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When I heard the news that Hannah Rinehart had died and the Gwinnett County school district denied her bereaved husband permission to spend her final days with her, I was dismayed but not surprised. Hanna's story had made news around the country when her husband battled to extend the 20 days of sick leave he was entitled to annually.

Mark Rinehart had not expected his wife to die. He anticipated that she would survive her battle against a rare flesh eating bacteria that she contracted from her dog and would need round-the-clock care after leaving hospital. He requested that the school system grant him an extension on his leave so he could take care of her, but was denied. His coworkers offered to donate their own sick leave to him so that he could be by his wife's side during her convalescence, but they were told they could not do that.

In late August, Mark Rinehart made what he called the 'difficult, but necessary decision' to return to work for the start of the new academic year. Even as his wife lay dying, the school officials cold heartedly applied the 'rules'.

But this should not be surprising to anyone who is familiar with this school system. Take for example their school bus policy. Children are expected to be at the bus stop five minutes before the bus arrives. If you are late you are removed from your seat and placed in the front of the bus in detention which causes students, especially young ones, much distress and confusion.

Many after school programs which helped underachieving students have been axed so students who have learning problems are treated as disciplinary problems and routinely punished. Among other penalties, they are detained during recess and breaks so that they can get their assignments done instead of getting access to specialized help.

This year due to budget cuts parents having to purchase several books which would have previously been given to the students at no charge. This is causing unexpected hardship for many. Surely there are other items that could be axed so that students could get their books.

School teachers and administrators generally take a very iron fisted approach to many day to day issues concerning students when a little compassion would have been a much more effective solution. Some school administrators are practically off limits to parents who request access, being shunted off instead to others lower on the hierarchy and teachers will rarely communicate with parents one-on-one, preferring printed handouts, emails or appointments.

Many of the issues plaguing this system can also be found in other school districts too, as more and more anti-student policies are adopted. Some of these are being implemented by score and test driven schools for whom students are now just pawns. If you are too weak to produce the grades that make the teachers and administrators look good, you are viewed as a problem. The system is geared toward achievement only and schools are no longer taking a holistic approach to education.

In this red state Conservatives are lobbying for more charter schools which cherry pick good students to create the illusion that the public schools are no good and this is spawning tough school rules and academic standards.

According to the Atlanta Journal: "... after an open records request, it was found that 30,751 students in the class of 2011 left high school without a diploma as opposed to the 15,590 that had originally been reported.

The drastic drop in graduation rates across the state of Georgia did not come as a result of schools reporting fraudulent data, but rather came about from a new federal requirement that regulates all schools throughout the United States to report graduation rates under one, consistent formula."

The schools are in big trouble but instead of these dictatorial and adversarial approaches to school management, the state needs to make a real effort to invest more in the students and teachers.

Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 5:52 AM PT: MANY THANKS TO KOS GEORGIA, CLASSWARFARE NEWSLETTER: WALLSTREET VS WORKING CLASS GLOBAL OCCUPY MOVEMENT, AND COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT FOR REPUBLISHING.

Originally posted to truthseeking missile on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very sad to hear about that teacher (25+ / 0-)

    I know it's harsh, but I am simply fed up of telling people that elections have consequences.

    It sucks, big time, to be a liberal, or a human, caught up in the vapid, low-information, hate-filled climate existing in many States ... Mine included.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:33:26 AM PDT

    •  So your point is that the heartless administrator (4+ / 0-)

      who was too blame for this was elected?

      Well, maybe so, maybe not.

      In any event, if that's what you meant, on a federal level if it has any bearing, Obama could hardly be worse than any alternative imaginable.

      •  The "heartless administrator" (11+ / 0-)

        was hired by the city to administer their policies, no doubt because his attitudes made him fit right in. Something like this is hardly an isolated incident or a rogue administrator.

      •  Well you might have asked me (9+ / 0-)

        for my point, rather than tell me what my point was then extrapolate.

        Leaving that aside ...

