Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Letter writing

I've gone grassroots, people. I've started writing angry letters. I feel so... Canadian. I don't know why letter writing and Canada go together in my head. Maybe because it's a mature, civilized way to address a problem. Also, I'm pretty sure Jon Stewart made a joke about it once.

Anyway. It all started when The Kid's teacher got a layoff notice. Now, layoffs happen. I know this. And they are always unfortunate. But sometimes they're also stupid. Stupid, like when seniority is the sole factor determining order of layoff (and subsequent call back, should you be so lucky).

Seniority. The only factor. Not a factor; not one factor of many. Sole. As in only. Period.

That's fine if you're Boeing. What's the worst that could happen? You end up with a subpar work force and a few planes fall out of the sky. Big deal. But my child's education? Do not fuck with my child's education.

I'm not suggesting that seniority shouldn't be considered. But I am suggesting that it should be considered after a little thing I like to call "performance." How well a teacher performs in the classroom is more important than how long they've been performing. But that's just my opinion.

Particularly absurd in this case is that the school was already slotted to add a first grade classroom in the fall. Now, instead of calling in an additional first grade teacher in September, they're laying off an existing (and excellent) first grade teacher in June. Then they'll call back two in the fall.

But neither of those calls will be to our beloved teacher. She's too far down on the seniority list to get called back TO HER OWN CLASSROOM.

And so all of the angry parents (and some children) from across the school wrote chastising letters to the Seattle Public School's superintendent. Our teacher had her appeal hearing yesterday. It doesn't appear that the letters made much of an impact on anyone other than our teacher.

The parents haven't given up, but we're running out of ideas. We will pause. We will regroup. And we will look above us for guidance as we ask ourselves: What would Canada do?

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