Caddo Continues Plan To Fire Few Teachers It Has
Here’s the story:
Several dozen Caddo public school employees listened with worried looks as national, state and local members of the American Federation of Teachers told them Monday night what may happen to their jobs when the district reconfigures or Louisiana takes over 11 of the parish’s low-performing schools.
Either way, all employees in the 11 academically unacceptable schools will be forced to reapply for their positions, which may mean some of them may not have a job next school year. . . .
Several people murmured sighs of disbelief and others whispered to those sitting close to them. One teacher shouted, “I’m confused because we’re not fully staffed right now and we have issues right now and they’re ready to get rid of all of these terrible teachers, yet they can’t staff what they already have.”
Caddo’s low-performing schools have the most job openings and have among the lowest teacher-retention rates. The parish resorted to recruiting teachers from the Philippines to teach in critical shortage subjects such as math and science, and about half of the Filipino recruits teach in the failing schools.
This is the kind of think that sounds good – “hey, those teachers aren’t teaching, so lets get rid of them all and get some folks in there who’ll give our children the education they deserve” – but is really, really a bad idea.
First, trust me, as a teacher, I’m telling you the problem with these schools is NOT the teachers. My school divides the students’ classes by achievement level. At the top, I have motivated kids with good parents. Most of that group has an A or B in my class. At the bottom, I never see or hear from the parents, the students are frequently absent or in trouble, and – not surprisingly – most are failing my class. The difference in the grades is not the content or the teacher. I am teaching the same stuff to both groups. The difference is the students. So, If you swapped the entire faculty of Magnet High School (Caddo’s best school) with the entire facult of Woodlawn High School (Caddo’s worst), the next year’s test scores, dropout rates, college admission rates, and other numbers would all remain the same as they were prior to the swap. The difference is that Caddo is filled with motivated students with involved parents while Woodlawn is filled with delinquents with absentee parents. It is that simple. Complex, actually.
Second, treating your employees like shit is NOT a good way to improve productivity. I would say “trust me” again, but the story points out that those failing schools are already the toughest to staff. Why would anyone think kicking the few employees who do work there in the head will attract new people? I don’t teach in Caddo, but I’d like to move closer to home. After hearing these stories, though, no way in hell I’m applying at one of those schools. I have a family to support, I need to know I’ll be rewarded for my hard work. In short, the result of the mass firings will be tons of applicants at the Caddo Magnets of the world. You think anyone who can find a job anywhere else will be returning to the failing schools?
Third, all the employees will be fired. That includes janitors and lunch room workers. What a great way to spend time and resources. Not like anyone has anything better to do. Well, I guess the administrators don’t. Otherwise, they would never have thought of this plan.