Oct 24, 2008

It's A Lie - DC Educators Speak Out !

The Washington Post article by Bill Turque, titled "Staff No Shows Decried as Rhee Aide Testifies" on October 20th has generated numerous emails sent to me by DC educators during this past week. Many of my teacher/provider colleagues were outraged about Richard Nyankori's comments in which he indicated that we do not attend mandatory meetings and are 'willfully indifferent.' My position is "it's a lie for lack of a better word" still stands. Unfortunately, Chancellor Michelle Rhee's comments in this article are devoid of the facts and suggest a draconian approach to dealing with the multi-faceted problems in special education versus utilizing many of the recommendations of such long term studies as the Appleseed Study. This article should have been more aptly titled "Rhee Swings The Axe- Part Two." Here are several poignant emails which I have received lately that are worth sharing on this hot topic.

Email # 1

"Thank you for your bravery and commitment to the teachers, counselors and staff who on a daily basis try to help the students in special education or in need of special education. They didn't even begin to touch on bilingual special education in the recent Post article . No one has really ever exposed what the psychologists, social workers, special ed. coordinators, et. al have to go through to help our children. The chancellor's office is irresponsible in making comments such as these. Thanks for all you do! Anonymous DC Teacher

Email # 2 (Copied to me)

Dr. Nyankori:
"I was utterly appalled at the inflammatory comments that you have made towards the providers that have serviced DCPS. Collectively we have generated millions for this school system and many of us have defended this school system in court with excellence. I am seething with utter contempt at the day-to-day disrespect to those who have dedicated their professional careers to a system that has seen the changing of the administrative guard many times over. How dare you sir! How dare you blame the providers when the main problem with meetings being conducted are: a) parents who have transient living conditions, b) parents who have disconnected phone numbers, c) parental neglect issues, d) lawyers that cancel meetings ( certified letters that are returned to the school countless times), f) your contracted employees for example; the Columbus Group has called the DCPS staff to use our equipment to their incompetence, g) reports that have not been turned in by your contractors that your administration gave millions too. These are just some of the reasons that these meetings are not conducted.

I have been in this system since the 90's and I have seen many educators and providers go to parents homes who are just out right oppositional and defiant. We have gone to these parents homes to complete IEP's the day before Christmas. Many of our parents live less then a block away from the school. These are physically healthy functional adults that can only find the time to come to school when they want the staff to fill out forms for SSI . Now do not get me wrong, we have parents who have excellent parenting skills but those parents are not the problem. It is the parents that your administration refuses to hold accountable. You want everyone in the school to be responsible for these children except the one that God gave these babies to. Tell me, when you are dropping the hammer on the provider, the special education teachers, the principals at the special education schools and the behavioral staff, where are the parents in this equation ? These children sir are not being rehabilitated. Their minds, souls and spirits were damaged in the home not in the school system. Whether you realize it our not, you are placing the rearing of these children on the educational staff. That is why you are not getting the results you want. This decision making in a bottle with people who will tell you what you want to hear because they are more concerned about their car note is the reason why you have the problems that you have.

If you want change then do not be afraid to listen to those who are in the trenches. Many of us are more highly qualified then the people that you have put in place to develop these special education programs. Do you know how humiliating it is to work with people who get a six figure salary and talk to you like a dog on the job site and then come to you when their proverbial buttock is in a sling and need your expertise because they are too arrogant to listen to wisdom. This is why many things are happening now in the system because there is change with no experience or wisdom compounded by the flagrant disrespect from those that we are suppose to be lead by.

I love these children Dr. Nyankori. Do you hear me? I love these children. I have used my own money to finance my therapeutic center for four years prior to your commencement. Come to the providers and talk to us, not about us or at us. Your office has been extremely adversarial to the providers. Now if you have someone who needs to be held accountable and you have documentation to prove that then you do your job but, to flagrantly accuse us in a judicial setting in what appears to be a convenient scapegoat is in poor taste. Now when we as providers are in meetings with attorneys, your comments have opened the door for more critical analysis and disrespect for the very people that you need to provide services for the children you were hired to serve. " Anonymous DC Provider. Posted by The Washington Teacher.


Mike said...

This is so interesting to get an inside perspective from DC teachers. Keep on doing what you are doing !

Peace said...

Is there no administrative remedy in the real world ? PANTIE RAID ON NCLB and 10 % ! What's IBON doing and we need new science books ! What's the date ,place and time for the rally for public education DC ? The word is out and on the street !We'll catch a train !Cold call every business along the way and leave them a card ! Public Education is here to stay ! We've had some bad press and 10 % on NCLB !Read Manufactured Crisis ! We've gotta meet the needs operationally of our American school buildings !Call Guskey and Marzano ! Motivate to engage !Fleet Wood Mac is blasting ! You want competition ? You got it !Who's on NASSA for updates in science ? The independent thinker's just kicked in or maybe we're the rebels ! Whatever and the 60's taught us and the 40's kicked in !Stop crying and get up ! What's the date and the place ? Connect from state to state !It's a rally for public education !How about we kick it off at Nathan's ? We need permission slips ! To old for jumping jack gas,it's a blast and we will be well behaved !Call the Navy and Marines with all other branches of the military welcome!Call the Pentagon ! Public Education is not going down without a fight ! This is America and don't step on the 14th Amendment and God Bless the First Amendment !

Anonymous said...

The dirt always comes out in the wash. There will be more court hearings before Judge Friedman. The federally appointed advocates are continuing their investigation and are presently talking with parents, students and of course teachers. Not to worry.

not another year said...

I really can't believe that Dr. Nyankori had the nerve to blame DCPS staff- this tactic by Rhee et al to blame, blame, blame everything on staff let's them off the hook and its blatantly false.

Meanwhile this year as of today students still don't have books, the computers are inoperable in most classrooms at my school and we have several vacant staff positions.

This is outrageous and I cannot believe it has not been exposed in any significant way to the public.

I not only blame Rhee and Fenty but also the spineless City Council and School Board.

Who is going to defend the children especially now when DCPS employees are afraid?

Anonymous said...

Change is on the way Washington !Everyone is saddled up and riding in across America !Send the money to the front lines and meet their needs !Ask social services and DSS how much they are doing with less !Supply and demand for increased accountability !Stains gone guaranteed on the dirty laundry. Another shooting at a University in Conway,Arkansas as reported on CNN ! We are in the worst economic crisis ever and want balance of interests with fair proceedures of reinforcement!Front lines needs support !If we can find over $700 billion to bail out Wall Street,we can support American public school buildings where it counts !