Letters to the Editor

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EDUCATION: Change protocol for displacing teachers

Letter by Tim L. Chalberg, Kent on May 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm with 3 Comments »
May 13, 2010 9:23 am

Re: “For teachers, seniority rules” (TNT, 5-10.

Ronnie Gordon’s displacement from Mount Tahoma High School follows protocol, but your article illustrates why displacement should be determined by more than experience.

Education is about the messenger, not just the message. I tutor a Tacoma student whose grade improved drastically in a course once the student switched teachers. While many teachers improve with experience, student testimony shows Gordon’s ability right now. Experience fails to capture that.

Also, Gordon is more than a teacher at Mount Tahoma. He advises clubs and is a graduate of the school. Experience is blind to these facts, but those impacted by Gordon’s displacement are not.

With the Tacoma School District currently developing a new strategic plan, and the current teacher contract expiring in 2011, now is the time to discuss changes. Experience does not capture all that makes a teacher valuable. Displacement protocol should reflect this reality.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. geeterpontiac says:

    The true measure of the effectiveness of a teacher is not just popularity with the students. While enthusiasm is great, the product is the real measure.

    I can remember teachers in school who were very popular, but whose students were unprepared for higher education.

  2. I respect teachers for the endurance they have shown to obtain a degree and put up with a lot of stuff from kids and parents. However, in these times the reality is that people are losing their jobs in all professions, it’s a regrettable result of a down turn in the economy. Teachers are not immune to such circumstances and should not be anymore insulated than any other profession.

  3. timchalberg99 says:

    Full disclosure: I wrote this letter. Thanks to those of you that read it, and especially to the two of you who have commented so far. More discussion would be great!

    Geeterpontiac, I agree with you that popular teachers aren’t always the best ones. However, I think there is a difference between a student telling their friend that a teacher is cool while they eat lunch, and a student testifying to a teacher’s value at a formal school board meeting.

    Frosty, I also agree with you that teachers shouldn’t be insulated from the economic downturn more than anyone else. Displacement is the practice of moving teachers within a district. They still have a job, just not at their current school. I wrote the letter because I felt Gordon was not the best choice to dislocate, yet the current protocol makes him the choice.

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