IPS RIFs all secondary teachers

Dateline: Fri 16 Sep 2011

Notices went out yesterday.

"That giant sucking sound is the sound of IPS going down the drain," said a friend who received one.

This has, however, happened in the past. And if you want an idea of how convoluted and unrelated to teaching education has become in big public systems, check out these comments from a blog that no longer exists, IPS B.S., which consisted of seemingly anonymous comments from teachers, complaining about the IPS bullshit.

"Anonymous said...

"According to the union lightning bolt email sent out this week:

"Turnaround Schools - There are 6 high schools and 1 elementary school that have been targeted as turnaround schools. This means that those schools may only retain up to 49% of the current staff and the administration is replaced. Please know that the new administration along with IEA will participate in the interview process. Human Resources has been conducting meetings at these schools and Rod Ellcessor and/or I (Ann Wilkins) have been in attendance at these meetings. We are also there to answer any questions that may arise.

"School Closings - In the 2011-12 school year Gambold Middle School will no longer exist, those students will join the Northwest Community High School population. Also the cadre will no longer exist as the Federal Stimulus monies that provided those teachers' salaries will no longer be available.

"RIF - This year we will be experiencing a Reduction in Force. We have been notified that a minimum of 241 teachers will receive notice. It will also follow seniority and certification. Please remember that those who are RIF'd must follow contract language. First and second year teachers will be the first to receive notice, as they a non-permanent teachers. Next, will be semi-permanent teachers (3-5 years of service) and they are on a point system which includes seniority, evaluations, attendance (excluding FMLA and bereavement) and discipline.

"Anonymous said...

"Did the union not know that they added one middle school to the Turnaround schools? Donnan was given notice January 13th that next year they will be reconstituted, even after making Safe Harbor for the 2010 ISTEP. While the other schools have had the entire first semester to prepare for what is about to happen, this staff is being given two short weeks to take in the news and prepare all they need to re-apply for their jobs. It just doesn't seem right to have that little notice.

"Anonymous said...

"and discipline."

"Oh this is a can of worms..what does it mean? Do teachers who simply ignore negative behavior and never write students up for things like coming late, not working, disturbing class, bullying, etc get points for not having discipline problems?

"Or do people who really work to get kids to be self disciplined get credit for actually following the policy. Of course that would mean someone in administration would actually have to talk with students to determine what is going on as far as discipline was concerned.

"I was called into the office to discuss a student. The parent felt I was "harassing" them and their child, because I kept calling and writing the student up. The first thing I asked the dean was to pull up the students attendance and grades. She failed all her classes and cut most classes each day. I was the only teacher who called or wrote her up. Now answer me this..how will I be rated in discipline... because I have been told I write too many kids up."


hendy [Member] said:

The plot has always been:

1) measure kids performance
2) let the metrics show the failures
3) break the back of the teachers unions
4) put schools into private industry
5) profit.

Delivered on a platter, courtesy of your local and national idiots. Your children will now be manufacturered. The rejects must become slaves. Again.

2011-09-16 08:39:45

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Right on the money as usual, Hendy!

The villification of ALL teachers in Indianapolis/Indiana really makes my blood pressure soar. Not a good thing for my diseased kidneys.

Yes, there are some bad teachers, but they are far in the minority. The majority work their asses off, have spent tens of thousands to get bachelor's and master's degrees so that they could be licensed, work nights and weekends without extra compensation, make and receive phone calls to parents and children any time of the night or day, put up with the worst kind of administrative bs constantly, get mediocre pay and lousy benefits (most veteran teachers have M.S. degrees and decades of experience). I could go on and on and on.

And so now, our right-wing state government in cooperation with yes, the Indianapolis Star and its Guild (including member Tully), paints with an insanely broad brush a picture of veteran teachers as being a bunch of unconcerned, incompetent, losers

Why? Hendy nailed it. Profit! It's not about the kids, it's about gold in them thar hills.

2011-09-16 12:16:50

Boomer Indy [unverified] said:

Whitebeard...take a chill pill. And why the name calling and generalization that "our right-wing state government in cooperation with yes, the Indianapolis Star and its Guild (including member Tully), paints with an insanely broad brush a picture of veteran teachers as being a bunch of unconcerned, incompetent, losers."

Many "right-wing" folks believe that you should have a choice. That government schools aren't the end-all be-all. Children learn differently, and private schools can give kids the smaller class sizes and individual attention that public school can't. For me, it's not that I dislike public schools, I just believe the private school my kids attend provide a better learning environment.

