Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And there's more...

It looks like Ms. Byrnes has been terminated altogether:
School officials yesterday moved to fire the former School Department office manager who landed a $75,000-a-year job as an elementary school special education teacher despite her lack of required training, teaching experience or state certification.

That "moved to fire" part is a bit undecided...I also wonder who is teaching that class of kids this morning, and what happens to the mentor?

The question Paulie asked yesterday is answered here:
While it was no secret that a former administrative employee well known to School Committee members was working as a teacher, Mrs. Lukes maintained that the board wasn’t aware of the troubling details reported in the article.

“We didn’t know the level of compensation or the process that was used to fill the spot. Second, we didn’t know she didn’t have any teaching experience,” Mrs. Lukes said.

“We rely on people to do their jobs and to keep us informed. Unfortunately, I have to say that was not the case here,” she added

I would add only that it certainly appears that the trust they had is misplaced. It also seems that some of them may already have known that:
As far back as 2004, School Committee member Brian A. O’Connell said, he has raised the issue with Ms. Luster of hiring unlicensed teachers without first complying with state law requiring a “good-faith effort to hire licensed or certified personnel.”

“I’m very concerned that we need to comply fully with the state waiver and license requirements,” Mr. O’Connell said, later adding, “I’m going to put an item on the agenda about transparency in the hiring process.”

We will be looking for that item. If this level of mismanagement is going on, it would also behoove the School Committee to ask, on each new hire or transfer, if the spot has been properly posted, and what the qualifications are of any suggested hire for that post. Micro-management, you say? Yet the School Committee ultimately is the sign-off on hires. That responsibility, particularly when it is a person who's going to be spending six or seven hours a day with a group of children, should be taken incredibly seriously, and not signed off on as a matter of course. Right now it is. Items regarding personnel are regularly passed without discussion or requests for further information, while items regarding curriculum (decisions that have a rightful place closer to the classroom) take up much time.

The job that Ms. Byrnes had is the sort of job that gets a new teacher in the classroom. Fresh out of grad school, I was a long-term sub for a mid-year vacancy. It gave me experience, it gave the administration a chance to look at me, and I was under strict oversight as a result of being a sub. We lost a chance to get a new special ed teacher into the system here, too, and that's a loss Worcester can ill-afford.

No comments: