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Insights to Problem School Administrations
1. ONE: The politics in education are no different than the politics of government. People assume educators operate on a higher level. THEY DO NOT!!
2. TWO: Administrators have so much power that they can make almost anyone believe that each teacher is worthy of the abuse they used against her. That is their most powerful weapon against us and is our biggest obstacle to overcome. Much of this power evolves from the naivete of our society.
Administrators buy psychiatric reports with taxpayers' monies. Administrators cover for each other as part of a Good Ol' Boy Network. Administrators simply deem a teacher insubordinate and the teacher is wrong.
Do you really believe the world of education exists on a plane above the rest of our society? The truth is business operates on a higher plane.. If for no other reason, businesses have an obligation that schools do not have; they have to be successful or they go bankrupt. Schools are bottomless pits of excess waste and unless an honest board is elected, there is no one overseeing this. No one.
3. THREE: Self-serving administrators are at the top of a food chain whereby they devour the few right-thinking administrators so that teachers can be targeted and silenced as they remain the bottom feeders on the FOOD CHAIN. They in turn hold back information, or lie to parents due to a fear of retaliation. The end result is violation of children's needs. TEACHER ABUSE IS STUDENT ABUSE!
"This country can't continue to exist as home of
"The need to play God, or be in control, is what bankrupts the soul." Pastor William R. Grimbol
4. FOUR: Many people who choose administration are ruthless, attracted to the excessive power it provides because teachers are naturally trusting and normally subscribe to humanitarian beliefs. Whereas management in business requires skill to rise to, to reach, and to remain at the top, management in education merely requires ambition to control others with the near absolute power provided; since funds are guaranteed, results and accountability are simply not expected of administrators, particularly when they stack their boards with puppets.
As Colman McCarthy, Director of the Center for Peace in Washington DC, so deftly phrased, "Schools and prisons are the only institutions in our nation where people keep coming no matter what they do." We all know what goes on in prisons; and perhaps many do not really care, figuring those people deserve what they get for ending up there. Few know what takes place in our schools due to teacher silencing, yet people spin their wheels trying to force reform, operating from a basis of what could be called naivety, but is actually deliberately calculated ignorance WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES.
The playing field is nearly vertical, with teachers desperately trying to climb up, only to be occasionally crushed by the edge of the playing field. Supporting the administration is a political game, and a teacher may have the opportunity to climb up a bit. However, only the most lecherous of people can make it to the top and share some of the power with the administration. The contrast between the typical administrator and the typical teacher is what creates the wolf in the hen house analogy.
There is a pattern of derelict superintendents being hired all over the country similar to the way the Catholic Church kept moving the sexual abusing priests around. However, in this case, they didn't need to hire superintendents that have displayed sordid pasts. Why did they? Do they prefer people who have demonstrated questionable ethics?
5. FIVE: The term professional in education means following orders regardless if they make sense, rather than using critical thinking and wisdom that comes with experience in this profession and in life. Schools are run like HMO's, with decision-making coming from the top rather than from the professionals who know the children's needs. Decisions are based on financial equations rather than on the welfare of the consumers - parents and children. Stepford teachers, or programmed robots, are the desired model.
6. SIX: Schools use propaganda to create an image that they have the best interests of the children as their goals. Administrators keep parents from figuring out their agenda by diverting them with positions on committees and creating issues to redirect their energy. They involve parents in meaningless activities and debates to make them feel important and keep them from looking beyond the surface. You can be sure that if they make you the head of a committee, they want you out of their hair. They know that in the end, they don't have to listen to a word that a committee decides as they will get the teachers to pretend they want whatever they are told they want. Since administrators have large budgets that allow for special deals with text book publishers, architects, or any products used by schools, what the teachers will end up wanting is what is economically best for their superiors.
This diversion of parents includes creating curriculum issues such as phonics versus whole language. While parents expend energy fighting windmills like Don Quixote, administrators carry on business as usual.
7. SEVEN: Many principals have no clue about latest research or proper teaching techniques, or even what teachers are doing at a particular level. They are too busy focusing on maintaining power, not interested in keeping up with latest research, not basically interested in the thinking behind best teaching methods, and often more into public relations and the fluff that goes with it. (Some people believe the increasing mediocrity of candidates applying for principal positions is the core of this problem; data has indicated that students choosing education possess considerably lower SAT scores than the average student. Also, women's lib and the opportunities it has offered women, has skimmed the more able females from the mix, leaving education with a large chunk of the "C" students.) Therefore, they do not lead their teachers to improve reading, math or other areas. They do not make sure curriculum is documented for future teachers in that grade level. They view their jobs as public relations managers, and do not delve into the profession. Since this profession is attracting substandard students based on available statistics and common sense, and they have risen from an academically inferior pool, their intellectual skills are limited or non existent and they see no value in analyzing what they do.
