H/T to #TalkDISD where this was originally posted:
So…you’re having a bad week.
Your family’s outtie. You had to withdraw your stacked communications RFP last night. A third member of your staff is now under investigation (an OPR investigation, true, but an investigation nonetheless). Coggins is still tiptoeing through YOUR OWN tulips.
Your ridiculously unnecessary Convocation is now a tamped-down, live-streamed shell of its former self since you’re clearly afraid of what district teachers will do in front of the TV cameras to protest your particular brand of management — not to mention, outsiders’ discomfort with your blowing through a day of collective staff time and $50K to feed your ego.
Oh, and that whole teacher/bus driver, two-days’ notice thing? Genius. The icing on the cake.
It’d be one thing if this week was a one-off, but it follows a 15-month bleed. Internal policy violations. Disastrous hire after disastrous hire. Cabinet members under federal indictment. Expensive principal fellows now trained in the Broad style on the Dallas tax dollar WORKING FOR OTHER DISTRICTS. Flat test results at best, no matter how you spin them.
It takes a special talent to muck things up this badly. A dark gift for eyeing a situation and making the worst possible choice every single time. It takes an anger-fueled, hubris-driven disdain for everything and everyone around you.
A disdain that has principal after principal telling teachers that this year is the year that you “are coming after teachers and APs.” And it’s hard to fathom exactly what else you could do to come after teachers. Confiscate their lunches? Public floggings? Stocks and pillories? Make them pay YOU to come to school?
See, the bloom is off the Ross. You clearly revile teachers, and you expect them to genuflect as you insult them time and time again. But try as you might to convince the public that deep experience and higher-level degrees don’t matter, teachers aren’t stupid. They’re college educated, they’ve been around the block, and they know when somebody is selling them sh$& and telling them it’s Shinola. And, increasingly, they’re deciding that they’re not going to take it any more.
The vacancy numbers you presented to the BOT at last night’s meeting are laughably fraudulent. Teachers are keeping school-by-school counts, and the truth will out. And the truth got bigger last night by 67 middle-school teachers.
Teachers are voting with their feet. Some bad teachers, sure, but mostly the deeply experienced teachers. The ones who know their stuff, know you DON’T, and, because of that, pose a threat. Some retired, but communities from DeSoto to McKinney are DELIGHTED by your purge. And before you deny it, HCM’s letter to every other district in the state demanding that they not poach late resignees says all there is to say.
So…before you pick up your bully club and start indiscriminately swinging again, the teachers of Dallas are asking you to just…stop. Stop the constant, never-ending job threats. Stop the meaningless, content-free, white-board-centric lipstick. Stop pretending that discipline in our schools hasn’t broken down. Stop pretending that poverty doesn’t present its share of problems in the classroom.
Stop pretending that we have all the tools we need to teach. Stop imagining that teaching multiple preps across all periods with a thirty-minute lunch is sufficient to adequately assess rosters of 175 kids or bigger.
Before you smack us again or say something so profoundly demeaning that you trounce what little joy may be left in teachers who are already broken in spirit before they walk in the door a week from Monday, we are BEGGING you to take another tack.
Instead of telling us all that we uniformly suck, that your three lousy years of teaching experiences means you know teaching better, try doing something….productive.
How about buying every DISD school enough copies of several novels that they can check them out to every student? A single classroom set of 30 books per grade does not college-readiness make? How about some e-readers? More smart boards? Actual training in actual content?
How about some professional development that DOESN’T focus solely on your meaningless LOs and DOLs? How about some discussions about education that don’t involve acronyms?
How about letting the writers of your endless sea of ACPs meet and talk regularly with the folks developing the curriculum guides? And how about not testing our children in subjects where it’s clear you’re only doing it to measure teacher performance? How about not sucking the joy out of what little arts education this district offers our youngest students by giving them a test every semester?
How about you start looking at test scores and prioritizing your efforts to “improve instruction” rather than arbitrarily demanding a different “teaching style” from teachers whom tests already show are getting the job done?
Most of all, how about you stop cutting yourself a break, whining and kvetching, ironically, about a “witch hunt.” Stop breaking or bending or fudging every rule, every policy and, not for nothing, every boundary of common decency — only to step out the door of Ross Avenue to kick another teacher and step on his neck when he’s down. Do unto teachers the way you want others to do unto you.
But if you can’t, if you continue to believe that the people at the bottom of the DISD pyramid are so broken and beneath you that they’re not worth more than two days’ notice for a significant loss of income or, more to the point, some basic civility, please resign.
There’s no shame in admitting that this job is too big for you. We’ll help you pack. And write you a solid rec letter. Heck, we’ll even pack you some sandwiches and a cooler of drinks for the long drive back to Harrison.
Dr. John said it best: Be nice or leave.
Be nice or leave.
The Exhausted, Beleaguered and Bewildered Teachers of DISD