Thursday, December 6, 2012

Huntsville Sitty Schools Redux


The December 5, 2012 editions of The Huntsville Times and were just full of news and information they wanted us to know about the Huntsville City School system, beginning with the above the fold, banner headline on page 3A announcing another sale of a school building to developers, despite residents concerns about what's in store for the property.
 Bob Broadway, owner of The Broadway Group, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. School board member David Blair, whose District 2 included East Clinton before the school was closed in 2010, declined to detail what he had been told about Broadway's potential plans.
Turning to page 4A, there was a 3 column, above the fold, black and white photo of Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski with a female student looking at her government issued IPad,  announcing he was one of four education leaders in America named "Tech Leader of the Year" by Tech and Leaning magazine for his implementation of digital curriculum. 
 A profile of Wardynski on the magazine's website states that Huntsville City Schools "completely transformed education for its nearly 25,000 students" in just one year under the direction of the retired Army colonel, who is described as a "brave and visionary" leader. 
Also on page 4A, to the right of the above mentioned article, was the announcement the Huntsville school district had another legal victory last week as Madison County Circuit  Court Judge Jim Smith upheld  the legal lynching of  Huntsville City School Teacher Shirley Taylor.
Taylor, a third-grade teacher, was fired by Superintendent Casey Wardynski after she was accused of mistreating students. Documents submitted as evidence in the district's case show that she was reprimanded by University Place's former principal, Towana Davis, for her behavior toward the children.
Davis accused Taylor of creating a "hostile learning environment for students," in part by telling one boy in November 2011 that "he wasn't going to amount to anything or make anything of himself." The boy's mother wrote a letter to the school to complain after her son came home in tears.
Are you kidding me?  This is one of those rare occasions when I agree with Radio BoyBut, is it possible that she was just trying to motivate?  I know from first hand experience that complaining to school officials in person or in writing about teachers creating a hostile learning environment didn't get the teacher fired.  Surely there was more. This is the real kicker.
Smith's ruling, which overturns the decision of the administrative law judge, points to the language of the Students First Act, which went into effect in July 2011.
"Notice by certified mail or private mail carrier shall be deemed received by the employee and complete for purposes of this chapter two business days after the notice is deposited for certified delivery in the United States mail or placed with a private mail carrier for next business day delivery," the law reads.
Nothing in the statute requires the board provide evidence of delivery, Smith ruled.
Say what?  The statue requires notice by certified mail, but they don't have to provide evidence of delivery of the certified mail?  Why didn't they hand deliver this letter like they hand delivered her termination letter?
She first learned she had been fired the following day, when a notice of the board's decision was hand-delivered to her at University Place.
When it is unfavorable to a minority employee district officials are quick to dispense what they perceive as justice.  The same is true for students.   Why are they so unwilling to give due process to Shirley Taylor?
An administrative law judge agreed with Taylor, ruling in August that district officials had violated the requirements of the Students First Act by not ensuring Taylor received her notice of Superintendent Casey Wardynski’s intentions. Court documents indicate that the U.S. Postal Service did not deliver the document to Taylor’s Madison address because it had incorrect information that she had moved and left no forwarding address.
According to's  Crystal Bonvillian  Ms. Taylor actually did not move. She was living at the same home she'd lived at for several years. The Postal Service's information about a move was incorrect. 

Again, I wish I could say I am surprised the judge ruled in favor of the School District, my question is, with all the real estate deals, and digital learning initiatives, Teach for America Teachers replacing trained certified, educators, and privatized child abuse .........   "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

Read on, read often.

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