8. EIGHT: A fundamental method for maintaining status quo is divide and conquer. Administrators have managed to get parents and teachers to mistrust each other to the point that they focus more on each other than on what the administrators are up to. This diversion of energy works like a charm.
The practices mentioned above contribute greatly to this mistrust. But teachers do not dare reveal that curriculum is sloppy, laws are ignored, children's needs are buried, and that schools are organized crime unless they want to experience abuse. Commonly you will hear a spiritually tortured teacher say something like, "Off the record, Jonnie really needs....... But I will deny ever telling you that." That is about as good as it gets in this culture of deceit. Although this may relieve the teacher's conscience, it rarely provides the solution that these parents or child needs, as the power of the system is too strong for any parent's desire to prevail without proof. Therefore, relationships between parents and teachers rapidly deteriorate in this fuzzy, encroaching upon dark, atmosphere.
Divide and Conquer: Parent complains about seeing a teacher shopping during lunch period, which is a work free period according to their contract. Teacher shops then so she can make a quick dinner when she gets home. Board tells teacher she can't shop at lunch even though teacher works well beyond the required hour or 3:45 PM, and stays until 6:30 and still brings home work. Response to complaint should be - she is a professional and does an excellent job and if she chooses to do her shopping at that time so she can stay later, it makes sense. Teacher resents parents. Parents resent teacher.
Divide and conquer: Parent complains about a teacher not helping a child on Saturday when the child manages to sneak through locked doors. Board says teachers always have to help rather than enforce locked school rules even if that teacher was on her way to an important engagement. Teacher's needs are ignored in spite of her gift of working on a weekend. Teacher resents parents.
Divide and conquer: Parent complains about a teacher giving a poor grade and affecting their child's self esteem even though the child did not do the work. Principal supports parent, creating animosity on the teacher's part. Teacher's principles and work ethics are ignored.
Divide and conquer: Principal stacks a class with very challenging children and offers little or no support. Principal assigns a teacher to a position for which she is not qualified. Teacher appears frazzled and parents blame teacher.
Divide and conquer: Principal places a different substitute in a classroom each day to upset parents. When parent calls to complain, the principal blames the teacher.
Divide and conquer: Over work teachers so they don't have enough time to accomplish their classroom duties, resulting in angry parents.
9. NINE: This is one of their most clever tactics: indulge parents, make teachers angry, and make others believe that the parents are running the school. This adds to the divide and conquer tactic, while serving as a decoy for their true agenda.
EXAMPLE: Piper School cheating issue in Kansas. Recently, a group of students plagiarized their biology assignments and the teacher gave these students a failing grade in accordance with her stated class regulations. The parents went to the board, and the board ordered the teacher to change the grades. The teacher resigned in protest. Now to most viewers this illustrated something simple - parents get whatever they want. Districts are afraid of parents and cower to their every whim. The truth is that only self-centered, unethical parents get what they want. Countless parents tell of their frustrations getting services for their children, or for getting the principal to support them against their child's unreasonable teacher. The pattern with parents of substance is parallel to the pattern with teachers who have integrity - they are ignored, abused, and retaliated against for having the audacity to want something the district does not want to give.
In many ways, this tactic is almost too clever for the C students running our schools. Look at the public relations boost they get for catering to parents. Granted, many people are disgusted that these greedy parents prevail. But at the same time, they become certain that the schools operate with the customer is always right motto, when this is far from the truth. These occasional displays of compliance serve as decoys for their ongoing manipulation of the public's interest. Furthermore, look at the people they are indulging. These people mirror their me first agendas. One major indulgence such as ordering the changing of grades, reverberates throughout the district and, in this case, throughout the country, to cement the facade that the schools are about children and parents. There is a parallel in the false notion that teachers cannot be fired. Terminations happen all the time. The only truth to this statement is that teachers won't be fired for being inadequate or for possibly hurting children; they will only be fired for being "insubordinate" and refusing to submit to unethical behaviors. Protecting children isn't worth the district's time and money; protecting their self serving agendas, is.
10. TEN: If manipulating parents, frightening teachers, and spreading propaganda fails, administrators resort to the legal system where they have nearly unlimited funds to prevail over parents and teachers. Insurance policies normally cover federal lawsuits, and taxpayers' funds are available for schools, while teachers and parents have to earn the monies they use to fight the system. They will then build a costly case to squeeze their opponent out of the arena, with the only winners being the attorneys. If all else fails, they will use special versions of documents to prove their case.