People get way too defensive when sticking up for public schools. They have their place, but don't jump on those who chose alternative education for their children.

2011-09-16 15:26:48

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Boomer Indy. You can take that "chill pill" and stick it where the sun doesn't shine. I hate it when when people on discussion groups start trying to micro-manage how other people express themselves and emote.

If you disagree with what I wrote, just say so. None of this condescending arrogance. That shit don't float with me.

My parents came to Indiana from the mountains of Appalachia and folks like us don't abide by that kind of horse manure.

Nothing that I wrote indicated that I "jump on those who chose alternative education for their children."

I do, however, take great exception to our Republican fearless leaders giving public tax money to people to take their kids to religious schools. Wait until the Church of the Demon-Loving Puppy Haters starts up a religious school and wants voucher money.

I just had a kid graduate from a public school and, with a very few exceptions, he had fine teachers.

2011-09-16 16:56:29

Tell The Truth [Member] said:


Regardless how far IPS sinks, how much longer will this lapdog board of education allow its superintendent to drag them down? I'm not sure who would want that job

And as for "bad" teachers, yeah there are some. But try this little exercise, which I did a few years ago, while serving on a school board, when I was angry at one of my kids' teachers:

Determine number of kids in school. (Me: 2)
Determine their current grade level: (me: graduates)
Determine Niumber of Yrs. in System, X students: (26)
Determine # of teacher-contact opportunities: Multiply by number of students: (me: 13 years per child, about 70 total teachers=140)
How many bad teachers? Teachers you'd fire now if you could do so? (Me: 3)
Percentage of bad teachers vs. teacher contacts: (Me, a little over 2%)

What institution in your life==school, religious, employment, social, marriage--gets a 98% pass rating? Go ahead, I'll give you time to think it over.

In the above exercise, the real rubber-vs-road calculation may be "mediocre" or "needs coaching to become better teacher." For me, that was about 20%. Which still puts my family's teacher-contact excellence rate at 78%. Which is fantastic. But it could be so much better, IF we worked on the coachable teachers.

We need to encourage the 20% to be coached up-or-out, quicker. Proof of the pudding:

Every single one of the teachers in that 20% is still teaching. A decade later. Friends' experiences tell me they've likely slipped into other parents "fire now" category.

And so it goes. No school admin wants to take the time to coach-up the 20%. And the 78% excellent teachers are overwhelmed.

Every day becomes an increasingly futile exercise:decide what degree of mediocrity to accept, and move on.

2011-09-17 05:20:56

hendy [Member] said:

@Boomer: many "right-wing" people want choice. We all want choice. You have had choice always-- you could send your child to parochial or private or public schools.


The constitution of this state guarantees a free and PUBLIC, not private or parochial education, and funding your child's private or parochial education is not on the table, and never has been. You're watching the disintegration of public schools. The pattern has been set in other states; now it's happening here. Kiss them goodbye.

2011-09-17 07:29:01

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

TTT and Hendy. Excellent posts as usual.

I want to apologize for the harsh tone and words I used in my post to Boomer Indy. This language and and angry tone that I expressed does not reflect the kind of person I try to be.

I had gotten some news earlier that day which was very, very disturbing. But, that's no excuse. So to Boomer, as well as anyone else who read that post, I apologize.

2011-09-17 11:59:43

Jason [unverified] said:

With all due respect, we're not watching the disintegration of public schools in Indianapolis. They disintegrated years ago.

IPS gets more money per student than any township school, yet consistently underperforms and blames it on, among other things, funding issues. IPS gets MULTIPLES more in funding than any private school in this city, yet gets worked over regularly in academics. Private schools get 20 to 30x the apps for openings that pay less and have no prep periods because the conditions are THAT much better.

If people want to send their kid to public school in Indianapolis, hey, they're your kids, you can do whatever you want with them. As for me, there is absolutely NO way I'm going to let my child be dumped into this petri dish. I would much rather control our own destiny than have my kid(s) put into a lottery or a raffle so they can ride a bus for 3 hours a day to Howe or Lawrence North or Decatur Central or God knows where just to meet a demographic. School choice is certainly a logical, progressive first step for parents who care and want to put in the effort to decide which school is best for their needs. Frankly, though, I'm content to chalk up my tax dollars as a waste and pay tuition to ship them to a suburban public school.

