Might not have a job Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Aces, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    Last week the school board voted to end most of our art programs, leaving only "history of contemporary art", effective immediately, citing budget concerns. So Thursday night, the Principal, myself, and the PTO hosted a fund raising plate sale. We sold enough plates, with donations from the community and businesses to fund the ENTIRE arts program for the rest of this year and next year. We can even expand it.

    Friday morning, they marched into the school, and suspended our Principal, made me acting principal, effective immediately. With the promise I'd better back up the school board or I'd end up like our Principal. Note: our superintendent is fighting the school board too, and he's on the chopping block too. This morning, they marched into the building, demanding that our efforts to save our arts cease immediately. I had already called the state department of education and demanded they stepped in (along with the entire PTO). And when they marched in, demanding that artwork be destroyed, musical instruments be sold.

    And as acting principal, I threw them off school grounds and informed them of the emergency meeting that has been called tonight. So here I sit, outside of the auditorium at the high school — only place big enough for so many ticked off people — waiting to find out what has happened.

    So. Might not have a job tomorrow. We'll find out, I suppose.
     
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  3. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Oct 22, 2019

    Wow! How short-sighted of your Board. Sounds like they can’t tolerate anyone having an idea.
    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  4. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    At this point it's become vindictive. We raised the money, took it out of their hands to provide funding. And I suppose that was "outside of our authority". But that's horse manure because if it was, they would have suspended me too because I was just t as much an organizer as he was.
     
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  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Oct 22, 2019

    I'm confused... Who did you throw off of school grounds? And what would be the point of destroying artwork? If money is the issue, why not sell it?
     
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  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Oct 22, 2019

    I can't speak to the "destroying artwork" or "throwing people of the grounds" but I can see one thing that would difficult in many public schools. In the city I just left's public schools, they have a huge commitment to providing the same advantages to ALL schools, not just those that are wealthy enough to fund-raise for things.

    For example, they recently built three new schools. Each was to have advanced IT capabilities. By the time the third one got built, prices had gone up on everything for construction, and it became obvious this school would not be able to afford having the same IT capabilities (and other nice things) that the first two schools had. The last school built was in a poor neighborhood. Since they couldn't afford it for all three schools, they removed it from the first two. They refused give something to some schools and not to others.

    Fund raising for personnel is a very tricky thing. It is an EEOC item. In addition to the salary, there are the other costs (about 17% of the salary added on.) And if it is provided to one school, but not to others, the other children don't have an equal opportunity. Maybe their school and their parents don't have the resources or means to do this kind of fund-raising.

    So I can see that fund-raising for the arts in just one school might seem elite-est. Unless the fundraising was for arts in every school in the district, school board members would be upset. They have to answer to their constituency -- and saying "they can afford to fund-raise, your parents can't afford to be so generous, so you get squat." Their voters would be quite upset ,and rightly so.

    School boards have to look at the "big picture" -- serving every school and providing equal opportunities to each school. Your former principal opened a whole can of worms by allowing this type of fund-raising to take place. It was not approved by the district, which is essential for any major fund-raising, hiring, or personnel issue. Fund-raising for some things I'm sure they could support -- but fund-raising for a teacher's salary is not one of those things. How could they possibly explain to the people who voted for them that they allowed one school to have an arts program, while not allowing other schools (who don't have the resources to do such fundraising) the same opportunity.

    For what it's worth -- I hope you do have a job in the morning. But honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't. When they got rid of the principal, they made it clear through their actions that they weren't going to allow this to happen. When you followed his example, I'm afraid you may have signed your own termination papers.
     
  7. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    The school board...

    It's not the money.
     
  8. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    May have, and probably did. But I can't say I regret it just yet.
     
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  9. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    So here's the thing about the fundraising: we received the same amount as every other school, which was more than enough. They decided to take ours out completely, without touching other schools. If it was a district wide reduction, I could see it. But it wasn't.

    This is over ten eight graders who are not going to be allowed to March with the high schools marching band this week in competition. Because these ten eight graders decided that skipping school was the preferred alternative. It is the districts policy that any student who is caught skipping more than five days of school are not allowed to participate in any extra curricular activities for the remainder of the semester.

    And I ain't saying it was right, but I'm not convinced it was wrong, either. And clearly no one else can agree either — they're still debating and deliberating.
     
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  10. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    And you're right — what's done is done, if I don't have a job tomorrow, well, I guess that's okay, too. I'll take my licks.
     
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  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Oct 22, 2019

    I'm confused...doesn't the principal have a contract? How can they just fire him?
     
  12. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Not fired, suspended. And for violating district policy, which is fair. He did. We both did.
     
  13. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Well. I still have a job for now. We both still do, actually. He's suspended without pay for the remainder of the week for the unauthorized fund raising, and we're both on probationary status until February. The original decision not allow them to play this weekend will stand, and for the remaining football games for the season. One member of the school board has stepped down in light of recent events. And our arts program is fully restored to the state it was prior to all of this.

    It's been made very very clear to the both of us that further violations of district policy won't end as well. It was also made very clear to the school board that apparently the parents quite like both of us and if it were not for us, they'd be taking their kids to other districts.
     
  14. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    Should also add I really don't think the parents were the main ones. The district apparently doesn't have the authority to undermine the minimally accepted curriculum for music and arts education in a public school.
     
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  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Oct 22, 2019

    I’m still stuck on the part where you threw the school board members off school grounds. Can’t get past it.