11. ELEVEN: Unwanted tenured teachers are usually asked to resign and promised a good evaluation in exchange for a resignation. If they decide to fight, it usually comes to a point where teachers are offered some money, and a good evaluation, if they sign a gag order. Very few make it past the gag order. Settlement agreements provide the escape card administrators need to erase any sinister deeds they committed. With taxpayers' funds to subsidize these agreements for teachers with the funds to fight, and measures to starve teachers totally dependent on their paychecks, administrators cannot lose.
They have merely to suspend a teacher without pay to penetrate any layer of dignity remaining, and suck out her soul so she will comply. Boys abused by the priests spoke in spite of their gag orders. Without the power of the media behind us to make the predators look treacherous for victimizing us, the districts will always prevail in court and no one cannot afford to speak and be penalized financially for doing so. The clock is ticking, however.
12. TWELVE: Idealism is a quality that alerts administrators that they need to dispose of that teacher. They want players, not people of vision. They want soldiers, not critical thinkers.
13. THIRTEEN: If a renegade teacher manages to survive these ominous obstacles, administrators can count on lawyers knowing that it is political suicide to take the side of teachers. The little money available for litigating in education emanates from the schools, not the teachers. What incentive is there for lawyers to specialize in representing teachers' rights when there is very little financial opportunity? A teacher can expect to find a lawyer with limited experience in this treacherous field who is easily manipulated, or worse, a lawyer who takes the teacher's case knowing he can sell her out and assuring future school business- for himself. She has no political power. Teachers rarely prevail. One has to wonder why lawyers are so hesitant to take on the schools? The legal route, which is a challenge for any employee, is not hardly viable for teachers. The system is stacked against teachers. The solution? Expose teacher abuse one way or another.
14. FOURTEEN: Teachers are told by their unions and attorneys not to speak publicly. This is more than likely a ploy to keep the teacher silenced. It is difficult to trust this coming from a NEA attorney as the union has proven to help administrators violate teachers' rights. Experience suggests that a teacher should only follow this advice from an outside attorney if the teacher knew she could trust him. In general, the legal route rarely provides remedies and only with extreme costs and hardships. You may lose emotionally by listening to an attorney and not playing your media card. Often this provides judges and lawyers the opportunity to silence the teacher, knowing that no one is watching.
There is a need to go public to keep people honest, if it can be done at all. Talking to a personal adviser about your specific situation and weighing the options is suggested. Only those who have traveled this weary path, have a handle on it. Even well meaning lawyers have led us astray, lacking the knowledge of what really goes on in education. In the end, it must be your decision. But make sure you have all the facts at your disposal in making it. The legal system, although more level than the districts, is not a level playing field for teachers. Nevertheless, losing cases can be valuable documentation about the lack of teachers' rights. The pattern is far too skewed to suggest that our legal system operates without prejudice against teachers.
15. FIFTEEN: Teacher abuse exists at many levels, some less insidious than others. All result in harm to our children and contribute to a dysfunctional society. There is a definite plan to all this. There are STAGES OF TEACHER ABUSE! Knowledge is power! With the recent No Child Left Behind reform, causing pressure for test scores to rise, we can only expect an increase of abuse as administrators hold teachers accountable for what they can't possibly achieve within the perverted systems. And naturally, the ultimate recipients of abuse via test scores are the children.
16. SIXTEEN: Making a teacher's life miserable is the method of choice of getting rid of teachers. If the teacher has tenure, they will try almost anything to avoid having to hold a tenure hearing due to the expense and possible exposure, so they try to push the teachers out covertly.
17. SEVENTEEN: A favorite tool of intimidation against teachers is forcing them to go for a psychiatric evaluation with a special psychiatrist hand picked by the district.
18. EIGHTEEN: A highly cherished tool of intimidation against parents is to report the parents to the DCFS, Department of Children and Family Services, knowing this organization will intimidate the parents. Suddenly the administration notes a small cut, or "hears a tale" and decides the DCFS needs to be called. Another tool at administrators' disposal is demanding a costly and intimidating psychiatric evaluation. Any child who experienced this abuse carries the baggage of having been targeted as strange for a lifetime.
Special needs children, an area where federal funding offers greedy administrators opportunity, suffer severely, being continually denied their rights using all types of underhanded plans to do so. SPECIAL EDUCATION / GIFTED EDUCATION ARE PRIME TARGETS FOR CORRUPTION. Of course, this isn't limited to parents. Considering the love and devotion teachers have for children, one can hardly think of a nastier way to attack a teacher. They manage to go straight for the heart every chance they get.