I don't think there are very many bad teachers, and I believe that any bad teacher can be overcome by a good parent. But, as a society, we give passes to bad parents and bad kids, and blame boogeymen like Republicans.

I don't blame the teachers for breaking the system, but I certainly blame ISTA for not stepping up to fix it. They seem more concerned with maintaining the status quo and covering their tails, which is destroying children's lives on a regular basis. ISTA's response? Blame Republicans. What next, Racist Tea Partiers?

2011-09-17 22:54:00

hendy [Member] said:

Here are the facts, Jason:

1) IPS has the oldest infrastructure in the state, not just the city/county. It's had to do a lot of work to keep assets from crumbling.

2) The reason that busing was put into place is because IPS in the 1970s was found guilty of racially segregating their rules. Then a board administration, let by my aunt, pleaded no contest after they were elected. Even today, it's tough keeping the schools integrated. The 'complexion' has changed but the white flight to the new suburban schools is the same.

3) There is a national agenda, as I described. Don't be a fool and ignore that agenda. The agenda is forwarded by a constituency that wants charter schools, and wants the public to pay for them. It's a largely (but not exclusively) right-wing Christian movement behind this push. If you had any questions, please look at the make up of the last General Assembly that passed this initiative. It's anti-union, and pro-school-choice--- public school choice should not be an option, otherwise it isn't secular, and that's not right.

4) Feel put upon if you want. The facts remain. This identical agenda has been pushed through several state legislatures this year. It has a specific target in mind, and it look a lot like a Christian Theocracy. The flat-earthers and Dominionists have shanghai'd the Republican party. If you're a Republican, you should be embarrassed. There is no middle of the road left, Jason. It's been roped and yanked to the extreme right.

Did you ask what the ISTA response is, and what it has been? Did you read my column on this subject in the IBJ? I speak with a bit of authority on the subject; my mother and my aunt were among the co-founders of Non-Partisans for Better Schools. Their agenda was desegregation, and the dissolution of the rubric of "neighborhood schools". Equality for all, not just white people.

2011-09-17 23:24:01

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Oh, Jason, your brush is so broad and under-informed.

I don't even know where to start.

For one, not all Marion County public high schools are bad. In fact, if you ask the college admission folks, they'll tell you North Central, for one, is one of the midwest's premier public high schools. It gets a "C" on the state's rating system, because its at-risk population is not shoved aside--and almost all students are expected to take college tests and advanced classes. That metric is almost demanded from day one.

Hendy is correct about the white flight. It's now four decades old. There's no stopping it soon. Dr. White tried to be a good superintendent, and he made some good early gains. But he's chopped around the edges all he can. And he should've left, because now it's just his ego running the daily IPS operations, and that's ugly.

The "money follows the child" mantra is a double-edged sword. At one elementary on the northside, the student body turns over at a 40% rate in the first semester. People are highly-mobile these days. Try teaching to that demographic if your classroom is nearly half different in the first 15 weeks. You can't sink your teeth into any serious remidiation. So, you default to the least-resistant factor: teach to the constant kids, and to the best among them. If your classroom contains 30 kids on Day one, it contains 17 of the same kids on Dec. 1. The remaining 17? Six to eight are challenged kids. So by Thanksgiving, you've got maybe 10-11 kids whom you can seriously reach and with whoml you can make a difference IF you have the time. And another safe bet: almost ALL the newer kids are challenging in multiple ways.

So yeah--that is ABSOLUTELY ISTA's fault. Geeeesh.

There are no easy solutions for kids. But the solution is NOT to send pulic money to parochial schools. Because then, we're not only diluting the fiscal pool for the challenged schools, we're violating the Constitution.

And setting an example for young attentive eyes.

Which almost guarantees that we'll further cloud the issue for future generations.

2011-09-18 05:54:58

guy77money [unverified] said:

What the vouchers are doing is getting good kids (ok not all the kids are good) out of bad situations. I suspect there are a tremendous amount of great teachers in the IPS school system. The environment these teachers and students have to put up with daily is overwhelming. Kids who don't want to be at school, drugs, gangs and throw in all the parents that don't care about their kids and the pressures on these kids to steer their ship in the wrong direction is overwhelming. It's the environment that most parents are trying to get their kids away from. The only way to fix it is to throw the kids that don't want to learn out and focus on the kids that do. Of course that creates more problems in society with juveniles that have no education and will have a very hard time finding their place in society.

2011-09-18 10:56:12

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"It has a specific target in mind, and it looks a lot like a Christian Theocracy. The flat-earthers and Dominionists have shanghai'd the Republican party."

