Twenty-eight Southbridge teachers are in danger of losing their jobs because an accused plagiarizer put them on a naughty list.
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Earlier this year the Southbridge Public Schools came under “state receivership.” The state only steps in districts like this where chronic underperforming on standardized tests and graduation rates are problematic. In doing so Southbridge joined other beautiful communities such as Lawrence and Holyoke, as under state control.
The problem of course is that the state has absolutely no idea what they’re doing, and the people who are in charge of schools have never taught a day in their lives.
The woman who is now basically the state appointed superintendent in Southbridge, is Jessica Huizenga, who hasn’t been in a classroom in decades.
A woman with no ties to the community, who is being paid an annual salary of $175,000 as a state employee. They’ve basically made her the Fuhrer of the SPS, as could be seen on their website when she was in charge of……..everything:
Look, we shit on Southbridge a lot, and rightfully so. The town is a magnet for people who wanna sell drugs, collect welfare checks, and scam the system. It is what it is. And as a result the public schools have to take what is handed to them – lots of kids who come from shitty homes. And when you come from a shitty home you are much more likely to do poorly in school for a variety of well-documented reasons. These include the fact that Mommy or Daddy never read to them, don’t have high school degrees themselves, sell drugs, are addicted to drugs, and/or don’t speak English.
Then you toss in the fact that many concerned parents from Southbridge school choice their kids to nearby Shepherd Hill or Tantasqua, and what you’re left with is the Southbridge Public Schools. So what are teachers supposed to do about this? Are they supposed to have magical powers to overcome socioeconomic barriers that have been preventing these kids from keeping up with kids from Lexington?
That’s where Jessica Huizenga comes in. She’s an expert on a town that she’s never lived in. And she’s identified the problem as deadbeat parents who aren’t doing their job. LOL. Just kidding. She’s doing what these overpaid dooshnozzles who can’t teach always end up doing – blaming the teachers:
Twenty-eight of the school district’s approximately 230 educators have been put under a receiver’s review process aimed to improve teaching performance or face possible dismissal, a spokesperson for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education confirmed this week.
So she’s putting 28 teachers in timeout. If they don’t “improve teaching performance” they lose their jobs. Whatever that means:
According to a notice sent Tuesday from Ms. Huizenga to those selected for review, the teachers were identified “because of your current or prior evaluation and/or work history and/or performance, which has raised concerns and/or indicated you have failed to meet expectations.”
So we’re paying people like Jessica Huizenga to create blacklists of teachers who are “problematic” because their students standardized test scores aren’t high enough? Seems like money well spent. Sure, the parents have complete control of these kid’s lives growing up, and are with them 90% of the time. But it’s the teacher’s fault. Definitely.
And what does it mean when teachers are put on this list?
In the first round, they will be observed by an outside consultant at least twice between now and February, with the review including examination of the teachers’ lesson plans and of selected student work. The reviews will be unannounced. Teachers will receive feedback and will be provided with additional professional development opportunities to improve instruction.
If Ms. Huizenga deems a teacher to be unsatisfactory at the end of the first round of review, the teacher will be dismissed by the end of March.
So let me get this straight. A woman who fled her last job because of accusations of plagiarism is in charge of deeming whether or not a teach is doing a satisfactory job. It’s OK though, because according to Huizenga, it was an accident:
“When it was brought to my attention, I immediately corrected the documents,” Huizenga told the Chronicle. “There’s a lot of proofreading and passing documents back and forth, and once that was made evident I corrected it. There was never an intent to deceive or plagiarize.”
Right. So when a teacher can’t take a kid who comes from a neglectful family and get him to read as well as a rich kid from Concord, they lose their job. In March. But when she commits a blatant act of plagiarism she gets to dismiss it as an honest mistake and take the mulligan. So despite making three times what a teacher does in a year, the teachers are the ones held to the higher standard. Gotcha.
The Cambridge School Committee was none too pleased about it, which may explain why she’s no longer working for them:
But some members of the school community feel the issue could have been handled better. School Committee member Patricia Nolan said the matter should have been immediately resolved with a “clear apology, a strong statement of the need for proper citations and upholding professional standards and assurance that appropriate consequences would be given for any lapses.” Instead, she said, there was a dismissal of the seriousness of the issue and no consequences.
Here’s my question – why would any young, qualified teacher ever choose to work in Southbridge? Because what she’s allegedly trying to do here is make sure that only the best of the best are educating the youth of Southbridge. But if you’re a dedicated teacher with a Master’s Degree, then why would you choose to work in this district when there are so many districts where you can teach that come with less baggage? Why would you turn down a job in Dover or Lynnfield, where you KNOW the kids you’re gonna teach come from homes where you’re gonna get LOTS of parental support, and take a job in Southbridge where you’re not gonna get those things and the hack who is in charge is gonna blame you for poor student performance?
Oh yea, you wouldn’t. Because contrary to popular belief the teachers at Southbridge do their jobs every day. They teach kids who actually want to learn. Because that’s what we pay them to do. There is no line of qualified magical teachers waiting to get into the SPS and fix all of their problem. Jessica Huizenga isn’t fixing anything, because like most politicians she has no guts to hold the parents accountable, and chooses to blame everything on the teachers instead.
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