Tonight WAFF ran a story about a math class at Butler High School that hasn’t had a teacher since the first week of classes.
The principal Sanchella Graham and Dr. Wardynski blame the failure to fill the position on “the stigma Butler carries.”
Wardynski went on to claim:
“When you’ve got a school you are looking to turn around by dramatically improving education, there are all kinds of impediments in making that happen. This is an example of one of those impediments. Folks that focus on things that really don’t have to do with education is another one. All those things are key parameters in why “failing schools” fail.The superintendents and principals have to work past all that,” said Wardynski.
This sounds completely reasonable until you remember that one of the very first changes that Wardynski implemented when he came to town was to move the hiring for the district from the school to the district level.
No longer would the decision of whom to hire would be left up to the individual schools, it would rather be up to the district to hire teachers, and the teachers the district hired would be placed wherever Dr. Wardynski believed they were needed.
Beginning on January 19, 2012, Dr. Wardynski will decide which teachers will be hired, promoted, given tenure, and allowed to progress through the tenure process during their first and second years of teaching.
Later that year, Dr. Cooper offered a presentation on Key Affirmations that all new employees of the district must agree to upon their hiring.
The list of affirmations includes:
- I believe every child can learn.
- I am willing to work in any school in the Huntsville City School System.
- As a professional educator, I am willing to serve as a model for students.
- I am willing to be held accountable for student achievement using measures of student growth based upon progress monitoring and benchmark assessments.
- I am willing to work as a professional member of a collaborative learning community to advance professional development and student achievement.
- I am willing to employ technology to create a differentiated learning environment that supports the varied learning needs of students.
- I am willing to create an environment designed to prepare children to enter educational and work settings characterized by continuous change and the need for life-long learning.
You’ll notice that the second “affirmation” that every new district employee has agreed to states, “I am willing to work in any school in the Huntsville City School System.
So, Dr. Wardynski’s claim that he and the school are facing “impediments” in the hiring of a math teacher to replace the teacher who quit after the first week, is, to be polite, complete crap.
Dr. Wardynski has taken total control of teachers and placement, and when he’s caught not having done his job, as in the case of filling a vacancy in a classroom, what does he do? Well, he says:
“This is an example of one of those impediments. Folks that focus on things that really don’t have to do with education is another one. All those things are key parameters in why “failing schools” fail.”
So you see, it isn’t the superintendent’s fault that the math class at Butler hasn’t had a teacher for five of the first six weeks of school. It’s the fault of “impediments.” It’s the fault of “folks that focus on things that really don’t have to do with education.”
In other words, the blame for why the superintendent and the principal haven’t done their job of hiring and placing a math teacher at Butler is more, oh I don’t know, my fault than it is Wardynski’s. (He regularly refers to parents who raise questions about his policies as people who are focusing on things that don’t matter.)
Keep in mind that during the State of the Schools address on April 30th, Wardynski claimed that the district had received more than 19,000 applicants for approximately 200 positions.
You would think that among those 19,000 applicants that at least one or two might be qualified to teach high school math . . .
But honestly, anyone who has been paying attention should be clearly aware that Wardynski will always seek and find a way to blame someone else for his failure to do his job. Hell, if he’s willing to blame a child for being bullied because she went to the bathroom, why wouldn’t we expect him to blame his inability to hire a teacher on everyone else as well?
Wouldn’t it be nice if this “strong leader” could actually take responsibility for his actions, just once?
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone in this town held him accountable for his actions, just once?
I guess the board is too busy attending parties for TFAers to actually, you know, do their job.
Really? Are you serious? I mean….they have much better things to do than find a teacher for those kids at Butler….why in the world would they do the work to actually turn a school around when all they have to do is change it’s name??? THAT is what they are putting all their energy into! I mean heck, it’s quick and efficient!! JO Johnson is failing?? No prob…give it a new name and BAM your problem is fixed….Butler is failing? No problem….let’s speed the process up so we can justify closing it and combine the students that are unfortunate enough to have to suffer through the next two years and put them at the new Johnson location….that of course isn’t JOHNSON….
Butler is not the only school with missing teachers. My child attends Davis Hills Middle and has been in an English class with a sub for four weeks. To add to this hot mess, his science teacher, who is am told is one of the Teach For America group, quit this week and now has a sub in this class. My child is being prepared for high school by a first year math teacher and substitute teachers. Why doesn’t Superintendent Wardynski move someone from Grissome or Hampton Cove or Huntsville Middle to cover these positions. I’m sure those schools would not have a non-degreed substitute teacher in their classrooms for more than a few days.
Thanks for letting me know. I know this was the case, but I didn’t have details
Anyone else’s children going without a permanent teacher right now?
Butler missing Math Teacher is only a symptom.. Last week the State of Alabama administered the Grad Exams. This was Five Days of Untimed Testing. HCS decided to shorten the Test Time to 4 hours on Friday for some type of Teacher Training. Once again the students is not the Number 1 Priority. I envisioned Legal Actions for Seniors failing the Biology Portion, because HCS violated the State Mandated Testing Requirements. A formal Complaint will be made to the State Department of Education. The Tests are “UNTIMED” for a REASON and should not be Changed because HCS needed a Sabbatical.
Change of subject, I know, but let me just say that the way math is being taught under Common Core is unreal. Don’t let anyone tell you the lie that Common Core “only sets standards” and lets the school systems teach the standards anyway they choose. My daughter has been coming home complaining about how ridiculous math is, and after you read this, you’ll begin to understand why:
Make sure to watch the video. We’re going to be bringing up a generation of kids who cannot do the simplest arithmetic without a calculator.
We already have a society that can’t do math. Just walk into any department sore, fast food place, or practically any business and observe the transaction. The cash register does all the math. Want to watch something sad? Give a cashier a $10 bill and 3 pennies for a bill that’s $5.53 and observe their confusion. It’s really bad when they have a cash register that doesn’t do the calculation for them! I totally agree about the way kids learn math today, and I’m referring to learning math on a laptop! A good math teacher will walk a student through the logic of a math problem. The laptop doesn’t do this. A teacher will observe where a student is stuck in the process and work with the student to understand the concept. And not all students get stuck at the same point in solving math problems. The laptop is a tool, not an educator. I just with that “tool” superintendent we have would get the message.
19,000 applications … Really ???
That was what Wardynski claimed.
What is even worse is the substitute situation. I work at one of the famous 9 schools and we can’t get anyone to cover class when we are out sick. Nobody wants to come and work at my school. It only takes one day and most subs will say never again. Must be one of those impediments that have nothing to do with education.
Indeed. Impediments abound.
But clearly neither the superintendent nor the board have ANY control over that.
Wait – isn’t that what Teach For America does? Place teachers in those schools that are usually avoided? So…..Wardynski……what’s the problem here?
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