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Ivy 
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Re: “Big changes coming to employee contracts in Little Rock School District

Radical Centrist

It affects all employees, I think, as some staff have PNAs (custodians, security, etc.), and if that's the case, it's truly a shame they are being put in this situation. The custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc. don't make even close to a living wage. What will happen when they have meager salaries, meager benefits, and absolutely no opinion concerning their work? What will happen when one of the staff overlords decides he doesn't like an employee because he wore the wrong type of shirt? Will he have to answer for firing someone for whatever he deems unnecessary or "bad'?

Our bus drivers take kids to school every morning. There are schools, and we all know what schools I'm referring to, that do not provide transportation. Heck, one of these schools even required kids to bring a sack lunch for approximately a month in order to eat because the cafeteria wasn't finished. How would kids get to school if our public dollars didn't pay for it? How would kids eat? We wouldn't have kids to teach. Along those same lines, how does a "public" charter take money from the government, taxpayers' money, and not provide transportation? If it wasn't for the staff, teachers would be knee deep in building issues we have no knowledge, or business, reconciling. I don't have the ability to do those things. Seriously. I don't know how to change our classroom lights. I've had to call custodians before to do it for me. Building maintenance even recently moved a board for me so I can actually use it instead of having to constantly erase my main board. And we pay them a nonliving wage to help us.

It is an absolute tragedy that affects every single person in every single building in the District.

Who will now voice their opinion concerning curriculum if we have to constantly fear retribution? Will it be a boxed curriculum? A script (and yes, boxed lesson plans, units, etc. exist-- many with scripts that to Pearson)? It takes away the instructor's ability to revolutionize and vary learning. Every single class is different, and we have to monitor and adjust for each class, each kid– every single day. That's an incredibly difficult thing, I imagine, when you fear for your livelihood. It has turned amazing teachers into drones because without the union, without collective bargaining and support, we cannot argue for, or support, our students and their learning.

This is a horrible situation for all of those involved, and I hope Mr. Key, Asa!, and all those who are in power will end this. If they do not, I can't speak for anyone else, but I'll certainly try.

Armed Bears is right-- we've been conditioned in this state, we've been scared into submission. It's a damn shame, too. Most of us just want to go to work, educate, and our best. Then we want to grade/figure out what we need to accomplish, go home, and spend time with our families (which includes teaching our own children, I assume) knowing that, in the morning when we wake up, we have a secure career and we have kids to teach and we have an amazing support staff and we have a voice.

We're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; not all of us are in it to work hard and/or teach children, but the vast majority I've had the privilege to meet and the honor to teach with just want to do their jobs. Those that shouldn't work with kids can be exited as long as guidelines are followed and bad practices are documented. I've seen it happen time and time again.

In a world of standardized testing mania, fighting over standards because educational gerrymandering will make corporations and politicians infinitely more powerful, a custodian shouldn't have to worry about whether or not he will be able to feed his family, to procure adequate medical care, to take a fifteen minute break. Teachers shouldn't have to worry about being called to the office at the last moment to watch a class during the time in which they're grading, planning lessons, collaborating with colleagues in other disciplines, or researching to benefit their students and their teaching practices.

Just sayin'

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Ivy on 08/10/2015 at 1:02 AM

Re: “Big changes coming to employee contracts in Little Rock School District

I don't see anyone speaking for the union except for Cathy. Jim isn't a member of the union. He's not an employee. He's a former board member who's been calling this all along. I think he and Cathy are doing what they think is right. Jim is all about transparency with the state because BCG, the Walton Foundation, and the AR BOE are all dirty (not all of the members, but there are a few that come to mind). Cathy is in a precarious position, and I respect that. She's been a good leader and it's a difficult situation. Here's the thing, though... They're both doing what they think is right for our kids, our teachers, and our staff.

This is not about worker's rights. It's about completely obliterating teachers and making money off of the poor kids and kids of color in this district. Hell, they'll make money off of their own kids if it's an option, or at the very least, make sure they don't go to public school. Jim said Cathy wasn't the villain, and he is right. It's Asa!, Walton Foundation, Johnny Key, and AR BOE that need to answer for this, along with Mr. Kurrus because he is the leader of our district.

People need to focus their time and energy on asking those people the hard questions, not Cathy and Jim.

Remember- Key has some sort of business with internet schooling, distance learning, or something of that nature. I'm sure Asa! probably has campaign ties with the Waltons, and as much as I love the Rockefeller Foundation, Forward Arkansas has a bunch of Teach for America, charter, and business folk that stand to make money off of our kids. Why isn't the Walton Foundation helping public schools that educate everyone? I've never seen them at McClellan, Hall, Fair, Cloverdale, etc.

15 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Ivy on 08/09/2015 at 11:23 PM

Re: “Big changes coming to employee contracts in Little Rock School District

DeathbyInches- actually that was the Arkansas Board of Education, not the Little Rock Education Association.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ivy on 08/09/2015 at 11:02 PM

Re: “LREA president: State set to move on two LR schools; parents and staff to learn through newspaper

This is absolutely insane. There has been no input from parents or teachers concerning these changes. Wow. So much for democracy... Oh, wait. We lost that when we lost our board.

18 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ivy on 04/13/2015 at 9:04 PM

Re: “Walton defender gets typing hand slapped in charter school debate

Max,

Thank you for the visual. This was probably the best thing I've heard all day. Too bad Gary wasn't served. Also, thanks for getting Dr. Ravitch involved. I've read several of her books (I'm using them in my thesis, too), and she's gold in my book. Hell, she's written books about how wrong she was about standardized testing and the "accountability movement," and I respect her infinitely. You're doing stellar work. We appreciate it. Please come to the rally at the Capitol tomorrow at 6pm.

20 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ivy on 03/16/2015 at 7:15 PM

Re: “About 100 gather for student-led protest of LRSD state takeover

Richard Roe,

You are completely incorrect about John Walker having anything to do with this. It is insulting to the students of the district to claim that they did not have anything to do with it. They worked extremely hard to put this together in such a short amount of time.

In so far as current problems in the district are concerned, the board that was wiped out by the AR BOE only had four months to implement changes, and Suggs is using a vast amount of Ms. Springer and Dr. Ross's suggestions.

Do not, under any circumstances, denigrate the students for standing up for what they believe in... They are absolutely inspirational, and I am happy to teach some of them. This is education at its finest.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ivy on 02/06/2015 at 12:38 PM

Re: “LR School Board member blasts colleagues as talk grows of state takeover of schools

Maxifer,

I agree with much of what you've said, but I think curriculum should be more individualize, and that the students should actually help in aligning the standards and curriculum. I do think you are right that textbook selection is critical, and we need to have better professional development with respect to content and pedagogy, but I do not think that involves Pearson, ETS, or any other corporation making billions off of the backs of my students.

We know what the problems are, and we definitely agree on that (and that it takes time), but I think this board realizes many of the problems our students face, and they are attempting to act in the best interest of those students. I applaud them for that.

What I do not applaud is underhandedness with respect to the way Ms. Fisken went about showing her discomfort as a board member. This act is similar to the Tucker issue in that it was done in a manner that couldn't come at a worse time and it's highly suspect to say the least. We are making gains, and we are working hard in our district. I would love for anyone to come into our classrooms and see what our students are doing; education is vastly different than it was ten years ago.

Yes, we have miles to go, but we have to work together on this for their sake, not for some political agenda or to allow the status quo to remain intact.

If we can get better professional development with real experts, if we can work together and have real discussions about what is plaguing our education system, we'll make even more gains. People must get out into the schools and see what is going on to understand those problems.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ivy on 01/06/2015 at 12:35 AM

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