        No, I was sorry that a teacher went through such a trauma. I do not know the circumstances, so I chose not to lay the blame in any particular direction other than at voters who elect Republicans .... from that seed does much hurt grow.

        The GOP is not known for "people centered" policies, and the fact that folk end up hurting should come as no surprise.

        When everything is predicated on a few flawed statistical models, the results you get are not the ones one might desire .... this seems to be a case in point.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:44:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  actually, this fits right in (0+ / 0-)
          voters who elect Republicans
          with GOP efforts to deny the vote. the groups most likely affected are minorities, the poor, the sick and the old. these voters in those school districts, who voted in republican school boards, or whose state legislator's appointed republicans to the school boards, have a plan, which is to reduce, as much as possible, poor and minority children from the public schools.

          they do this by enacting draconian rules, with draconian punishments, enacted and meted out for the sole purpose of purging those poor and minority children from the schools, much as they've tried to purge their parents from the voting rolls. by doing so, they create more customers for their private prisons. and trust me, this is a legitimate conspiracy, using the federal gov't as their excuse, to do what they've wanted to do ever since Brown v. Board of Education.

    •  Thanks for recs and community spotlight placement (3+ / 0-)
      •  Oh ... I hadn't noticed :) (0+ / 0-)

        I had nothing to do with the Community Spotlight, for that you have vcmvo2 to thank :)

        I wholeheartedly endorse that decision though.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        by twigg on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:38:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Twigg's right (4+ / 0-)

      the rot starts at the head.  I lived in Gwinnett Co back in the 90's.  We pretty much lost the entire county commission over a couple of elections when it was revealed how badly they were ripping off the voters.  Taking hotel rooms in Atlanta at 7:30PM because it was too late to drive the 30 miles back to their homes.  I doubt that the school board was much different.  About 1/2 of the sales taxes we were paying was to fund schools since they wouldn't raise property taxes to adequately fund anything.

      I was in Lawrenceville, place was chock full of nut cases.  One Saturday morning not long after I moved there, I tried to travel thru downtown the street (4 lanes one way) was nearly blocked by guys in Klan robes handing out literature.  That street's not far from where Larry Flynt was shot.  

      “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

      by markdd on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 02:32:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My grandchildren are in Gwinnett County (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo in NJ, chimene

    and attend public schools at all three levels.

    I'm pretty happy with everything I've seen there.

    What is your problem with expecting them to be at the bus stop when the bus arrives (or even 5 minutes early)? That keeps the buses running on schedule and it's worked out just fine for my grandkids, who get themselves off in the morning, catching buses at 6:10, 7:15, and 8:30.

    Go re-listen to Bill Clinton about 'co-operation', I recommend.  

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 06:42:43 AM PDT

    •  Alert parents first (12+ / 0-)

      Many times the parents are to blame and the children are punished instead.

    •  The objection seems to be the resulting humilation (20+ / 0-)

      to the kids who are late, when most probably their parents were to blame . .. .

    •  Get parents, et al involved in next elections. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clem Yeobright, mungley, kyril

      DO SOMETHING, DAMMIT!

      Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
      I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

      by Leo in NJ on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:34:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You sound like one of those guys (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley, happymisanthropy, QDMacaw, kyril

      who brags about how you walked to school 10 miles every day in a foot of snow, and it was uphill both ways.

      •  Actually it was his grandkids who did that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        TO paraphrase President Clinton's reference last night; "Original poster built a log school house with  his bare hands every day."

        2012 Elections: POTUS - Obama; CA-47 (new) - Lowenthal

        by mungley on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:09:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anotherroady, worldlotus, kyril, ladybug53

        Actually, I believe quite strongly in human dignity and in equal rights and in equal protection.

        I believe that one's rights should NEVER depend on one's skill at pleading special circumstances nor on the beneficence of one's supervisors.

