Sunday, February 18, 2007

Will Stealth Candidate Destroy California Teachers Association?

The duties of the top officers of California Teachers Association are basically ceremonial, like those of the Queen of England, except that CTA officers attend carefully-scripted educational meetings instead of carefully-scripted hospital openings. Until now, CTA presidents have been chosen for their ability to follow orders and stick to the script.

But that may change.

There is a new stealth candidate for CTA secretary-treasurer. If she wins this position, our candidate will, according to CTA custom, rise automatically to vice-president in four years, and then to president four years after that. (The thinking seems to be that eight years is needed to learn the script and prove loyalty to Carolyn Doggett and Beverly Tucker.)

I can't tell who the stealth candidate is, or her rise to power would be immediately ended by Caro and Bev. She is planning to follow the script until she becomes president, then strike out on her own. Will this be a good thing for education in California? Not immediately, because this woman's goal is to destroy CTA from within, like George W. Bush's appointees to heath and welfare commissions. There will be a period of disruption in which teachers may start to think for themselves, and break out of their current cliques in order to focus on students. But in the end, human nature will prevail, and teachers will settle back into a new power structure. The truth is, humans don't like too much freedom, because it gives them too much responsibility. They have no one to think for them, no one to hide their mistakes from the press and from law enforcement. It's a scary world when a teacher has no one but her students to focus on.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Bruce Harter and Richard Werlin find a happy home

After traveling back and forth across the country, from Florida to Texas and back to Florida again, from southern California to Seattle, Richard Werlin survived lawsuits, employment interviews, and rejections, to finally discover a resting place. His journey was harsh, because nobody seemed to like him, no matter how many wonderful things he wrote on his resume.

But Werlin's journey had at last come to an end, it seemed. The good people of Richmond, California took him into their hearts, and put him in charge of West Contra Costa County School District's human resources department.

Werlin has found people he can work with in the police department of his new home. Our schools are safe again for people who want to get rid of their fellow employees. But Werlin is not getting the public recognition he deserves.

After struggling for so long with the Downer 10, teachers at Downer school who wrote a letter demanding professionalism, WCCCUSD has finally found a teacher it can handle. She is 57-year-old teacher Jennie Mo, who was taken into custody at her elementary school when police stormed the school during library time. She was handcuffed in front of her second-graders and jailed on 18 felony counts of holding second-graders hostage. It seems that at 10:00 a.m., the police would arrest any student who skipped Ms. Mo's class, but at 11:00 a.m., the situation turned around completely, when Mo was placed on administrative leave for demanding that something be done about school bullies. She was told to go home, and she didn't.

The school claims that there is no problem with bullies. Parents think otherwise. And parents now think that not only children, but at least one teacher is being bullied.

How much is the bail for a woman who never hurt anybody, or wanted to? $900,000!

Way to go, Harter! The ACLU thought they weren't going to get to see you anymore, but this just might bring about a happy reunion. When do bible classes start in Richmond?

Nice work, Werlin. The folks in Chula Vista Elementary School District (San Diego County) knew you could do it.

By the way, Rick, don't let people like Gayle McLaughlin bother you and Mark Miller. What do they know? Always talking about transparency, honesty, legality. Secrecy has always been your strong suit, hasn't it? The no-paper-trail, intimidate-and-deceive policy has worked well in the past, and earned you the loyal support of California Teacher Association's Pixie Hayward-Schnickele and Barbara Kerr. When you've got these players on your side, why worry about students and parents?

Our dear Pixie behaves reprehensibly, but we still love her

I can't argue with Susan Ohanian regarding Richmond Schools: "Of course the behavior of the school personnel is reprehensible.

"But the union's refusal to respond to the attack on teacher professionalism is also reprehensible.

"When teachers are punished for standing up for pedagogy, their punishment should not be treated as a technicality. Teachers who remain silent in the face of pedagogical assault lose their professionalism."

But that doesn't mean I'll betray my old friend, Pixie Hayward-Schnickele. All I've got to say, Pixie, is that you may be reprehensible and unprofessional, but what do they expect you to do? Turn against your old friend Richard Werlin, the new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources? Perish the thought. You two go way back. You authorized payment of CTA teacher dues to CTA lawyers to help Werlin get away with crimes against teachers, and and obstruction of justice!

And don't worry. I'll bet your hanging your fellow teachers out to dry at West Contra Costa County School District won't keep you from rising in CTA! I agree with California Teachers Association--I can't stand those loudmouth teachers who try to change things. The status quo in education is good enough for Pixie, so it's good enough for me. What's wrong with being a coward and a kiss-up? Don't rock the boat. Go, Pixie! No, that doesn't make sense. Stay behind, Pixie! No, that doesn't sound good, either. Oh, you know what I mean. Hooray, status quo!