Last night the board offered Dr. Wardynski a rating of 92.2 on the five goals that they established for him back in October. Teachers’ salaries, which were frozen at a board meeting in April 21, 2011, remain frozen. Teachers’ starting salaries, which were set at the state minimum, remain at the state minimum. Dr. Wardynski has his bonus. Dr. Wardynski has his salary which is set at $55,000 above the minimum posted salary. Our teachers? They will receive a $700 “Professional Development” check at the beginning of the year. There are no reporting requirements attached to this money. After all our teachers “are adults” as Dr. Wardynski said last night. Does this sound like hush money to anyone else? So much for our teachers being “our most valuable resource.” Back in April 2011, the board was quick to claim that once the financial crisis was over that they would restore the teachers’ STEP raises. Last night in giving Dr. Wardynski a 23.9 out of 25 on reducing the deficit, they effectively declared the financial crisis to be over. To date, teachers’ salaries are still frozen. Any questions about when this might change are ignored. In October, the board established five main goals for Dr. Wardynski’s evaluation:
- Accelerate Learning at All Levels
- Increase Flexibility in the General Fund Budget While Preserving Educational Programs
- Build Bench Strength Though Strategic Staffing
- Improve Capital Infrastructure
- Meet Department of Justice Requirements to Deserve Unitary Status
Each of these Goals had one specific benchmark that was shared with the public last night. (That’s right, when it comes to :
- Increase the number of students participating in AP Classes. (15 points out of 15 possible points.) Even Dr. Wardynski said when the board was developing this as a benchmark in September that he had “already achieved that one.” Of course what this meant was that our teachers and principals had already achieved that one. But we’re all on the same team here, right? It’s not like some are considered “feed stock” or anything, right?
- Decrease the Deficit. (23.9 out of 25 points.) This superintendent has increased the size of the central office. He has increased salaries for his friends. One of the few areas that has actually been decreased is Special Education, which has been cut by $7,000,000 from FY 2011 to FY 2012 or exactly the same amount as he has supposedly decreased the deficit. Dr. Wardynski has received a bonus for cutting Special Education Spending.
- Implement Hiring Plan. (21.95 out of 25 points.) For funneling public funds towards private organizations like Teach for America, PROACT Search and the SUPES Academy, all with direct ties to the Broad Foundation, Dr. Wardynski gets his bonus.
- Capital Plan. (23.95 out of 25 points.) Again, for funneling money to private companies to do the work that the superintendent is supposed to do anyway, Dr. Wardynski gets his bonus.
- Address the Desegregation Court Order. (7.4 out of 10 points.) To earn these 7.4 points, Dr. Wardynski has hired another lawyer, Marie Sneed, to do the work of addressing this concern.
For this difficult work of paying others to do his job and of cutting Special Education funding, Dr. Wardynski was awarded a bonus of $9,220.00. Although the public is allowed to ask questions of the board when the board is in its work session, Mrs. McCaulley specifically stated last night that the board wasn’t going to allow the public to ask questions about the evaluation nor the bonus given to the superintendent. They will not allow questions about their decisions. It’s fairly easy to get an “A” when the test is specifically designed to measure things that the evaluator already knows you know. Once again, the double standards in this district continue. Our students take standardized tests. Our superintendent gets a personalized test that he gets to hire others to take for him. This sets an excellent example for our children, don’t you think?
If you want to learn more about the movement to privatize public education on a national level (this is not a Huntsville problem, it’s a national problem), I would highly recommend that you follow Dr. Diane Ravitch on Twitter and on her Blog. She is a historian of education and Research Professor of Education at New York University, and she’s a national authority on the move to privatize education. Go follow her.
Also, I’ve noticed with the changes I’ve made to the blog that most of the FaceBook pages that were started a year ago to “Save Huntsville’s Schools” are now either gone or completely inactive. I’ll be purging them today, and posting new links to sites and groups that are actually working for change in our city and nation.
There’s nothing as fun as being an activist in the South.