        The diary notes that the teacher did NOT know that his wife was dying. Nor does it say that he was denied the right to unpaid leave as guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act. The diary suggests that the district was implementing the policies established in its contract  with the teachers, and that's just fine with me.

        As for the school bus issue, I've checked and the policy regarding that was clearly stated in the letter that informed the student when and where his/her school pick-up would be. It did require turning the page to read the entire letter.

        To my mind, this is another 'Something bad happened to somebody and it makes me sad' diary.  In this case it deals (in part) with a place and a situation with which I am familiar and I foresee the 'solution' suggested to inflict a burden on others. Frankly, I foresee that were the bus policy to be different in some way that would make the diarist happy, he/she would be back tomorrow with a diary "Fucking Gwinnett County Can't Even Run its Schoolbuses on Time!"

        Better?

        Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

        by Clem Yeobright on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:11:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, you don't understand what FMLA requires. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright, chimene

          Under the statute, eligible employees (to be eligible, an employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months, have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the need for leave, and work at a location in which the employer has 50 employees within 75 miles) of covered employers (and all state and local government employers are covered, as well as all private sector employers with 50 or more employees) are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to help care for a "parent, child or spouse" with a "serious health condition." A serious health condition is any condition requiring inpatient care, or a chronic condition, or a condition which incapcitates the employee for more than 3 days and involves either two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a continuing regimen of care.

          The disease as described is surely a serious health condition.  So if the teacher meets the eligibility criteria, he had a right to take off up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave, with a right to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with the same pay and benefits, and conditions of employment, as he enjoyed prior to taking leave.

          Further, he doesn't have to "request" leave or even know of the existence of the FMLA.  If the school system had enough information to suspect that FMLA might apply (e.g., he needed to take time off to help care for his seriously ill spouse), that triggers a duty on the part of the employer to investigate, and to offer FMLA leave.

          Sounds to me as though, barring some additional information not presented here, the teacher needs to go to the US Dept. of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, and see if a complaint is in order.  Or, of course, he can seek advice from competent counsel.

          So this isn't just an "it makes me sad" diary, as Clem suggests.  It sounds like a "my employer denied me my statutory rights" kind of diary.

          •  I think he wasn't seeking unpaid leave (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            worldlotus

            It appears from various links posted that the teacher was seeking paid leave.

            I certainly believe he should have gotten paid leave.

            I also believe he should have gotten it because it was district policy outlined in his contract and not because he was able to persuade a supervisor or even the school board that he was a really good guy and deserved an exception from regular policy.

            The school district I know of that allows teachers to pool their leave time is in a red state too: North Carolina.

            A school district must be able to make a budget; if sick days can be predicted at 3.3/person/year and that goes up to 3.5 because of a policy change, it has to be accounted for; it's public money.

            Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

            by Clem Yeobright on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 12:57:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  We don't need that kind of draconian reaction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, decembersue

      in our district. If you're there when the bus stops, you get on the bus. If you're not there, the bus leaves without you. Simple.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:52:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't get it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, decembersue

      If they are late, don't they just miss the bus?  My kid's bus didn't sit and wait for her if she wasn't there.

    •  Jeebus Clem, how incredibly self-centered of (0+ / 0-)

      you. The diary was about a teacher not being able to stay home with his wife as she was dying, not the fucking school bus. Way to focus only on yourself. You probably agree with the admins.

      If you want to brag on your grandkids write your own fucking diary and make sure you mention the subject in the title so I can ignore it.

      "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

      by glorificus on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 03:08:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have three comments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noor B, gffish, kyril

    I'm thinking this must revolve around whether the teacher is paid for the time off - because otherwise the Family and Medical Leave Act is still in place which allows people to take unpaid time off in exactly this kind of circumstance.

    Someone else mentioned this, but I have heard of places that allow co-workers to donate their own sick days in a situation like this,  was that a possibility?

