Friday, March 27, 2015

Just Ask

In reading the Blair Ames article about this year's annual educators' survey, I came across this quote from school system spokesperson Rebecca Amani-Dove:


"Without full knowledge of the methodology behind the results including how it was administered, how it was communicated and which research group developed the questionnaire, it is hard to comment on it beyond saying that, ultimately, the results demonstrate everything we expect a union sponsored survey to say," she said in an email.

Wow. Just wow.

First, how many people do you think had a hand in crafting that statement? (You know what they say about the horse, the camel, and the committee.) What a mouthful!

Let's translate.

We don't like the results of this survey, so we are going to say everything we can to discredit the survey, the results, and, ultimately, the teachers' union itself.

School system management actions certainly back up this translation. How much money have they spent purchasing a program from the Gallup organization in order to put themselves in control of the "engagement" narrative? How much time has been spent trying to discredit HCEA President Paul Lemle? How many words have been written suggesting that HCEA doesn't represent "real teachers"? How much effort was invested in trying to unseat Mr. Lemle as HCEA President? (He won, receiving 83.8 per cent of the vote.)


The truth is that it would be incredibly easy for Central Office Management to find out any of the things mentioned in Ms. Amani-Dove's statement. All they would have to do is ask. Just ask. Believe me, if you want information from Paul Lemle, he will tell you. I mean--really--this is a man excited by his job and his mission. He will tell you. Just ask. Suggesting that the information is not available is disingenuous.


The Howard County Educators' Survey predates the current administration. It's not something that Paul Lemle thought up on a whim to make management look bad. It is one piece of the many things that HCEA does to keep in touch with the needs of its members. And it could be an extremely valuable tool in addressing important issues. It certainly has been in the past.


The narrative for improving our schools should be a shared narrative.There are numerous examples of HCEA and various parents' organizations reaching out to work collaboratively with the school system. We need to see concrete examples of the school system truly cooperating with stakeholders, rather than seeking merely to control the message.








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