by Max Brantley
The Classroom Teachers Association turned out in big numbers at last night's school board meeting. Their comments seemed calm and reasonable. In return, they were interruped, told to shut up and termed horses' butts by two school board members; a member of the administration was similarly rude to a member of the audience. Sorry there's no link available to the D-G account. It captures the flavor. It suggests how quickly the district is moving toward autocracy. This will please the sort of LR business leaders who long ago abandoned the school district and slap the face of hundreds of fine teachers. It ignores the fact that teachers are not merely pieces of equipment, but veterans of the classrooms whose ideas about training, preparation and teaching might be worth considering. They sometimes actually might be better judges of classroom practice than the well-paid autocrats sitting down in district offices or the brand-new school board member who thinks his appointment has made him an instant education expert over people with 30 years in wildly diverse and challenging classrooms. A reader comments on last night's open line:
Yes, I was there at the board meeting fiasco last night. After comments about the disrespect being shown to teachers, Mr. Ledbetter [the CTA director] made a speech about the negotiations and the relationship between LRSD and LRCTA.
[School Boarde member Tony] Mr. Rose rudely interrupted him and then proceeded to yell at an audience of teachers, parents and community members to "Shut up!" and "That's the problem, you don't know who the boss is." In the next breath, he stated that teachers needed no protection from them or the administration. Yeah, right!
I'm sure you've seen the rest of the comments this morning in the DG. [School Board member Tom] Mr. Brock, in his intelligent remarks, compared members of CTA to "horses' behinds" and asked if being one was a qualification to obtaining membership in the organization. Someone needs to remind them that the people in that audience, including many teachers, are taxpayers and patrons of this district. They are elected officials and were elected to the board to represent all of the citizens in their zone. I think it is time to investigate recalling school board members. The total disrespect demonstrated last night for the teachers in the LRSD was appalling. It is no wonder the district is in the shape it is in and with the current leadership, will continue to go backward instead of forward.
And check the jump for another comment from a CTA member.
There were hundreds of LRCTA members in the lobby and outside. More than the Dem.-Gaz. reported. The Southwest community people who were at the meeting were appalled by the board. Although we cannot speak while Board comments, an example of something that was not correct came in Baker Kurrus' comments. When he referenced the National Board stipend for teachers he showed his ignorance of how it came about. In contract negotiations two years ago it was an LRCTA proposal. We presented research to the district within the state and surrounding states. We suggested the stipend be in our package. They agreeed to the proposal and it is in the contract. It was never an idea that was presented by the district. Baker said he gave it to us, but that is a falsehood. Just one of way too many. I hope that Katherine Mitchell and Michael Daughtery's comments are taken to heart by the other board members, but I doubt it. I would love to be proven wrong.