We know one of the teachers who left during the summer and the motivation to leave has been building over the last 2-3 years. Any parent who communicates with their student or interacts with their student's teachers (especially the good teachers), should not be surprised by the survey results or the exodus of teachers. Of course there are external factors from the general assembly that provided pressure that increased the probability of leaving, but the survey results are overwhelmingly negative and provide no motivation to stay. I believe one of the survey responses was that teachers at CHHS do not feel they can take their concerns/problems to the administration - which really includes the high school, school system administration, and the school board - without some sort of negative repercussions. And we have had had teachers tell us that and we have seen with our own eyes some of the repercussions of speaking critically. This situation will not be fixed quickly, and students will suffer. If you would have told us 3 years ago when our first son graduated from CHHS that we would be enrolling our 9th grader this year into a private school, we would have told you that you were crazy. But that is our reality today.
As a parent of a CHHS student I would like to say the survey results do not come as a surprise. This started before Ms. Jackson arrived. Students tells us the problems. Teachers tell us. There is a general lack of respect for teacher's opinion and experience. Teachers fear speaking out (to principal or Lincoln Center) because of repercussions like re-assignment inside or outside the school (Ms. Thomson and Mr. Wartski's experiences have had a chilling effect on constructive feedback from teachers). Even the school board is seen as not backing up teachers in front of the administration (school or district), much less questioning administration actions. We know some teachers in the system have been told by administrators "not to say anything to parents" about district decisions that may affect their students - just tell them "not to worry". One recently retired teacher was told she would be labeled "non team player" if the teacher continued to express concerns based on 30 years of experience teaching. Good teachers are our best assets - unfortunately an anonymous survey response is the only recourse they have to express their situation - likely will get the same response if they had sent a message in a bottle from a deserted island.
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Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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