19. NINETEEN: Administrators have an arsenal of weapons to keep teachers and parents in line including, but not limited to, ordering psychiatric exams, smear campaigns, and engaging colleagues as quislings against teacher targets, with promises of lifetime jobs, promotions, and membership in the inner clique that exists within every school.
20. TWENTY: Retired teachers do not speak out even though they would appear to have nothing to lose. Many have stated that they feel guilty that they spent years within a system compromising their values and are embarrassed to talk about it. Also, they are so sickened by the years of having been subjugated and ravished of spirit, they want to run as far from education they can so they can heal. Furthermore, no teacher has believed that she could ever get anyone to believe this. To think retired teachers would have the energy or desire to take his challenge on without a vehicle to help spread the word, is not realistic. That is why they haven't. Teacher burn out is more than likely teacher reaction to too many years of abuse, and yet it is blamed on the teacher. At the same time, it makes them simply not care anymore. Burn out is another factor caused by our administrators rather than by any other factor; burn out is actually a face saving method of despising the profession that has so let us down.
21. TWENTY-ONE: Not every teacher suffered abuse, but most saw it happen to someone and may not have known it really was not the teacher's fault. As years go on, the number of teachers retiring from reasonable districts has steadily decreased.
22. TWENTY-TWO: Administrators have succeeded at creating prejudice against teachers that is so rooted, even people of compassion, wisdom and critical thinking are duped into believing teachers are to blame for many of the ills of our schools. TEACHER PREJUDICE secures this system of organized crime, not only ensuring that parents won't collaborate with teachers to discover what really needs to be done to have good schools, but cuts off any possibility that society could hold teachers in esteem. It really is the deathblow to teaching as a respected profession.
23. TWENTY-THREE: Administrations are delighted that there are perceived religious wars under which they can veil their problems. The Christian Right has been quite vocal about our schools being plagued by the separation of God and State and have thus turned off many folks who do not adhere to the Christian Right beliefs. The more divided the opposition; the weaker the opposition. The reality is that this is a problem of ETHICS VS. NO ETHICS, and not a problem of religion.
24. TWENTY-FOUR: Special education and gifted education experience more of the negative impact than any other aspect of education. Indirectly, all children are harmed by children whose needs are not met as administrators drain the resources of the classroom. With the schools desire for cookie cutter teachers and cookie cutter children, special needs and divergent thinking are areas of scorn, rather than promise
25. TWENTY-FIVE: Heroes and public officials who have demonstrated genuine concern for our children are scarce.
26. TWENTY-SIX: Reform cannot begin until the truth is revealed. A doctor cannot cure a disease if it hasn't been diagnosed. Our federal government's attempt at reform has and will continue to fail, because their methods are not based on reality. In fact, federal reform has fortuitously contributed to more teacher and student abuse and OPPORTUNITIES TO SQUANDER FUNDS AND HEAP ON MORE ABUSE.
27. TWENTY-SEVEN: Propaganda and skilled public relations assure that the truth will not be known. But there are additional layers of insurance that this dark secret will remain buried. Our schools are held parallel to the status of motherhood and apple pie - nearly sacred. Many people accuse teachers who try to break the silence of being many things, ranging from being unprofessional to being outright sacrilegious. Many in the Catholic Church admittedly relied on this same protection for many years. And beyond even these privileged layers to help harbor their secrets, we have PHONY AWARDS to seal the plastic encasing this demented system. Our schools and their misdeeds have been mummified both by cultural thought and a system of continuous reinforcement. THE NATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS and THE BLUE RIBBON AWARDS adorn some of our most egregious school systems.
28. TWENTY-EIGHT: Attorneys play an integral role in covering up the corruption in education and help perpetuate a system dependent on teacher abuse by using their infamous LAWYERS' TRICKS TO HELP CRUCIFY TEACHERS.
29. TWENTY-NINE: The more corrupt our schools are, the more they employ public relation tactics to appear loving and caring. TOO MANY OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS INDULGE IN PHONINESS, PRETENSE, AND FAKERY.
30. THIRTY: The divide and conquer technique is not the sole property of the administrators. Unions will promote teacher strikes while they work behind the scenes supporting districts' abuse of teachers. Why? Strikes anger parents and maintain that healthy divide that assures business as usual will go on in our schools. With the threat of retribution hanging over teachers, they know not to act alone.
31. THIRTY-ONE: Political cronyism and carefully constructed systems throughout this maze make it almost certain that voting out the power brokers is not going to happen. Each aspect of this shallow universe operates with the confidence that this is their secret to keep. Often, corruption starts at the School Board level, with opportunist using this post for status and power rather than for the children. However, sometimes people who care about our children are voted onto Boards once the community becomes aware that something needs to be done about their schools.
