we don't really need teachers....just give every student a speak and spell and we are good to go, am i right?
By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
At 55, Cynthia Masters wasn't ready to stop being a teacher. The energetic single mom had come to the profession late in life but had quickly grown to love it. She was drawn to working in high-needs schools with high-needs kids, and her job as a special-education teacher at Centennial K-8 in Denver Public Schools seemed to be a perfect fit.
"I might teach academics, but I teach children about life," she says. "I tell every single one of my special-ed kids that they can do it. I make them believe they can do it."
But in the fall of 2012, Masters was put on indefinite unpaid leave. It wasn't because she flunked an evaluation or because DPS decided she was a bad teacher. Rather, Masters was a casualty of a controversial 2010 state law that the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and the Colorado Education Association believe DPS is using unfairly to get rid of tenured teachers, many of whom are older.
In the four years since the law was passed, nearly 3,000 DPS teachers have lost their positions due to what the district calls "reduction in building," or RIB for short. The reasons that teachers are RIBed vary: Some lose their jobs because their schools are "turned around" or closed. Others are cut because school enrollment drops. In Masters's case, she was RIBed due to a decrease in the number of special-ed students.
Of those 3,000 teachers, 1,240 had at least three years' worth of positive evaluations, including Masters. And not all of them have been able to find new jobs. According to the law, still widely referred to as Senate Bill 191, RIBed teachers with three years of positive reviews — officially known as "nonprobationary" — who can't find a position within a certain time frame are put on unpaid leave, a move that both unions believe violates the state constitution.
"I never thought it would be used the way it is," says Milanne Kolquist, now a former DPS teacher. "They're using the law to break the law, I think."
But DPS officials say the district is simply following the law as written and insist that there's no conspiracy to fire veteran teachers. Instead, DPS superintendent Tom Boasberg says some longtime teachers are out of work because DPS is no longer required to place them under a policy that Boasberg refers to as "forced placement."
Before Senate Bill 191, if a nonprobationary teacher got RIBed and was unable to get another assignment at a school of her choice, the district would "force-place" her in an unfilled position at another school. The DPS schools that got the most placed teachers tended to have an abundance of low-income kids, poor test scores and open teaching jobs.
"Forced placement is a civil-rights travesty," Boasberg says. "It's particularly inequitable because our kids in poverty, who most need the best teachers, have instead had force-placed upon them teachers whom their school does not want to have.
"And that is fundamentally wrong."
Now, if a nonprobationary teacher loses her position, she's placed in a temporary assignment for one school year or two hiring cycles, whichever is longer. If she's unable to find a permanent job within that time frame, she's put on unpaid leave. She's still a DPS employee, but without a paycheck.
Brad Bartels, an attorney with the Colorado Education Association, says these teachers are victims of DPS's brand of musical chairs. They didn't lose their positions because they were bad teachers, he insists: "They just didn't have a chair when the music stopped."
Seven DPS teachers and the DCTA have now sued the district. (The statewide CEA is representing the DCTA in the matter.) The lawsuit is a class action, and the plaintiffs represent several different classes, including all teachers in Colorado who were considered nonprobationary prior to the passage of Senate Bill 191 and all nonprobationary DPS teachers who were RIBed and ended up on unpaid leave.
Westword spoke with five of the seven plaintiffs and found that they have several things in common: All are older than 45 and have good teaching records. Upon losing their positions, all five applied for hundreds of teaching assignments within DPS but, inexplicably to them, received just a few interviews. Only one managed to avoid being put on unpaid leave or being forced into early retirement.
"I applied for over 700 positions in the district," says plaintiff Michelle Montoya, who got RIBed in the fall of 2010. "I thought, 'I can deal with this. I'm going to go get a job. My skills are definitely needed.' And I just never got a second interview."
These plaintiffs aren't alone. While most of the 1,240 nonprobationary teachers who have been RIBed have found permanent jobs, about 200 resigned or were left with little choice but to retire. In total, 86 teachers have been put on unpaid leave — and 57 remain there.
That's not a huge number, but it was enough first to drive DPS and the union into arbitration and then to spur the lawsuit. It also raised concern among state lawmakers, two of whom introduced a bill in February aimed at stopping the practice of dismissing nonprobationary teachers without cause.
we don't really need teachers....just give every student a speak and spell and we are good to go, am i right?
