Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Hold schools accountable

Letter by Daniel M. Bacon, Tacoma on May 13, 2010 at 10:52 am with 5 Comments »
May 13, 2010 12:29 pm

As a Tacoma Public Schools graduate (Lincoln ’03) and current mentor of numerous Tacoma students, the recent article about Mount Tahoma High School teacher Ronnie Gordon caught my eye.

His impending displacement due to the seniority rule struck me as yet another example in a long line that highlight the frustrating reality of TPS policies that have not been crafted with the success of our students in mind. In this case, a teacher is being displaced even though he is effective and engaging as evidenced by the students who advocated on Gordon’s behalf.

Given that, now is the perfect time to reflect on not only seniority but a variety of the policies and practices that are adversely impacting student achievement. In fact, the timing couldn’t be more perfect as the school district is currently developing a strategic plan that will inform and guide district policy and action in the coming five years. I encourage the TNT to dig deeper and go beyond seniority.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. Why does everyone assume teacher Gordon will not be effective and engaging at another school? Spreading the wealth usually doesn’t necessarily hurt. Most major corporations claim a creative employee contributes 80% of their gift to the company in their first eighteen months of employment. If he’s this good maybe some of his skills will rub off on other teachers. Perhaps he is most valuable being moved around every year!

  2. mr_sandman says:

    Hold schools acountable? How about holding parents accountable? Charge parents money when their child fails. I bet things would turn around quick everywhere! I agree with Olemag, spread the youth around. That would be for the good of all.

  3. It’s not the schools who worry about seniority, it’s the unions. Now we see tthe results of taking personnel decisions awy from management and turning it over to the unions.

  4. timchalberg99 says:

    Sharing ideas is certainly beneficial. Teachers have inservice days/training, and those are better avenues for sharing than moving teachers from school to school. Students don’t have a voice at the bargaining table when the union and schools negotiate, and the sad truth is that they consequently seem to be forgotten about too often. The current TPS displacement policy is one example of what happens when students are forgotten. Is Gordon really the best choice to displace, from a student’s perspective? Shouldn’t a student’s perspective count, given that education exists to teach students?

  5. newscrap says:

    No, student’s perspective does not count, nor should it. I don’t know the teacher involved, but I do remember when my own kids were in school, the most popular teachers were not always the best. The unions negotiate working conditions, it is not the unions job to “care” about kids, but the conclusion that every thing they bargain is automatically bad for kids does not hold water.

    What IS the fairest way to redistribute teachers? Which school DOES deserve the “best” teacher?

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