Even if independent people finally gain the power, and are successful in cleaning out the toxic power brokers in their district, they will still use whatever legal means available to silence the whistleblower, or abuse the teacher, rather than publicly accept accountability for their District's collective malfeasance. If one School Board member, elected public officials that they are, across America had the integrity to admit teacher abuse exists, the ball would start rolling in the direction of reform. Instead, cover-up is the method of choice, using the pretense that fiduciary responsibilities forced them to crucify the whistleblower.
We can't teach our children character if the leaders refuse to be accountable for their actions.
32. THIRTY-TWO: State accreditation issues have recently surfaced as new fertile grounds to push undesirable teachers out of the system. In the past few years, states have developed continuing education requirements that need to be approved by official committees. This procedure was encouraged by people seeking reform, believing that the problem with our schools is that our teachers are not keeping up with their profession. The assumption is that by forcing continued education, teachers will perform at higher levels. Just as mandated testing has turned our schools into neurotic worshippers of test scores, creating all types of havoc in our schools, mandated continuing education has provided a new window of opportunity for districts to exile teachers.
33. THIRTY-THREE: Universities, as part of the "system," fear if they rock the boat, their graduates will not be hired. Thus, few academics are encouraged to investigate or reveal what is really taking place in our schools.
34. THIRTY-FOUR: The group of educational reformers consists heavily of parents. Because of the layers of public relations that disguise the true nature of our schools, it takes several years for most parents to develop a true picture of this institution. This means that parents of kindergartners buy into the warm and fuzzy facade, and it takes several years before they have a handle on the deficiencies hidden underneath.
Since most children will be attending a different school by sixth grade, this means that the average parent has about two years of awareness that something needs to be done at that school before it is time to move on. Even those who become deeply involved in reform, normally spend at least a year being sidetracked by administrators, serving on a useless committee before they realize they have been manipulated into ineffectiveness.
Therefore, the strongest voices for reform end up moving on to the next institution before they can make a lasting impact on the first school. Since students are in junior high and high school for such a limited time, it is most difficult for any parent to become solidly immersed in reform. It is even more unusual for parents to remain in this endeavor once their children have moved on to college, particularly since most find they have accomplished so little. This means that the natural progression through the system aides the system in blocking any roots for reform.
Another phenomenon that occurs with parents is that those who have children with problems, discover the deficiencies in the system considerably before parents of high functioning children. As these parents attempt to share their discoveries, other parents refuse to listen, believing these issues occurred due to problems created by these low functioning children.
Prejudice creates another barrier into seeing the authentic nature of our schools, since high functioning children succeed in spite of issues. Often it takes until these children begin to dabble in drugs in adolescence before the parents realize their together children have come apart due to the system. By that time, parents are less inclined to blame the schools, believing that societal pressures alone have encouraged these children to succumb to temptation. They are unaware that had their children been taught by high functioning teachers, operating from their spirits rather than their sense of fear, and had received a solid education, they would now have the choice of the positive avenue of learning as a resource that keeps children into life and out of escapism.
In addition, even if they realize the weaknesses in the schools at that point, their child is nearly ready to graduate from high school, and reforming the schools for the future is not high on their priorities when they are focused on dealing with other parenting issues. So once again, our public schools are left off the hook by timing that is on their side.
35. THIRTY-FIVE: The limited ability for parents to bring forth reform entails more than their short duration at each school. Many parents praise their school districts more as an extension of themselves, than for what they really are. In our competitive, materialistic world, it is hard for many people to admit their schools are inferior. If one views life as a game and winning as collecting the most prizes, then admitting your school is a disgrace, is losing, particularly when you moved to the best neighborhood and are paying the highest taxes to provide your children with the best education.
Read the original, expanded version of this document at http://www.endteacherabuse.info/politics.html
Written as a guide to help teachers deal with problem school administrators, these insights are equally useful to anyone (parents, taxpayers, children) seeking to protect themselves.
Citizens (and employees) of Reading, Massachusetts are all too familiar with many of the tactics and situations described in this document and suffered for years from the actions of one of school administration's most prolific offenders.
Reading's problems are, however, bigger than any one person. Even the most corrupt school administrators are powerless without people to assist and enable them. Serious flaws in the American educational system itself are responsible for attracting, harboring and protecting those who would exploit the institution of public education and abuse their positions of authority.
Request public information.
Do not assume that people in positions of authority
are working for the good of the community.