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Administrator denial, deceit, and interference

By Laurie H. Rogers

The current national "blame the teacher" movement is neither fair nor helpful to our children, and it will not get our schools where they need to go. Are there some teachers in the system who should be replaced? Sure. As in any field, there are some who are not up to standard. Are some of the teachers unions obstructive to firing ineffective teachers? Definitely. But teachers are not the problem with public education.

In Spokane, teachers are hounded and harassed to use poor math and language arts materials and inefficient teaching methodologies. This is not a union problem; this is an administrative problem. Brave teachers say they have been challenged or threatened when they tried to teach arithmetic or grammar to their students. How crazy is that? Meanwhile, our administrators and board directors tend to blame weak outcomes on “uninvolved” parents, “ineffective” teachers, or “unmotivated” students. Our teachers will now be assessed on student outcomes over which they have insufficient control.

Folks, if we removed from this district all of the uninvolved parents, ineffective teachers and unmotivated students, Spokane would still have problems with math and grammar. That's because administrators refuse to allow our teachers to teach sufficient math and grammar. Meanwhile, they continue to tell us that a) everything is improving, and b) all problems are someone else's fault.

Here are some of the "Betrayed" articles on administrative and school board denial and obstruction:

Oct. 30, 2008: Teachers Are Afraid To Speak Out

Nov. 13, 2008: Education Establishment Rebuffs Concerns

Dec. 11, 2008: Board meeting yields few answers

Jan. 17, 2009: I say it's the curriculum

March 25, 2009: District says no one knows how to fix math problem

May 30, 2009: Board vote good for future business (this is a satire)

July 3, 2009: Why administrators don't listen

Aug. 28, 2009: Blame math problem on administrators

Sept. 12, 2009: Administrators, board members need reality check

Oct. 28, 2010: Board directors, superintendent show disrespect to teachers, union

Nov. 14, 2010: SPS brushes off math concerns in meeting devoted to math concerns

Dec. 19, 2010: Replace math curricula? Administrators won't answer in writing

Feb. 1, 2011: School administrators no help at math forum

Feb 8, 2011: District tries to silence dissenting voices

Feb. 21, 2011: Stop fighting lost causes; start talking with the people

March 23, 2011: District not replacing math materials for two more years

April 29, 2011: Good golly, our schools need new leadership

July 16, 2011: The Lake Wobegon Effect? Or deceit by omission?

Sept. 3, 2011: Politics driving math classes - not ethics, justice ... or math

Nov. 13, 2011: Spokane Public Schools is a "tale of two cities" -- and I live in the other one

Jan. 15, 2012: Yes, vote for kids by asking the adult questions about levies

Jan. 23, 2012: Hold district accountable for deceit, academic failure, and questionable activity

Feb. 15, 2012: Leadership seems filled with predators, sheep. Where are the sheepdogs?

March 7, 2012: Satire: In long-expected move - legislators, school districts outlaw the children

April 15, 2012: In defense of public-records requesters

May 31, 2012: Hold education bureaucracy accountable, or lose your right to do it

June 10, 2012: School district budget forums showcase half-truths, contempt for the public

July 17, 2012: Several school leaders refuse to say why district is adopting unproven CCSS products on top of already failed products; board president points to the state

Nov. 5, 2012: In defense of direct instruction: Constant constructivism, group work, and arrogant attitudes are abusive to the children

Nov. 25, 2012: Political indoctrination replacing academics as the mission of K-12 public education

Jan. 23, 2013: Common Core leading districts to adopt unproved math programs and failed approaches

Jan. 24, 2013: Spokane school board attempting to undermine Public Records Act for everyone in Washington State

Feb. 16, 2013: Public Records Act: Speak up for your rights now, before they're gone

May 6, 2013: Legislature and lawsuit help public education go in exactly the wrong direction. Again.

May 24, 2013: How we could fix public education, and why it won't happen

June 6, 2013: Public education's "culture of power": Small minds, thin skins, fragile egos

Nov. 26, 2013: Secretary of Education displays arrogant, bigoted, anti-parent sentiment over the Common Core

December 9, 2013: District finally admits math curriculum problem, but - to align with the Common Core - adopts another unproved curriculum

March 25, 2014: Administrative plan for math is to fix the math program later

April 22, 2014Professional development in math should focus on math, not on pedagogy or materials

May 27, 2014: School district scans driver's licenses and takes photos of visitors in new "sign-in" policy

September 25, 2014: Reframing the Common Core discussion: A battle for our freedom.