Tuesday, April 03, 2018

How Did Swift and Juneau Do With Teachers?

I wanted to consider the relationships that Jeanice Swift and Denise Juneau have had with unions in their respective states.


I spoke to the head of the Montana Education Association, Eric Feaver, first about Juneau.  He was upfront in stating that he is friends with Juneau and her family.  He said Juneau was one of the finest people he knew.

He said that Juneau is a member of the union and is union-friendly.  He said she knew how to communicate in a collaborative manner.  He noted that her initiative, Graduation Matters, had as a component, that families would "pledge" to help their student graduate.  There were events across communities to this end, starting with pre-K students.  He said he would be a long time to see the outcome but teachers believed in the plan. 

In Ann Arbor, I spoke to Linda Carter, the president of the teachers union there.  Ms. Carter has been a teacher, in Ann Arbor, for 40 years under 13 superintendents.  She said that there had been issues (and hence that article that one reader posted) about clashes with the teachers.  

Apparently, that has been smooth over because she couldn't say enough about Swift and her ability to communicate.  Recently a new multi-year contract was signed with teachers there. She said that Swift had made an effort "to listen and learn", going from cluster to cluster to listen to teachers and parents.  Carter said she would be sad to see Swift leave Ann Arbor. 

She also said that the union is allowed to give a brief overview of their issues at every Board meeting.

Update on Swift:
I missed a note that Ann Arbor SD - pre-Swift - had gone to privatization of their bus drivers.  When Swift was there, she also got rid of the union representing custodians and lunch room staff and that work is done by private groups. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

i was swift or juneau. i am now juneau. a person with native american sensitivities will be ideal for a city named after an american indian chief. even if our city has far fewer ai here she is also superbly qualified and articulate to make the changes needed. this can't be status quo. for one too many ed and too little counselors. second js building needs a trim off the top. i would start with tolley and perhaps jesse. if you can't prove that your job serves 200 kids directly you should start moving on.

no duh

Anonymous said...

I agree with your point that the district needs a trim off the top. However, I question whether Juneau would do that. She appears untested in this area. In contrast, Swift has an actual track record in streamlining administration:
http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2013/11/superintendent_announces_plan.html
I am positively inclined toward both Swift and Juneau, however, I feel that Swift has the backbone to clean out the district administration. And many of the issues that Seattle needs addressed: student performance and student discipline equity - Swift already has a successful track record in tackling, albeit in a smaller district.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope the school board quizzed the candidates on whether they'd clean house downtown - if a new superintendent doesn't fire Tolley and Herndon and Jessee immediately upon arrival then we will know the district picked the wrong finalist.

Snowman

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...
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Eric B said...

While I think there needs to be a serious trimming of senior admin jobs at JSCEE, I don't think that failing firing people on arrival is a mark of having the wrong person. If the super fired people on their first day, they probably wouldn't know that they were firing the right people. Who told them who needed to be fired?

That said, it's pretty common to see several senior people leave for other jobs when the superintendent changes.

Anonymous said...

Eric, you're right, I'm being a bit hyperbolic. But Tolley in particular is the Grima Wormtongue of SPS. Kicking him out needs to be a top priority. The other two I mentioned are also worth firing and any superintendent worth hiring will see this really quickly upon arrival.

Snowman