, they will over fill the cells just like over filling class rooms...I am sure you can see the analogies that can flow between the two.

If that were not the case in schools; then why is there such an emphasis on the horse and pony shows, when the people deciding the funding are walking through the schools? The kids have taken a back seat; so in best interest of the kids, as stated no reason to martyr yourself...when unfortunately; nothing is likely to change from it.

Your post saddens me.

I guess I'm an idealist. I want to believe I can make a difference. It's why I became a teacher. But these past couple of years, seeing the level of's like facing an uphill battle.

I'm exhausted from it, and I'm only 37. And as much as I love teaching children, there are days when I want to throw my hands up and walk away from it all.

But isn't the only way for things to improve is to make them improve? If I sit back and do nothing, am I not complacent in what occurs? Or am I deluding myself that I can have an impact at all?

We are in dark times, unfortunately. Our economy is broken, our education system is broken, and most of our politicians and leadership are corrupt. With this kind of oppression, I'm not really sure what you can do - but for what it is worth, I don't think it is the right time for idealism. I am laying low and waiting for a better opportunity.

Could you bring up the issues in an informative, diplomatic manner that wouldn't insult anyone? Maybe back up your ideas with research and show how it could benefit whatever the administration values? Totally hide the fact you are insulting anyone? That would be my second option for you.

Also, would it really end your career to bring up ideas at a meeting of how to improve the education system? Or are you more interested in targeting individuals? I'm asking, as it is a legitimate question, maybe you could separate the two different ideas and be able to get your point across without losing your job.
edit on 3-2-2013 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 06:14 AM
I'd encourage you to bring a lawyer who represents you to the meeting.

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