You're right, Hendy. You know, this is really confusing to me about how these fundamentalist zealots see how this is all going to play out.

If a private religion school is receiving public tax dollars, how are they going to keep tight dogmatic religious control over what goes on in their schools?

Example: an openly gay teacher applies for a teaching job in one of those schools supported by taxpayer money (the voucher system). If the principal says anything to that gay teacher about his/her school finding that person defective because of sexual preference, isn't that going
to open the floodgates for discrimination lawsuits?

Am I missing something here? I'm not a lawyer and so this is just speculative on my part, but I don't think the private religion schools are realizing what can happen when they start getting checks in the mail funded by taxpayer money.

2011-09-18 12:24:01

hendy [Member] said:

WB: you don't need guts when you have God on your side. The other side are heathens, infected with the devil. They don't see things our way. They're unenlightened, and unsaved. We must take over for the sake of our children, and their children. The apostates and the gay agenda must be stopped. Now. Summon the resources you'll need. We have the SCOTUS on our side, thanks to Bush. We'll use the shield of the corporate identity to enforce our beliefs. They'll help. Congress is so easily bribed, like Pharisees in the Temple. They'll bend over like the breeze on God's grass to do our bidding. Just wait, WB. Just wait. Soon Rick or Michelle will be President, and the Dominion will be complete.

2011-09-18 19:14:23

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Agreed. Except, we don't have Bush to thank for SCOTUS.

One hundred senators voted on those nominees. Birch Bayh, where are yoiu when we need you?

2011-09-18 21:14:18

Jason [unverified] said:

If this were the 80's I might buy in to this rhetoric on vast right-wing conspiracies. In case you haven't been paying attention, the Republican Party of then has become the Democratic Party of now. I understand most of you are pretty far to the left, but understand for those of us in the middle that used to have a home over there, the party left us, not the other way around.

All I'm hearing is, again, right-wing conspiracies. Nowhere has anybody said anything criticizing assertions that children will get better education. For Pete's sake, a voucher isn't going to afford tuition to Heritage Christian, Covenant Christian, or any Lutheran school. If you think Evangelicals are happy about kids going to Catholic school you need to brush up on your Theological grudges.

TTT, great, you consider one school out of 13 or 14 high schools a success. When people express relief about their kids getting into a magnet program or an accelerated class so they're out of "general population," that's not right! Every township and IPS high school in this city has a major gang problem, a major dropout problem, and a host of other issues that simply aren't getting addressed.

Anywho, I cannot understand why we are applying a court ruling from 40 years ago and we think this is a good thing. So we're integrating schools by disintegrating neighborhoods. I have a friend who lived in Speedway and went to Speedway schools for 8 years. Lo and behold, this person was told they had to go to high school at Arlington. Needless to say, didn't know where it was (the far other side of town), had never been there (because it was on the far other side of town), and didn't know a soul. Thankfully they were able to afford a private school solution.

As for ISTA, when my step-father retired from teaching he was the longest tenured teacher in Wayne Township. He started at Northwest back in the 60's and put in over 40 years. He tended to complain more about the unions fighting for status quo than anything else. He complained about the money wasted on sports facilities while he was teaching classes upwards of 40 students, he complained about the ridiculous bus system and how difficult it made contact with student's parents, and he complained about the absolute detachment and aloofness of the administration. Only going off his experience, mind you, the local union was good for a pay raise now and again which amounted to nothing more than hush money.

2011-09-20 20:24:15

hendy [Member] said:

If a voucher is used for parochial education, partially, it's still in violation of the law, and taxpayer money DOES NOT support private/parochial education; this is a basic tenet of civics in the US. I don't care if it's Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, Jainist, Sikh, doesn't matter, it's not gonna happen.

As far as your visage that Republicans are the old Democrats, your sense of history is distorted. You need to read and catch up. The middle of the road is pretty much gone, and the Blue Dog Democrats are indeed the right-wing, once MoR of the party. There is an epithet, RINO as in Republican in Name Only that shows a rigidity of advocacy.

And yes, there is white flight to the suburbs. Indiana is the Alabama of the North, and I say that will all of the venom that this implies. Indiana is backwards, incestuous, racist, with a huge gap between rich and poor. It's under-educated, parochial, xenophobic, homophobic, and was essentially ruled by the KKK in the 1930's; much of that legacy remains, and it's EVIL.

2011-09-21 08:06:56

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