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FAIR EVALUATIONS ESSENTIAL

6/1/98

 

   Within the next few days, residents will see members of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Congress of Teachers picketing each morning outside of their schools before the start of the school day.  This is one of a number of actions being planned to protest the unjust termination of several of our members without good reason.  This is the second time this year that we are forced to demonstrate against the subversion of the evaluation process by the administration of our district.

    The process by which teachers are evaluated must be fair.  Probationary teachers must clearly know what is expected of them and must be assisted by their supervisors to meet the standards set for them.   Sadly, under the current administration of our district, this is no longer the case.

    One of the teachers on whose behalf we are protesting was observed several times months ago and has yet to receive her immediate supervisor's written evaluations.  She also didn't have the required post-observation conference called for in the district's supervisory bulletin.   Neither was she ever told that her performance was unsatisfactory and that she was in danger of losing her teaching position.  After three years, in two different assignments, she has won the highest respect from her colleagues and parents.  Yet, she is suddenly told that she can't work here anymore.

    Another teacher we are fighting for is the district's only National Board Certified member of the  staff.  To receive this prestigious recognition, candidates have to submit a portfolio of their work as teachers as well as video tapes of their lessons that are reviewed by a panel of experts in their field.  This teacher's previous district thought so much of her that they paid the hundreds of dollars in enrollment fees required for National Board candidates.  Yet, after one year in Plainview-Old Bethpage under the current administration, she has been found to be unsatisfactory.  Her colleagues think she is great; the parents think she is great; her students adore her; she has received national recognition as a teacher; but, in our district she is judged to be unsatisfactory.

    Why are such outstanding teachers being fired?  We don't know.  By what standards have they and other teachers been judged?  How can it be that teachers are fired without an inkling that their performance has been deemed to be unsatisfactory?  We don't know the answers to these questions.  We are resolute in our determination to receive appropriate answers, however.

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