I go to most of the school board meetings here and my friends often ask me "How can you stand it?" Well, believe me, it is pretty hard to sit through alot of it, alot of it is pretty nauseating. But, believe it or not, it is actually getting WORSE!! It's getting worse because it is SO OBVIOUS that our superintendent is building his RESUME' ON THE BACKS OF OUR CHLDREN!!
He was just SO EXCITED at the last board meeting because he could add new positions!! Wow, not teachers of course, teachers are just so ordinary, no prospective new employer is going to care about hiring teachers!! Oh no, he wants to LOAD THOSE CLASSES UP so he can hire specialists that make him look oh so good!! Yes, he thinks 24 is a good number for kindergarten!! Of course research shows that small class sizes benefit children enormously (Eugene Lewit, Linda Baker, "Financing Schools")- but no matter- the superintendent's goal is not what's good for kids in classrooms, his goal is to build HIS OWN RESUME' !!
So What positions is he adding to our already bloated school district? He's hiring two behavior interventionists. Now these behavior interventionists will not actually work with kids - oh no. They will TELL THE TEACHERS HOW IT'S DONE!! Yes, the teachers will benefit from their expertise and the teachers will take all the repsonsibility and do all the work! How convenient. But it does look oh so good on the superintendents resume'. Yes, he brought the Helena School District into the 21st century by hiring behavior interventionists. Even our pretty numb school board members questioned him about all the multiplicity- after all, we already have social workers and counselors and psychiatrists and the Montana Behavior Initiative and the Bully Program and the Buddy Program and the Dare Program and Power School and Resource Officers (cops) in school and carry clip boards around all day and and and. Well, these "experts" will work with teachers about behaviors in the classroom too but I guess they will be "more strategic"- it was very hard to make sense of his excuses but the board bought it unanimously!! Now our poor taxpayers will have to carry these new positions on their backs - and the students will have to suffer with larger classes to accomodate paying for these experts and so many more, so that this superintendent who won't be here for long, can make himself look good on a resume'!!!
Well, unfortunately, that wasn't all. He hired new literacy coaches too. I know one of the literacy coaches, what a joke. This lady got herself elected to the school board here in the 90's and then decided to use her clout with the school district to start a new career as a teacher! She worked in our gifted and talented program for awhile and then became an EXPERT!! She's now at the middle school telling career teachers, of any number of years, how they should teach!! This is Common Core of course. Science teachers and math teachers and all other teachers that are not English teachers have to teach writing and reading now!! Put aside the subject you are supposed to be teaching, and become an English teacher,because some bozos in Washington, WHO ARE MAKING BILLIONS OFF THIS COPYRIGHT, think this is how it should be done.
He finished up by hiring reading teachers at the middle schools. Apparently, we are sending kids to middle school who are beginning readers!!
There was a time when we ran schools well. Helena was always at the top in national testing because we don't have the inner city problems that larger cities have. Superintendent's promoted a bond to build one school at a time because they were needed. Special Education students had their own classrooms and curriculums so behavior in regular classes was manageable. Schools managed salaries and had money in their budgets for maintenance and curriculum adoptions without having to ask for more taxes. Superintendents didn't have to trick the public by taking out of district tutition and hiding it in a reserve account so they could ask for more in the yearly permanent levy.
No one was running after agendas or building their resume' on a proscribed Federal plan. Schools were for kids. You know, large parking lots with big lamposts everywhere is not for the children. It looks good in the pictures you add to your resume' I guess. And then, you have parking spaces for all these unnecessary personnel who rob students of their classroom teachers. This is a very sad day in Helena and in this country. If you go to your schoolboard meetings you probably are experiencing what we are experiencing in Helena - the destruction of public education. The BUILDING OF RESUME'S ON THE BACKS OF OUR CHILDREN!!!