    ETA: I’m still scratching my head on this one! To be honest, if I attempted to remove one of the board members from my school or even politely asked them to leave campus, my job would be on the chopping block. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  16. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    ...they were disrupting school by making a racket...so I bluffed a little and told them I'd call the police. Bad bluff but it worked.
     
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  17. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Oct 22, 2019

    Just hope there aren't ramifications from these actions down the road. That said, I'm glad you saved the arts curriculum for the immediate future. Hoping that long term will work out as well.
     
  18. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Me too. I have a feeling it's going to be a long rest of the school year.
     
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  19. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Oct 22, 2019

    From here on out everything we do is going to be examined by a microscope, held by someone with an ax to grind.
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 23, 2019

    I'm so relieved the consequences are minimal. That being said, if you have someone in the media you trust, this might be a time to mention your ordeal...
     
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  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Oct 23, 2019

    This is one of the most suspenseful and fascinating posts ever on AtoZ. What a rush! Go Aces, you put those horrible school members in their places. What a bunch of creeps!
     
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  22. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I thought about that. But at the same time I don't want to rock the boat either.
     
  23. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    JERKS!!
     
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  24. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Oct 24, 2019

    Stop the arts? Sell the musical instruments? Destroy the artwork? School board members invading the school grounds and behaving like misbehaved children? All for the sake of money that the community was willing to pay for anyway above and beyond what they are taxed?

    I'm shivering with fear as I read this account! How horrible that this happened, and Aces, you and your principal are to be commended for standing up for what is right!

    What would come next? Burning the books in the library? After all, books cost money and librarians need salaries. And think of all the thoughts and ideas found in books that would crowd students' minds. The students need to learn the facts that match the correct bubbles on the standardized tests like the good little robots we're programming them to be.

    I'm speaking ironically, of course! Arts. How can one remove the arts from a liberal arts education? Math is more than 1+1=2; it's imaginative. Perspective in drawings and paintings are mathematical. Music could easily be renamed math-ic; the rhythm has a meter, the notes of the scale are arithmetically aligned and even well-tempered to extend harmony potential. Science--M theory. Now there's a prime example. If we regulated ourselves to just current "facts", we'd still be at the apple falling off the tree stage. Art stimulates the imagination, and imagination stimulates science. Social studies--to quote a kid, "Duh!" Leonardo da Vinci. Need I say more? Yes, I will say more. What about the Native Americans' and the First Peoples' artwork and music. Is that no longer historically significant? Even the alphabet is engrained in the arts. How many of us learned our ABC's to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?

    When I teach, I integrate the arts into my lessons, especially now that the Internet has artwork, music, plays, etc. instantly available. But I shudder to think where elimination is leading. In my mind, and hopefully I'm wrong--oh, how I hope I am wrong--but I don't think I was exaggerating when I suggested that book burning might come next. We survived past 1984, but that was only 35 years ago. I recall when we read Orwell in 12th grade, discussing the book at lunch one day with my friends, my friend across the table slapped his forehead and said, "Oh, no! I've only got 9 years to live!" Elimination of the arts, of books, of thinking....the beginning of the dark ages? When school board members feel they need to cause a ruckus in the building to eliminate learning, to the extent that the acting principal (and rightly so) feels the need to threaten them with the police, is that the beginning of Big Brother?

    I should stop my post here, but another thought, an even scarier thought, just entered my mind. So here it is.

    Also in 12th grade, we had a One Act Play festival. (I'm literally shaking as I write this, as I relate this play to the above situation). In the play, a group of people are preparing for the lottery. They are discussing whether the lottery should be eliminated. I still recall one person shouting something about how terrible it would be to even think of ending such a tradition, how new ideas are not to be permitted. We've always had the lottery and we should continue to have the lottery. Finally, it is time for the lottery to begin. At random, a person in the group is chosen and placed within the middle of the encircling group. While that person screams, the rest of the people pick up stones to throw at and kill the person chosen by the almighty lottery.

    Is this where elimination of the arts, of thoughts and ideas, is leading?
     
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  25. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Oct 24, 2019

    [​IMG]
     
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  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Oct 24, 2019

    Aces, you probably thought learning how to be a good administrator would not be too difficult :(...I'm really impressed with you!!
     
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  27. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    It was rather irresponsible.
     
  28. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Cohort

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    OMGoodness! I LOVE this post. It gives me hope. I am so sorry you maybe under a microscope for awhile, but so proud to hear you, P, and school workers, took back their/your power! This was just the most inspiring post to read for me.
    We have more power than most people think. When we have parents backing us and we stand together, the school board's hands are tied. ( Especially when we are 100% right in sticking up for what we believe in!)
    I am older and have always longed for the day that teachers across the USA would all get together and unite. This country would be in sorry shape w/out schools, but changes are needed in our schools. We need more people like you and your P who do the right thing even when under the gun! Hats off to you, your P, and your PTO!
     
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  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 27, 2019

    Seems like there would be a news story on something so extreme...link?
     
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  30. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I'm appalled that the school board members have (thought they had?) the authority to do suspend principals and manage other employees. My husband has been on our local school years for years, and the only power it has in terms of hiring/firing/suspending anyone is related to the superintendent. They must approve staff changes but have no authority do initiate them. The rules must be very different in other states.
     
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  31. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    It's been a few days now with no update. Did the eeeeevil school board destroy the art work? Did color ever bloom in Pleasantville?
     

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