Lisa Haver SRC testimony – November 19, 2015

Lisa Haver SRC 11-19-15.jpg

Because of the determination of the SRC and the Hite administration to eliminate union jobs, and because of the incompetence of those in some of the highest-paid positions here, the children of the district are being robbed of their education.

Schools have been thrown into chaos, and many, including George Washington High School, have become dangerous places. In the corporate setting, which is what the SRC is trying to impose on the public schools of this city, heads would roll after a screw-up of this magnitude.

But those responsible for the outsourcing of substitutes to Source 4 Teachers, apparently, will continue to receive their $300K and $175K and $145K positions. Once again, it is the teachers and staff, the PFT members, who have been forced to clean up their mess; and it is the students who suffer.

When schools become unsafe and chaotic places, absentee rates go up. Who will have to pay for that?   When standardized test scores go down because the district has not provided enough teachers and support staff, who will pay for that? Not the administration or the SRC. It will be the students who will be labeled “failing”, the teachers who will be evaluated unfairly, and the schools which will be targeted for takeovers based on standardized test scores and attendance rates. The fact that a teacher who may be placed tomorrow will be responsible for test scores of students who went an entire marking period without a teacher doesn’t change any of that.

One way the SRC and the Hite administration could take some responsibility for their deliberate mismanagement would be to suspend all formal evaluations of teachers.

The SRC should suspend all standardized tests and should not take part in a state evaluation system which compares our students and teachers with those in school districts with all of the resources they need and which have elected school boards who are actually accountable for their actions.

Now the SRC and Superintendent Hite have decided to “amend” the contract with Source 4 Teachers. There is no reason to continue to pay this company $34 million after they have failed so completely.

The excuses made by district officials in the media—that we would lose substitutes— are dishonest. If the SRC voted tonight to cancel the Source 4 Teachers contract effective December 31, they would have six weeks to make the transition back to the previous system.

The decision not to cancel this contract is completely irresponsible. It is a betrayal of the students whose futures are entrusted to them. Let’s be clear about this: the SRC and the district are willing to use the students as collateral damage in their quest to get rid of unionized workers.

The SRC says it has “special powers” to strip district employees of all collective bargaining rights by cancelling the PFT contract. How about using those special powers to make sure that students have what they need: a full-time, permanent teacher in a safe building with all of the resources they deserve.