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Can you believe, there are worse school problems than at Evergreen State?

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Jul 16 in Education ✍ by TheOtherTink (16,883 points)
edited Jul 16 by TheOtherTink

Teacher Kerstin Westcott resigned from the middle school she taught at for 11 years in Green Bay, WI, citing threats, violence and abuse of all kinds, about which the administrators did NOTHING.

And the school district superintendent's public response? TYPICAL. :angry:

The superintendent "...did not witness behaviors that would have raised concerns." Nothing to see here; move on, eh?


2 Answers

Virginia Jul 17

O'Tink, I found this post valuable...as education is one of my own major concerns, also.

And yes, the superintendent's response can only be called 'typical' - placing the blame back on the teacher; saying (the superintendent), "I did not see any of the untoward behaviors on MY (one) visit," and, after the teacher clearly did everything but stand on her head, the superintendent claims the teacher never told HER about it...

This is another place we the people do need to take a stand; this teacher has now thrown herself under the train to make her point...we the people DO need to pick up the ball, here, somehow.

I saw the tiny community of Evaline do this in Washington State; their century-old three-room schoolhouse? They refused to allow the district to consolidate them into a mega-crowd. It took all their effort of resistance, digging in their heels, and the community had to raise about $100,000 to get around all the obstacles the district threw up...plus there were some semi-miracles in their favor. But now that tiny elementary school, only forty students, is putting out the finest students around, both academically and sports!

I could go on more...(sigh)...

Hi Virginia,

Kirsten Westcott did a followup appearance before the school board, and it was an education in how school bureaucrats operate.

Starting at 8:30, we hear the district Executive Director for Secondary Schools and the school Principal explain in the best educationese all the wonderful things they had been doing. We heard such words as 'success plan,'  'structure plan,' 'communication to parents,' 'meeting expectations,'  'community partnership,' 'targeting professional learning,' 'restorative practices,' 'accountability measures,' 'student engagement,' 'staff passion,' 'relationship building,' 'ongoing interventions,' 'perception surveys,' 'all-staff engagement,' 'evaluation model,' and 'systemic fashion.'  Nothing but bureaucratic BS which hadn't accomplished ANYTHING, as Kirsten pointed out in her remarks, which start at 35:00.

And then we hear a smarmy apology from Superintendent Langenfeld, who I doubt would have apologized if the previous Kirsten clip hadn't gone viral.

What we see here is an excellent example of privileged bureaucrats (I wonder where they send THEIR kids to school?) in an inefficient socialized system where their primary concern is their high pay, covering their posteriors and keeping scandals as quiet as possible. We saw a similar reaction from school officials in the Maryland case where a 14-year-old girl was raped by illegal immigrants.

Political correctness to the max and beneath contempt. Except for Kirsten, NOT ONE WORD about expelling habitual troublemakers, or indeed criminals.

Virginia Virginia Jul 17

Ha ha, in the wake of Kristen's comments at her resignation, they went in and "checked for alignment with the school administration's mission and vision;" "bringing folks together around these issues,"..."addressing things in a collective fashion;" "thank you Kristen for bringing forth your concerns"...blechhhh

In my own life, O'Tink, I have found myself working with a few troubled children...totally outside of my own skillset or career path...and I have A LOT to say about schools.

A friend who is a gifted teacher in the Chicago Southside (i.e., the ghetto); she has told me the Chicago school system (or at least the Southside part of it) is a holding pen for young black males until they are old enough for prison. 

* * *

At least in Washington State, I don't think you CAN expel a student, at least not for more than a few days; they are guaranteed access to public schools until a certain age. But I know what I would do in Green Bay; I would break up that school, placing children in small dispersed buildings with strong but skilled, kind but firm, dedicated teachers and monitors, and lots of them, until those pathological patterns were broken up and the children stabilized. 

Then I would keep the schools small, and very healthy wholesome challenging and fun - the love of learning. Children need to have the sense they can count on the world and the adults in it; that life is good and reliably so, a stable background to give them confidence to face the traumas of adulthood, and thrive.

Marianne Jul 17

I am afraid that we see that everywhere.

And education, in present days - much like in the past, remains, somehow the same: higher education institutions focus too much on ambitions, names, success, prestige, funding (whether by governmental or private funds) and rankings, rather than on human matters. Anybody can be exposed to bullying, harassment, unfair practices and hate crimes - students, teachers, employees ...

And the directions will rather protect the name and the ranking of their institutions than the rights of those who were harmed.


An example in the U.K.:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/07/scale-of-sexual-abuse-in-uk-universities-likened-to-savile-and-catholic-scandals


Doesn't that remind of certain religious, political and economic conflicts - or the media spreading propaganda and/or half truths?

Virginia Marianne Jul 20

Marianne, I recall in a biography of Alan Turing, the British private school he attended, prolly around 1930; violent hazing was standard practice between older students toward younger. One classmate sustained a spinal injury for life, and nothing was done...just considered 'normal.'

I am not sure what that means...are British schools typically more violent than other countries?

Marianne Marianne Jul 20

Virginia, sadly enough, you will find that everywhere in many schools, public or private, at all levels. Bullying and hazing have a long history, as much as unfair competition, cheating and child (or teacher) abuse.


Virginia Marianne Jul 20

Unfortunately true, Marianne...although those abuses perhaps are less when the schools are small and local? That tends to be my solution, anyway...

Marianne Marianne Jul 21

Yes, Virginia, bigger groups of people, in confined spaces, tend be exposed, logically, to more conflicts, as large numbers are not easy to control, but also smaller schools can be affected, as even in familiar "surroundings", where everybody knows everybody, there can be rivalries, grudges, fights and injustices, as much as with strangers, which can escalate more or less quickly.

But I think that the idea of decentralising is indeed much more efficient and also more sustainable, as, usually, communicating and negociating with smaller, more closely linked groups is easier, than with large "anonymous" crowds.


Virginia Marianne Jul 21

Marianne, I once asked a friend if he knew why there is such a tendency to centralize the schools into huge crowds...apparently, here in the USA that can somehow bring in more money to the district...?

Not sure how, as it does not seem to lower the taxes for school districts!

Marianne Marianne Jul 22

Indeed, Virginia, and, if looking into history, there have been waves of centralising and decentralising (called restructuring), with the different trends, situations, fluctuations, sacrifices and changes, but the benefits of such "operations" were very rarely - if ever - returned to common people.


Virginia Marianne Jul 22

Indeed, Marianne!

Marianne Marianne Jul 22

Hummm - err - of course - lol, Virginia - and I am short of words and chuckling - though I should not; actually, after all these sad reflections, I think that a more cheerful break is welcome; time to look for a good, clean (as much as possible) joke ...

:):)


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