Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Compounding the harm

As I wrote about here, this year our district’s central administration told the teachers at Hoover school, which is scheduled to close in 2019, that they would not be moved as a group to the new East Elementary School or given hiring preference there. Many of Hoover’s teachers want to stay at Hoover for as long as there is a Hoover, but they can’t possibly stay if they don’t know whether there will be any job for them after the closure. As a result, the teachers have no choice but to start looking for other jobs and taking whatever they can find. This is a recipe for the slow death of Hoover, as its teachers will be drained away even though it is still the elementary school for hundreds of kids for the next four years.

This was a major topic of discussion at the Hoover listening post this past June, but there’s no indication that the board or the administration have done anything to address the concern. Teachers are already talking about leaving (and some have left, though I don’t know if this is why).

From what I’ve heard, this is not at all what happened when Roosevelt closed and Borlaug opened. (Maybe readers can chime in with more information about how Roosevelt teachers were treated?) How can the administration not have seen this problem coming, especially if it went out of its way to tell teachers that they would not be given any hiring preference?

The district needs to address this problem now, before the harm to our kids’ elementary school experience is irreversible.
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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. My child was transferred to Borlaug, and no, the promised "Roosevelt teachers stay with Roosevelt kids" scenario was not what the Roosevelt families got. The unsaveable Roosevelt building also turned out to be saveable at least in some respects after it turned out to be unsalable, and somehow the homeschooling assistance program wound up there. There was talk early on of a "new Roosevelt", but that's certainly not what happened.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha talk about bait and switch, yes the teachers and principal at Roosevelt were handed the kets to Borlaug BECAUSE their school was being closed, Murley and McGinness were guven those district documents...there was even a special dustrict committee that worked on all if this that they have all the minutes from...woukd you lije to see the disk contents that were given to McGinness and Murley? The distruct is at it again playing dumb.

Chris said...

Anonymous #1 -- Thanks for the info. I had heard that the district was not good about following through on the hopes it raised about where Roosevelt kids would end up after the closure. But I'm specifically wondering about whether the teachers were given hiring preference at Borlaug (or otherwise), or whether they faced the same incentive to leave Roosevelt in the years before the closure because they didn't know if they'd have a job if they waited until the end.

Anonymous said...

Chris - what collective bargaining rights are implicated - I was under the assumption that senority rights would prevent guaranteeing a teacher a spot at a new school, no?

Chris said...

Anonymous #2 -- I had that same initial thought, but at least one teacher (not a Hoover teacher) who is active in the union and familiar with the collective bargaining agreement told me that there is nothing in the agreement that would prevent the district from giving current Hoover teachers hiring preference at the new school. That's just one person's report, though, so I think it's still a good question -- and another reason to want to know how it worked when Roosevelt closed. So far, we've heard nothing from the district about this, and no explanation at all for what the teachers have already been told.

MANDY said...

I believe the Borlaug principal is the former Roosevelt principal. Anyone know of this for sure?

Anonymous said...

Chris - your running for the board and you haven't read the document (the CB agreement) that controls and dictates 80%+ of the spending from our general fund? I would think that would be "required reading" for anyone running for the board?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is a required reading list for board candidates. I wonder how many of the candidates have read and understand all the nuances of the collective bargaining agreement. I wonder how many candidates are asking questions about the collective bargaining agreement and the impact on teachers and students. I wonder how many candidates are using their spare time finding fault with other candidates rather than working through the rumored required reading list.

Chris said...

Anonymous: I’m sorry, but I don’t see it as my role to generate arguments to support whatever the administration does, when the administration itself is not offering those arguments or any arguments at all. But if there’s an argument on that basis, I’d love to hear it—preferably with a citation and a link. Again, I’d also love to know how this issue was dealt with at Roosevelt.

Hoover families have been asking about this issue for months. Is there any reason the administration shouldn’t be answering that question now, rather than, say, two weeks from now?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Chris, Anon #1 here -- yes, I see I missed your point, sorry about that. I don't know this for sure, but my recollection is that the Roosevelt teachers did want badly to stay with their kids and were not in the end given that option. Since that news came late in the day -- the whole "oh look, a new school because we can't save the old school (and we've got a deal with Southgate for this new one)" thing only became news a couple-three years before Borlaug opened. So there wouldn't have been much time for them to mull it over and quite. I have no recollection of any promises regarding the number of Roosevelt teachers that would remain employed, though. And I don't remember any explanation for why the Roosevelt teachers were not able to stay with their kids.

Mandy, yes, the Borlaug principal, Celeste Shoppa, was the new Roosevelt principal. We weren't fans -- among other issues, she was very big on PBIS -- but others have had better experiences.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1 again. One of the more irritating things about the HWRB changes (and, I'm sure, the entire Roosevelt closure process) was the way parents were encouraged to invest huge amounts of time and energy in dialogue with the admin and in focus groups, when in the end the decisions seemed to be made in some spastic, last-minute way that took little account of parent views, and left the kids exhausted, too -- first it seemed they were going to one school, then another. It seemed very like the corporate strategy that says you don't have to pay employees so long as you let them vent at you now and then -- I wondered if this was our "venting time" or "inclusivity time" or some such. So when the last round of "come dialogue with us" talks happened, I passed. I don't have so much time to burn that I can spend my evenings talking for the hell of it at administrators who're just going to do whatever suits them anyway.

Ed said...

The entire Roosevelt staff was moved to Borlaug. Same teaching staff, same principal, even custodians. The BASP was not allowed to move with the staff, as the city of Coralville gave a large amount of $ to make the gym larger and for the right to run the program. The staff was definitely guaranteed teaching positions at what was originally called "new" Roosevelt. Shameful, but not surprising, that they are acting like this did not happen like it did.

Anonymous said...

Corporate strategy is the new wave killing education, and politics/media have been on warpath against teachers for some time now. Just like in Wisconsin, first the downsize, then axe the senior teacher to cut coasts. They will destroy the teacher unions and you will be lucky to have a job. I can not believe Iowa is going with Ted Cruz, one of Scott Walkers buddies. Sorry to say this but, even worse than TRUMP. Ted is in the pockets of the elite, at least Trump is his own boss.