Thursday, October 23, 2014
Amazing, Inspiring Rally
It was pretty great. Loud and proud, about 500+ Garfield students came out and spilled down the long front steps to the school. The drumline came out. There were signs and chants "We want to graduate!" Totally student-directed and organized. The student were actively engaged and boy, it was a diverse crowd.
(There were two groups of three girls each, not with the students but standing in front with parents and teachers and reporters. One group was Asian, the other were African-American girls with hijabs. I asked them if they had left class. Shyly, they said yes. I asked if they were more quiet girls and they smiled and said, "Yes, but we wanted to come and be here." Even the quiet girls came.)
The student leaders each read a section of their statement. They don't want to lose a teacher, don't want their schedules disrupted over the loss and want Superintendent Nyland to take money from the rainy day fund of $8M to cover the cost. (I'll jump in and say that if they have multiple $100K plus jobs advertised, it seems to me the district has the money. Teachers before headquarters staff.)
Director Peters was there (didn't see Director Director Peters was there (no sign ofBlanford). She spoke and told the crowd that she had talked with Superintendent Nyland and encouraged him to review the numbers. She also said she agreed that the teacher should be funded out the rainy day fund.
I got to the press conference late . The district was represented by a female administrator I did not recognize and Stacy Howard of Communications. They said the district is reviewing the numbers that Garfield has versus what the district believed them to have for "discrepancies." They said it was not true that a core teacher would be lost. They said that that the least senior teacher in whatever department it is would be the one to leave but no teacher would be "gone by Monday."
One issue about the discrepancies may be over the Running Start count. Those students may or may not have been counted so that may be an issue.
There were several tv stations and radio stations there so I expect this will be all over the local news.