Let’s have a Public Forum on Rockford Schools
I apologize for the length of this post, but I felt compelled to include the entire comment of a teacher who is clearly frustrated in RSD205!
I was moved by the comment from the teacher who obviously cares very much about the students in the classroom who want to learn and the effects of disruptive students on them. I commend this teacher for his or her courage in coming forward and commenting on something that they could no longer tolerate. I have included the teacher’s comment and my response regarding the issues of discipline and parental involvement.
‘Leaving': “I am currently a teacher in a high school in RPS 205. I have thought long and hard about leaving a comment because I feel intimidated by the current administration, but someone has to let the world know what is going on in our schools. I feel parent involvement is the root of the problem. If the parents took the time to talk to their kids they wouldn’t stand for what is going on.
I have been a teacher for over 20 years and I have never seen such rudeness and crudeness from students. Every year we have an open house two or three weeks into the school year. This year I had an average of one parent per class period. We have 4 parent-teacher conference nights where parents can come and talk with their student’s teachers. Out of 135 students, I sat in the cafeteria for 3 hours each night and had a total of 5 to 6 parents each night.
Students know that their parents have no idea what is going on and know that the parents don’t care. School for many of the students means coming to class (most come on time now that the administration has been doing hall sweeps) sitting and talking throughout the class period about things happening in their lives with no regard to other students trying to learn, copying other students assignments, cheating on tests (It’s ok as long as you don’t get caught), expecting teachers to give them a second chance to take the test they just got caught cheating on, and expecting time before the test to study since they don’t study at home.
These are the disruptive students that cause all students to fail. If I write referrals the students are counseled and sent back to class. I am then told not to write referrals, but to handle this in the classroom, and if I continue to write referrals I get a letter put in my file. This is the reason referrals are “down” this year.
I have one student that continues to walk around the room to talk with his friends during the lesson shouting and cussing across the room, copying work, throwing away any papers that aren’t multiple choice all while I am trying to teach that I have written at least 8 or 9 referrals on this year. As of the last referral, he has accumulated a total of 10 points and has had ALE once. Calls home are attempted, but his phone is usually disconnected or no one is at home except a younger sibling. Next year will be worse since I am expected to call home every time he is disruptive. I spend every evening now trying to call parents that don’t care or are too busy trying to house and feed their children.”
And my response was,
‘Leaving': Thank you for the courage of your convictions. Even though you felt intimidated, you stepped forward and maybe others will do the same because of you.
One of my concerns regarding the amended discipline code is an assault on teachers being classified, as to the severity of the injury. I can’t believe that the extent of a teacher’s injuries would make any difference in the discipline of the student involved in the assault.”
I think it’s time to have a public forum on some of the issues concerning Rockford schools, not rumors, but actual events of which you have direct knowledge. I especially want teachers to step forward because even when I was serving on the Board of Education, I would hear of incidents long after the fact, because the teachers told me on the phone or in letters that they felt intimidated or threatened and most remained anonymous.
I didn’t understand then, and I don’t understand now – why? You have the teachers association to defend grievances, tenure, and an exhaustive termination process negotiated through the contract. The forum could discuss this issue also. Your ID on the blog will be the only name that will be used.
The topics I have posted during the last three weeks concerning RSD205 are linked as Dr. Sheffield, discipline and assault , instruction, lack of parental involvement in Rockford, minority recruitment, student assignment, and merit pay. The forum could start with these issues or whatever you wish to discuss.