I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

They Do Not Think Teachers Are Professionals

I have to wonder: would we treat plumbers this way?

The director of Louisiana’s controversial new system to evaluate public school teachers had her own teaching certificate lapse.
“My teaching certificate is not active right now,” said Molly Horstman, who oversees the new review setup that state officials call Compass, Thursday.
Horstman, who spent two years in a New Orleans classroom, said the lack of a teaching certificate has nothing to do with her current post, which pays $77,000 per year.
“My job does not require that I go into the classroom to teach right now,” she said.
Horstman, 27, said she did not take the steps needed to renew her certificate, which is typically required for teachers every few years.
I'm sorry: did you say the director of this system to evaluate all teachers in the State of Louisiana is 27?!
Horstman is a 2007 graduate of Barnard College in New York City. 
She moved to Louisiana and taught for two years at Reed Elementary School in New Orleans as part of the state-run Recovery School District. 
Wow! An entire two years experience as a teacher! Oh, you know this evaluation system is going to be be grounded in best practices for sure...

Let's compare this to the experience of the president of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, Dr. Melvin G. Bourgeois:
A family physician from Morgan  City, Louisiana, Melvin Gerard Bourgeois, M.D., was appointed to the Board on March  23, 2000 by Governor Mike Foster and reappointed  January 23,  2002,  representing the Academy of Family Practice Physicians. He is the first physician to be appointed from  St. Mary Parish.  He is  a New Orleans native and graduate of  Jesuit High School.
Dr. Bourgeois graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in May 1961 having obtained a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy   from  Loyola University, College of Pharmacy, New Orleans in May 1957.
Dr. Bourgeois has been a member of the American Academy of Family Practice since 1965 and was a Diplomate of the American Academy of Family Practice from 1976-1992. He is also a member of the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, member of the St. Mary Parish Medical Society and the Louisiana State Medical Society.  He is currently certified as a Medical Review Officer, MROCC and has been Assistant Coroner of St. Mary Parish for many years.  He continues to serve on the Board of Commissioners of Hospital Service District #2 of St. Mary Parish overseeing Teche Regional Medical Center, formerly Lakewood Hospital  and has been Chief of Staff several times.
He and his son, Robert M. Bourgeois, M.D. opened Bourgeois Medical Clinic in January 1993.  The younger Dr. Bourgeois is also an LSU Medical  Center graduate and is board certified in both Emergency Medicine and Occupational Medicine and has an MPH in Occupational Medicine.  Bourgeois Medical Clinic was honored for outstanding achievement by the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce as Business of the Year in 1997.
Dr. Bourgeois served his country in the United States  Navy, where he was a Lieutenant Commander, serving from 1966-68 as Clinical Medical Director of the Eighth Naval District Support Activity and of the Eight Naval District,  which comprised five states.  He was honorably discharged as Commander. 
Dr. Bourgeois earned his pilot’s license in 1972 and became a flight surgeon the same year.  He retired from the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force, after 20 years of service, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He was St. Mary Parish Squadron Commander, as well as Medical Officer and Vice Commander of the Louisiana Wing, Civil Air Patrol.
During his tenure on the Board, Dr. Bourgeois has served as a member of the Board’s Licensure Committee, functioned as representative of the Board on the Joint Administration Committee for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, which was instrumental in the development  of the administrative rules governing their prescriptive authority.  Having served in that capacity, the Board called upon his expertise in formulating the prescriptive authority rules for Physicians Assistants in 2004.  He currently serves as the Board’s Secretary-Treasurer, monitoring the Board’s day-to-day financial activities. 
He is married to Geri Biundo Bourgeois, affectionately called “Geri” and they have six children and ten grandchildren.
Compare this to Molly Hortsman's record:
Horstman was a member of Teach for America, which is a national program that recruits top-flight college graduates, puts them through five weeks of intense training and sends them to mostly troubled schools for at least two years. 
She then worked for the RSD’s central office in New Orleans, the state Department of Education and, since February, as state director of Louisiana’s new teacher review system. 
Horstman said that, under a separate new law, she would have to be rated as “effective” for three years to renew her teaching certificate. [emphasis mine]
So, the man overseeing Louisiana's doctors has been practicing for over 50 years and has a distinguished medical and military career. The woman overseeing Louisiana's teachers has five weeks of training.

Of course, the procedure for getting on to the Board of Medical Examiners is a little more... rigorous:
The Board is comprised of seven members, all appointed by the Governor from lists of names submitted by the Louisiana Medical Society (“LSMS”), the Louisiana Medical Association (“LMA”) and the Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians (“LAFP”).  One of the LSMS’s four nominations must be a physician practicing in a parish or municipality with a population of less than 20,000 people, two members must be appointed from nominations submitted by the LMA and one from nominations of the LAFP. 
So the state's medical professional societies nominate doctors, and the governor takes them from this list. That sounds like a system that respects the professionalism of the doctors, don't you think? Unlike a system where the governor unilaterally decides to put a 27-year-old with two years of teaching experience in charge of teacher evaluations.

Governor Bobby Jindal is currently overseeing the largest privatization of public education in the world. His plan is predicated on de-unionizing and de-professionalizing the teaching profession. Putting an incompetent, inexperienced neophyte in charge of teacher evaluation is a logical consequence of holding educators in such contempt.

Teachers, get it straight: these people do not respect you. There is no way to reach accommodation with someone who treats you and your profession with such disdain. The recall may have failed, but that doesn't mean you have to work with Jindal; do whatever is necessary to get rid of Governor Kenneth in the next election.

Teachers, you do not and should not have to put up with politicians who clearly think you are not a professional.


Galton said...

You have perfect pitch!

Unknown said...

What part of the evaluation system do you disagree with?

Duke said...

Thx, G.

Unknown: My objection is that it is being overseen by someone who is clearly unqualified. This is a matter of respect.

I will leave the analysis of the system to others in LA; my point is that it is wrong to put someone in charge who has so little experience or training, no matter the outcome.

Unless someone wants to try to convince me that Ms. Hortsman is some sort of educational savant...

giuseppe said...

She's an idiot savant but without the savant part.

technokat said...

Actually, perfect-pitch is overrated. Duke has a keen sense of rhythmic phrasing and nuance.

Your groove is in the pocket, Duke. Unfortunately the hack amateurs are running the performance contest for the entertainment of the powerful and ignorant and leaving the scholars out of the adjudication. Is this nonsense in LA another example of "American Idol" for educators?

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Education secretary Michael Gove has decided to bring academies into line with private schools and the government's flagship free schools, which can hire professionals such as scientists, engineers, musicians and linguists to teach even if they do not have not have qualified teaching status.
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