I hate to see what education looks like 5 years from now. Dps is letting their experience teachers go because they can hire cheaper newer models. The new ones are jumping ship because being a teacher is no cake walk. Behavior issues are out of control due to a lack of administrative support. To much testing. A lot less retention.
I have a feeling it's gonna look like the drive thru at McDonald's. A million being served & the quality of the burger is going down.
I am not a teacher, nor do I belong to a union. I am writing this because I believe that America's hope for the future (our kids) is being sold out. School districts now spend billions of dollars on standardized testing, a tactic that has been shown by the data to be an ineffective teaching tool and one that is damaging to kids. Experienced and talented teachers are being discarded as too expensive (even though we pay them next to nothing) by school districts that are chasing testing results mandated by politicians. Politicians who in many cases fail the same tests they mandated (an example - Bill Owens flunked the 10th grade math test of the CSAP). Politicians need not be bright, they only have to be electable and know how to speak the right buzzwords to get funding... My solution; quit this maniacal testing, reduce dramatically the size and scope of administration, hire and retain until retirement good teachers and keep politics out of education.
Don't get me started. Teachers should not have tenure or union's! It made me sick having to sign off on things as head of the parent teacher committee for 2 years.
Public schools scare me. If I had to do it over, I would have liked to be home schooled. Public school is daycare. You made 'em so step up and act like it. Parents check having a child off of the "list" and then go on to a career for the "money" or a myriad of material wealth. They expect the public school to cover the spread so they can do their own thing. Teachers are stuck in the middle. I feel for the RIB'd at DPS, these people are stuck in a quasi social work structure and the basis of free market economics. I remember all my teachers, both the good and bad, and really respect the work they do.
This article states that the VAST majority of teachers receive acceptable evaluations, which means, 1. It doesn't take much to be deemed acceptable, and 2. Being acceptable doesn't necessarily mean you fit in with the "team" concept of any particular school. A recurring theme in the highlighted teachers' stories was clashes with superiors.
It's generally not a good thing to clash with the people making the hiring decisions...and, yes, the word gets out about teachers who don't fit in. These teachers aren't making widgets and there's more to being a good teacher than just being a good teacher. Who's to say that a 28 y/o, fresh with the latest techniques, isn't a better teacher than Cynthia Masters?
None of the "victims" in this article didn't get SEVERAL opportunities at SEVERAL schools...it's hard to believe they couldn't have caught on if they were that good. Unless Westword is suggesting that they somehow "deserve" to be hired because they are ''acceptable,'' the market is speaking, and they aren't competitive.
The union model is failing, hence, why charter schools are growing in popularity. Education ought to be focused on providing the BEST educational experience for STUDENTS. Alas, the unions believe in what's best for the TEACHERS, many of whom are protected through tenure. The unions achieved top-heavy administrative hierarchies and now rail at their hiring practices.
There are MILLIONS of Americans who've given up looking for work after experiencing the same job market facing these teachers. What's the difference between an MBA waiting tables and a teacher starting a vintage clothing business?
I'm sick and tired of hearing about unions "fighting" the government. WE are the government and the government is not some third world sweatshop. It's time for US to fight back against the union thugs who pit themselves against the Country's best interests.
Here are some realities of life:
1. Nearly every article written today is slanted and presents the bias of the author. Therefore, no article can be trusted to give unvarnished facts.
2. Our public schools are a disaster. I believe administration AND the unions share equally in that failure.
3. A "teacher" is an emotionally charged concept. The reality is that many teachers are just not very good at what they do. In every field, there is a bottom 10% and a bottom 50%.
4. In the real world, NO ONE is guaranteed a job or to be "placed" in a preferred location.
5. The only way to "guarantee" your job is to be the absolute best there is.
6. If you think unions are there for you and not their own self-interest, then naive would be a nice word to describe you.
7. Meanwhile, the kids suffer.
@Sportygirl All DPS administration should be fired and the school board members that support the DPS administration should be voted out of office.
