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Friday, August 6, 2010

More porridge please: A Glimpse at the inner workings of the DCPS district

I was called into a training yesterday, it’s my summer so they can’t make me go but the subject was one I think is important. Though it would be disingenuous of me to say the fact they promised to pay me my hourly wage wasn’t a big, very big inducement.

As I pulled into the faculty parking lot I noticed they had paved the students parking lot. Hmm, I thought, that’s interesting, a thought that came to mind again when I noticed they had retiled several of the floors.

I entered Houston Hall, where many of the meetings are and took my seat surrounded by 25 or so peers, and six members of the seemingly always-expanding district staff. One got up and thanked us for coming and told us, and don’t worry you will be getting a stipend for your time.

A palpable gasp went up from the crowd, stipend, um we were told we were getting our hourly wage, we mumbled to each other. The difference for my peers and me is about one hundred dollars. I mentioned it to the senior district person on a break and she, who makes twice my salary by the way, with a slight tone of indignation in her voice that I would even ask, said, oh you are just getting a stipend, I don’t know what you were told. I felt like a Charles Dickens character asking for more porridge and got the same response they did.

I sighed feeling like I was a victim of the old bait and switch and sat through the training, which like most consisted of the trainers reading a power point and showing us a video. By the way two of the district people never said one word, two barely spoke and just two put the presentation on. While doing so they shared three success stories that took place during there thirty plus years of teaching to illustrate how what they were selling worked.

My point of this is we wonder why we have problems as a district. We plead poverty but spend our money on cosmetic changes and a huge district staff, whose effectiveness is seriously in question. Then not only do we treat our teachers poorly but we put them in nearly impossible to succeed positions as well. I say this last part because the training might as well been called; dooming teachers and kids through quickly put together not that out plans, but more on that later.

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