A Couple of Things
First, I looked at the PI coverage of the so-called SERVE idea for the teachers contract. I found the last sentence weak and wondered if there was a reason for it being so:
Both sides said they hope to reach an agreement before classes begin.
If they don't reach agreement, there will be a strike. I would suspect that to be BIG news and yet you wouldn't really reach that conclusion from that last sentence.
Third, went over to Harium's blog where the Audit thread continues to have lively questions. I note that Harium has nicely redesigned his page but that the Audit thread opening was rewritten from being somewhat tepid to a little more action oriented. (Harium has answered here and there on the audit but I think his final answer is"wait until the Board gets back together.) People have asked for a thread on the so-called SERVE idea but he hasn't created that thread yet so people are posting what I think are some good questions about both the audit and other topics.
Here is a sampling; I'm editing for length so not all are full-text.
Charlie - Why didn't the Board make some effort to address the audit concerns upon first learning about them as the staff did? Why did the Board wait until the audit was released and then wait some more through the rest of July and most of August before taking any action? Why the delay?
Anonymous - You have never acknowledged the request by commentors about getting a report on the transportation savings.
Can you explain why you have ignored this request? Do you have the information? Will you get the information post it on your blog?
Anonymous - Are you aware of the price tag associated with the SERVE program?
Anonymous - Wow. I can't believe I'm saying this but I won't be voting for the school levy and I will be supporting the teachers in their strike.
This MAPP test evaluation stuff is complete nonsense. Our high performing daugher had exceptional teachers this year. Her MAPP test results went DOWN.
Anonymous - Please, please- don't be quiet Harium. You are our voice. Please use is wisely and step up. Be the leader we all want you to be. Be the voice of reason and listen to the professionals who are working every day with students helping them learn and become active members of our community not automatons.
Please help us all.
Anonymous - What is the cost of the Strategic Plan? What is the cost cost of the proposed program to evaluate teachers (SERVE)? Will the upcoming Levy be used to pay for SERVE? While the District spends millions on bureaucracy, resources are exiting our classrooms. This past year, my daughter complained about being rushed through math content because books are being SHARED between classes. So please, How much will this controversial Strategic Plan and teacher evaluation cost?
Anonymous - The proposal on the table does not have the funding to implement. It needs the voters to approve yet another levy
How can the district offer teachers a contract that costs four million dollars to implement before the know they have secured the funds?
Anonymous - The school beat talks about early release time in very vague terms. The proposal , now public, is very specific. Early release every other Friday. That is a pretty big nugget for the working family to take on.
I think parents (and others) are starting to see the major issues in SERVE. Look, I understand it could be said that it's a "starting" point for the contract but I'd be willing to bet that for MGJ, it's game, set, match. (Yes, a sports analogy but at least it's not football or baseball.)
No to any Superintendent have final and sole domain over exiting teachers. That is completely undemocratic and I don't even think Michelle Rhee has that power (and she seems to be the Voldamort of superintendents).
SERVE is completely dependent on the supplemental levy passing. What?!?
Well, one good way to thwart the district is to vote down the levy. Instead of being used in the manner it was presented to the public (and hmm, that might be in violation of the state law, I might have to check as the State Auditor noted this issue in the most current audit), we see its real purpose. No wonder they didn't say what they would use the funds for in years 2, 3, etc.
Maybe the work now is to defeat the levy. Of course, with the bad economy and the district having its hand out for yet a third time and the less-than-stellar audit of how the Board and the administration manage the district, it might not be so hard.