@halbregg You are right on about the testing. Also, administration feels that payroll expenses will be lower if teaching becomes a NON profession and good teachers leave or are RIBBED before they can qualify for retirement benefits. In Colorado, teachers do not pay into or receive social security unless they have second jobs or worked in SS contribution jobs before teaching. New teachers who are very promising are leaving the "profession" often because of the demands of testing and mandatory Pay for Performance even though they cannot "handpick" their students. Google Finland education sometime and see how they planned ahead, trained the best and brightest for teaching, have minimal testing and some of the best results in the world. Granted, our society is much different - many more ethnic groups to work with - but the need for change is great and we are not looking at the world successes to learn how to improve our system. PS I WAS a dps teacher and left two years too soon because the testing and other demands and lack of adm support became too much for me to tolerate. I had VERY high evaluations from LEAP observer - (the district evaluator) I loved teaching. Nuff Said!
Yes, you are sick. Psychiatrists may be able to help you. You radical right wingers sure hate good American workers.
@whosdp While firing or otherwise separating 3,000 teachers in the past four years, one of DPS newly hired teachers one of Obama's "deferred action status" illegals. You OK with that? I sure as hell am not. DPS should have kept at least one teacher and made wure the Feds deported the illegal they hired.
@whosdp Well, if you think discriminating against older workers is a good practice, then by all means, let's all do it.
@whosdp Ms. Masters was replaced by a fresh college graduate with NO experience and NO academic training in teaching. TFA has a 5-week - 5 WEEK - "training" program. There is no way that young woman came "fresh with the latest techniques". The fact that Ms. Masters was asked to train her speaks volumes.
@fishingblues Please just go into a classroom for a week, with someone you have minimal respect for (since your disdain for teachers is evident) and then tell us how it should be done.
@fishingblues Wrong. Administration is much more to blame for the failure of the public schools. Being the best at your job WILL NOT protect a teacher form incompetent, corrupt administration.
Fishingblues did do a fine job of reciting conservative talking points....THANK A TEACHER for your ability to write those talking points!
@muhutdafuga So, in your twisted and severely limited little mind, anyone opposed to the failure of unions is a "radical right winger"?
How pathetic you are.
@maprincipal @whosdpAre you suggesting that there is no way the young college graduate could be a better teacher than Ms. Masters? The DPS HAS to have some sort of process to weed out teachers who, for one reason or another, aren't cutting it. This story presents one side of the story and you can bet there's another side.
As an almost 60 year older, I know how tough the job market is out there. Masters may have a point...this article just didn't make a very good case for her.
@allbomb51 @fishingblues "disdain", "radical", "cling to ignorance" - wow, you two (you and big butt fuga) are beyond belief. It is no wonder our kids are illiterate and 'public' education is a complete failure. I can only imagine the type of political indoctrination you attempt to pass along to unsuspecting, innocent children. If we could just run pathetic excuses like you two out of teaching, the kids might have a chance.
@muhutdafuga "conservative talking points"? What the hell does that mean? You are obviously coming from a biased prospective (a teacher or a union member).
You cannot objectively dispute a single thing I said.
You Reich wingers just hate American workers and have the same bizarre fantasies about unions as you do about people that make you their little bitch.
The real comical thing is you are too freaking stupid to know how stupid you are.
Let me write that I know how to spell right, and can diagnose little shits like you from the Reich.
I think it hilarious that union lackeys claim they are 'workers" when they are just the opposite. They join unions so they don't have to work and compete.
Too stupid to come up with your own material so you fail in an attempt to mimic someone else's words. How pathetic you are.
The real comical thing is that you are too freaking stupid to know how stupid you are.
Can't figure out how to spell "right"? Wow!
@fishingblues @muhutdafugaWow, radical right wing low life bigoted scum like you are sitting around spewing Reich wing talking points and dumbing down America? The direct result is ignorance and failure. The secondary result is that stupid little shit birds believe in fascism, and lie that everything they don't like is somehow communism.
And speaking of parasites, lazy neo-Nazi, corporate welfare sucking lazy, fat assed failures like yourself couldn't compete in the real world. You hate American workers, you hate anyone that isn't a member of your tiny little cult, you hate AMERICA.
Some radical Reich wingers are so radical they think the good Americans should be eradicated!. That's why conservatives should not be allowed to have guns, they are FAR too mentally ill!
