Parents at Lazear Elementary went on strike today, which meant they kept their kids out of school. Only 60 of about 300 children showed up in the morning.
The protesting parents said they’ve filed complaints about a problematic third-grade teacher for more than a year, and nothing has happened. They said they were tired of hearing about “the process.”
On the other end of the teacher firing spectrum, parents and teachers at Claremont Middle School last night expressed shock and horror that one of their star, go-getter teachers — a newbie, without job protections — received a dismissal notice. As is often the case with these first- and second-year teachers, she was apparently released without even knowing why. (Lillian Mongeau from Oakland North wrote about it in more detail.)
One Claremont teacher said Thaler was a “truth-teller,” and wondered if that’s what did it. It’s possible, and we might never know. (It’s also possible that the school board will rescind her dismissal and give Thaler her job back.)
Where is the middle ground? I’ve heard people say there’s too much focus on the so-called “bad teachers,” and not enough on the average ones, who greatly outnumber them. One could argue the process in place in most districts perpetuates that dynamic by requiring administrators to spend a disproportionate amount of time to assist or remove poor teachers — in some cases, by transferring them (and their challenges) to other schools.
Or when a staffing situation bubbles over, as it has at Lazear.
OUSD Board Member Noel Gallo was at Lazear this morning to support the parents, and later at the district office protest. He said he expects this sort of response will keep happening as parents in less affluent neighborhoods continue to organize. He said a bad teacher “wouldn’t last a day at Hillcrest” or other more affluent schools, and that the system has to change. (I should note that I’ve heard a different story from hills parents.)
Do you agree with Gallo? What should be done? We discussed this in January, when AFT President Randi Weingarten called for “less glacial” due process.