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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why We Need Tenure

Let's go back to Elizabeth, NJ for just a sec:
In his civil complaint, Davison said he "yielded to the pressure" and purchased tickets. He ultimately was promoted to become a tenured administrator. But when he stopped paying for the political tickets, he said he lost a plum assignment and was later suspended.
"The unwritten rule in this culture of political cronyism is that non-participation in the purchase and sale of tickets to fundraising events can be hazardous to one’s job security," he said in his court papers.
The power behind all of that, he charged, was Rafael Fajardo.
"Mr. Fajardo has used the board as a source of campaign volunteers and pay-to-play contributors that allow him to exert a web of influence throughout the community," claimed Davison, whose attorney declined to comment for this story.
You know what Rafael Fajardo is doing right now? He's serving on the New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force. What do they do?
The Task Force report presents recommendations for improving student achievement in New Jersey by revamping our educator evaluation system.
Again: Fajardo, according to the largest newspaper in the state, ran a huge patronage machine:
But a four-month investigation by The Star-Ledger, drawing on interviews, lawsuits and internal documents, shows it can also be a relentless political machine fueled by nepotism, patronage, money and favors, using its nearly 4,000 employees as a ready-made fundraising base.
Internal documents show friends and relatives of board members scattered through the payroll.
Teachers and other employees, who kick in tens of thousands of dollars in donations, say they feel pressured by supervisors and board members to buy tickets to fundraisers. They say they are reminded that attending campaign events is in their best career interest.
Testimonial dinners are held to honor the superintendent and president of the board of education — not to raise money for scholarships or education, but to funnel more into campaign coffers.
Campaign finance records also show lucrative contracts go to vendors who support the board at election time. [...]
Former board president Rafael Fajardo has at least six family members on the payroll. Among them is a sister the board sought state approval to pay more than $50,000 a year to serve as a truancy officer for preschoolers, who are not required to attend school.
This is the guy who is overseeing how teachers are evaluated in NJ.

Everybody fine with that?


Anonymous said...

Yes, but him having 6 family members on the payroll has nothing to do with tenure reform

MamaShoob said...

This sounds like my district, more people are related in it than an inbred family. This is ridiculous and I am not fine with him overseeing how I am evaluated.

Anonymous said...

Having 6 family members on the payroll has EVERYTHING to do with tenure reform. Yes, but you're worried about the host of crummy teachers who are dummifying the nation.

Did you read the article? Please explain why--oh I know private companies can hire and fire at will. If only we could model all areas of life on the corporate model. Imagine firing your family, increasing their hours, changing job descriptions--okay! . . . if you're the boss.

Hey, maybe those family members are highly qualified for phoney baloney positions. Do you think an honest person would do well in a "no show" or "no work" or other cushy slot?

Just one more thing, are there bad teachers in your district? (If so, what are you doing about it?) Or is it only the teeming areas that have the bums?

Forever and anon--ymous

Teacher Mom said...

Why do people still miss the point on this? Tenure is not about protecting bad teachers, it is about protecting the good ones. This article, or at least the snippets posted here, show in great detail the political gauntlet educators must transverse. Education, as a public sector entity, is hugely political, especially in the large urban districts. As a new teacher you are taught how to kiss ass to keep your job, because before you have tenure they don't need ANY reason at all to fire you. NONE! So you play nice. Do your job well sure, but you are told how to kiss ass, where to kiss it and for how long.

TENURE is FREEDOM! Once you have tenure you DO NOT have license to become lazy. What you do have is an opportunity to refuse "paying to play", you can say NO when pressured by big wigs to do unscrupulous things or contribute where they want. You have freedom to stand up for yourself and for your students. You CAN make waves against something that you KNOW isn't right. You CAN stand up at a board meeting and yell, "THIS SUCKS!" You know you can do this because so long as you have done your job, done it well, have the evaluations to back you up, they cannot fire you without cause. That doesn't stop them from making life hell for squeaky wheels in an effort to get you to quit. You will be given the worst assignments in the worst schools. They will try to clobber you in evaluations trying to make you look bad. But if you do your job and do it well, they can't fire you. Tenure makes it possible for me to work without that brown stain on my nose, and for me to do what's right for my kids.

Duke said...

Sing it, sister!