@muhutdafuga Wow! Low life, bigoted scum like you are teaching our children? The direct result is ignorance and failure. The secondary result is stupid little shit-birds that believe they are entitled and drain the resources of the country like the parasites they are.
And speaking of parasites, lazy, fat-assed failures like yourself couldn't compete in the real world. If you didn't have a union to protect you, you would expire from gross incompetence.
People like you need to be eradicated.
@fishingblues @muhutdafugaIf they expressed a conservative thought, it would either be a lie or incorrect.
Conservatives don't think, they feel, they lie, they use propaganda and talking points, but thinking is not a conservative train.
Facts are liberal.
@fishingblues ... whines the radical reichwing nut.
Funny how someone with a twisted and limited mind can correctly diagnose you and manipulate you into proving that diagnosis is correct. You are a little gnat and have become boring with your small minded insults and other projection.
@muhutdafuga Sure, sure, sue the government! Go on strike!! Sign a petition to have the Kochs exiled!!!
Or, the handful of not-so-good teachers affected could start looking for other types of employment...union lackeys....
@fishingblues @muhutdafuga@allbomb51@whosdpEither one, you are a liar. Given that you are a conservative, this is likely. If you are two standard deviations ahead of my intelligence, there are no standardized tests that could even measure you. Given that you are a radical right winger, did you mean to say you are a deviant?
No, you are just a liar.
Too obtuse to be of use. You can't compete chubby. You don't have the tools.
@fishingblues @maprincipal@whosdpAs I originally diagnosed you, you are a radical right wing lying propagandist. Examples were winners of teaching awards. Examples were winners of teaching awards. Examples were given of teachers that won teaching awards. Sometimes one has to repeat a point for the stupid!
@maprincipal @whosdp Now there is some backwards thinking. "If an employee is 'not good enough' it is not her fault and it is someone else's responsibility." Sounds like a typical liberal. The concept of personal responsibility is a foreign concept.
You know what the new grad no doubt has? A positive attitude. I wonder how long she will be able to maintain that?
As to the hiring of illegals for teachers, that is a travesty and must be stopped.
@whosdp @maprincipalThe new grad might be a better teacher some day, but with zero experience and near zero training how could anyone hiring her possibly know she is better? If Ms. Masters is truly not good enough she should be on an improvement plan to help her get better. That is the district's responsibility.
This whole thing stinks to high heaven. If they really had to many teachers why is Denver now hiring scads of undocumented immigrants, most or all without teaching degrees, as teachers? One thing is for sure: they are young and cheap.
@muhutdafuga As to our relative IQ's, the results are proven on these pages.
You remain - too obtuse to be of use.
I produce facts and examples of your fellow deviants, you give your feelings. Just Google "deviant republicans" and "deviant conservatives." Facts are Liberal.
It's cute how you give yourself an imaginary IQ, then you give your fantasy about my IQ, then you do some simple math....that's how your failed movement creates "facts," otherwise known as right wing talking points. We used to just call them lies.
You have as many fantasies about me as you do about young hairless boys. Funny how you can't imagine the truth. A libertARYAN is just another radical right winger. Go back to the libertARYAN paradise of Somalia, fantasy freak!
Before you go, give just one, JUST ONE example where your fantasy philosophy has worked.
And keep your conservative delusions and other fantasies about my ass to yourself, freak!
Can't believe you are attempting to paint the GOP as more perverted than the Dems. Now there is a joke as big as you. Personally, I don't give a shit - I'm Libertarian.
I must retract a previous statement. You have proven yourself barely average in intelligence. I would think around 90, whereas I hoover around 150 on the WAIS. Therefore, I am a solid four and closer to five standard deviations beyond you.
Just like most morbidly obese people, you sit on your big fat ass and fantasize about being something you will never achieve. Keep shoving crap down your gaping maw, you'll be gone soon enough.
@fishingblues @muhutdafugaYou silly little right wing nuts have as many fantasies about me as you do about young hairless boys. I've won 9 state athletic championships, dough boy, how many have you won?
Here are a few of your fellow conservatives that had too many odd conservative fantasies:
* Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd was arrested on suspicion of soliciting sex with an 8-year old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable.
* Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
* Republican Party leader Bobby Stumbo was arrested for having sex with a 5-year old boy.
* Republican petition drive manager Tom Randall pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.
* Republican County Chairman Armando Tebano was arrested for sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl.
* Republican teacher and former city councilman John Collins pleaded guilty to sexually molesting 13 and 14 year old girls.
* Republican campaign worker Mark Seidensticker is a convicted child molester.
* Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.
* Republican Mayor Tom Adams was arrested for distributing child pornography over the internet.
* Republican Mayor John Gosek was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from two 15-year old girls.
* Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
Want more? Here ya go:
* Republican campaign worker, police officer and self-proclaimed reverend Steve Aiken was convicted of having sex with two underage girls.
* Republican director of the "Young Republican Federation" Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
* Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp. Russell Harding pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.
* Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.
@muhutdafuga And speaking of your big ass .....
Why don't you get off of the computer and get some exercise chubby. You do know that obesity is disgusting. I bet you have made up all kinds of excuses. It is in your genes (actually it is in your jeans). It is not your fault. What do you weigh now, about 250?
@fishingblues @allbomb51If you have a poorly performing child, it is a matter of genetics.
Yes, you can only imaging....it's cute when you radical right wingers start having fantasies about those that put you in the corner with your cute little tin foil hat.
It is odd that you radical right wingers have such odd fantasies about the "butt."
For the record, I love good teachers. But I certainly do have nothing but disdain for you losers who claim to be teachers.
You and people like you are the reason public education is a failure. You are disgusting and should be run out of the profession for the good of the kids.
@muhutdafuga @fishingblues Love the rationalization. If that is the type of English grammar you teach, it is no wonder our children are ignorant coming out of school. You should be ashamed of yourself. Although, shame requires intellect.
You wouldn't know "right wing" if it hit you on your copious ass.
Not there...you mean any support for your right wing talking points?
Here is the funny thing: If I am as stupid as you suggest, isn't it interesting how your pathetic little union hating right wing talking points are so easily defeated. That exposes you as the idiot you are.
Now enjoy your weekend, the same weekend that those mean old unions gave America. You can continue to rant, but until you come up with something worthy of a response, you have proven yourself to be an unworthy opponent. You might try to document your assertions. Surely you were educated well enough to do that, or were you?
@fishingblues @muhutdafugaListen, idiot...you have insulted my intelligence several times while doing nothing more than talking out your butt. You make assertions then get all baby hurt when they are challenged. You simply repeat radical right wing talking points and you again start whining when you are diagnosed as a radical right winger.
Your inability to understand a point doesn't mean there is no point, it only means you are an idiot propagandist that got caught.
@muhutdafuga You had no point.
@muhutdafuga @fishingblues There's that smugness and self-righteous attitude. Here is a clue for the dim bulb: When someone declares you too incompetent to compete, that does not mean you won. It means you are too freaking stupid to conduct yourself in any meaningful discourse.
No doubt a product of union controlled, government schools.
@muhutdafuga Given your smug, delusional belief in your self-importance, you are most obviously a loony liberal with a specific dog in this fight. Your ignoring the "facts" does not discount their validity.
I'm sure you think everyone to your right (about 95% of the population) is a right winger. I'd love to hear an operational definition of "right winger".
Once again, I certainly hope, for the children's sake, you are not a teacher.
@fishingblues @muhutdafugaYour assertion that something is a fact does not a fact make. So far you are only sharing your feelings.
Sorry about hurting your feelings by correctly diagnosing you as a right winger, your posts make that increasingly obvious. Mean old unions!!
@muhutdafuga Dang, do you consider that a rebuttal? Your logic is circular and twisted. I sure hope you are not one of the teachers. Our students deserve better.
As to articles being trusted, I did not write an article nor did I present it as "news". However, my comments were factual and indisputable. The only subjective statement was that administrators and unions share equally in the blame. I was being overly fair to the unions.
@fishingblues @muhutdafugaYou know exactly what "conservative talking points" means, especially given your use of said talking points. While it is impossible to refute your beliefs and feelings, you make multiple assertions that are incorrect. So you are correct that you are asserting your feelings, but your contentions are conservative talking points. Feel free to document your assertions.
You say no article is to be trusted...not trusting yours is a good start!