LETTER: The ‘audacity, mendacity & hypocrisy’ of it all
After listening to the three local Republican school board candidates (especially John Sluder) and after reading Jeff Leany’s comments about teachers’ positions being secure (Daily Sentinel-Sept. 28), it is evident that Republican audacity, mendacity and hypocrisy are in full bloom this fall season fertilized by copious amount of male bovine excrement.
In the past two weeks I have spoken at length to two retired high school teachers from Douglas County School District. Following are their comments: When Tea Party Republicans took control of the Douglas County Board of Education (DCBOE), teachers were not fired or given pink slips. Staff reduction was done in a more diabolical and insidious way. First, the board refused to negotiate any ongoing master contract with the teachers’ organization and the salary schedule was done away with and replaced by a free market-based pay system.
What does this free market-based pay system look like? A first-grade teacher is considered to be essential, but the principal is instructed to move the teacher to a second-grade position which is considered non-essential. The teacher in turn receives a $3,000 pay cut. Math, science, physics are considered essential. A new math teacher out of college receives $2,000-$3,000 more than an English teacher who is considered non-essential. Some teachers have not received a pay raise in four years to even cover cost-of-living increases. Salary amounts are set arbitrarily and capriciously, and no teacher input is allowed whatsoever. This in turn has caused teachers to leave in droves and it is NOT typical teacher turnover as Sluder and others assert. Of course, the DCBOE can righteously claim that no firing was done, that teachers are leaving of their own accord.
Also, the DCBOE, in its pursuit of “excellence,” has lowered high school graduation requirements. Students are not required to take as many hours as in the past in order to graduate. Typically, students have two free hours per day to roam without any class time or instruction. Many DC parents are rightly upset because they envision that their sons and daughters will have difficulty being admitted to colleges not having the required high school course work.
Earlier this week it was made public that D51 school board candidates Sluder, Lowenstein and Kanda have each received $5,000 toward their campaigns from conservative billionaire C. Edward McVaney who contributed heavily to three conservative Douglas County school board candidates in 2011, who went on to win the election and then to support public dollars going to fund private schools, one which is McVaney’s Valor Christian High School. McVaney sits on the school’s board of trustees.
Is this what we in School District 51 want to emulate — arbitrary setting of salary amounts and lowering of high school graduation requirements? Do we want to privatize our school system? Do we want outside money dictating what we will do here? Even though Sluder has said that there are no strings attached to the money he received, a person with even an average IQ knows that money obliges. Beware of Tea Party wolves in sheep’s clothing.
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