    Third, how the heck did she catch flesh eating bacteria from her dog?!! Please enlighten, this is scary.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:14:52 AM PDT

    •  Phoebe: she was a 3-time cancer SURVIVOR (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley, one of 8, Noor B, gecko, worldlotus, kyril

      whose bouts with that disease had left her immune system ... for all intents and purposes ... wrecked. The dog's saliva carried a rare bacteria, and she couldn't fight off the resulting infection.

       http://www.foxnews.com/...

      A woman battling an aggressive bacterial infection for more than two months has died, MyFoxAtlanta reported. Hannah Rinehart, 32, passed away early Wednesday morning while surrounded by her family, according to family members.

      According to FOX 5's George Franco, Rinehart was a triple cancer survivor, whose immune system was weakened when she contracted a rare bacterial infection from her dog's saliva. The infection had caused Rinehart to have her hands and feet amputated.

      She was the wife of high school math teacher Mark Rinehart.  Earlier in August, Mark Rinehart's colleagues attempted to donate their paid time off to him to spend more time with his wife, but the school district denied their requests.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/...

      This from FoxNews, which has another article about the sick-leave donation issue: http://www.foxnews.com/...

      It would appear that the contract denies Rinehard FMLA leave.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:51:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's still heartless as hell. (5+ / 0-)

        When my dad died of cancer, the school district gave my mother as much time as she wanted to return to the classroom.  That was in Florida, hardly a bastion of liberal leave policies in 1971.  You would think that in 2012 in the suburban Atlanta area, there would be more grace in the system.  Sad to say, apparently not.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

        by Noor B on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:03:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ok my take as a native of Ga. (11+ / 0-)

    Gwinnett Co. is far more progressive that the west side of the state.  That is not saying a great deal.  I can shed something on this conversation though.  THE BIG CHEESE over all the schools in Georgia I had a pow wow with.  Wanna know where he lives?  On the west side.  He is over the ethics commission in Georgia and certifications.  He lives and was raised in Tallapoosa, Ga.    West side.
    All roads pretty much lead to the head and the head is a bit backwoods.   I went to him to complain about a teacher that I knew was BAD for students.   They had already had complaints on that teacher documented yet he still taught.  Write ups in papers, yet he still taught.  The principal in question finally got busted for pediphilia.   Rape was in the write up from years past when I went to the head and reminded him of this outrage.   The whole sum of the matter is Ga is lacking in educational leadership and the buck stops at the guy over certifying teachers and administration.  
    When the leader lives in Possum Drop Tallapoosa and knows every good ole boy from here to south Ga, should say a lot about Ga and their education levels.  
    I left that state never to return and some of it has to do with lack of educational opportunity and my family founded Douglasville Ga so I know the demographics and many of the educators there.   Gwinnett...better than some counties....still no glowing thumbs up from me.   I call Ga, the land of bondage Egypt for a reason.   I have sat at the table and argued with the pharoahs.

    Good diary.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:25:39 AM PDT

    •  Here is a clip from a watchdog I started (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noor B, gffish, kyril

      up there and still thriving.

      Carroll County Watchdog

      November 9, 2011.

      I would think that Carroll County Board of Education could be facing a lawsuit considering they knew about the Hart sexual allegation posted here and on the web and actually referred to in the Board meetings for harm ..I KNOW the Ethics Committe was informed and a complaint was filed for his abuse of power and this
       former past......They knew and kept him on and exposed not only our kids but Douglas County and Harlson County with a reference. Maybe the whole state is liable. All the perversions he knew about and did nothing while he was principal.

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:40:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A clarification, please (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril

      You wrote in the second paragraph about "a teacher that I knew was BAD for students", then state a few sentences later, "The principal in question finally got busted for pediphilia."

      Are you talking about 2 different people -- the teacher & the principal he/she reported to? Or by "principal" did you mean the teacher? (That word can be used in either sense.)

      That's a disgusting situation, regardless which is the case.

    •  old joke about georgia: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril

      upon crossing the state line, billboards welcome visitors with "welcome to georgia!  please set your clocks back 100 years"

      i'm sure the same joke applies to a lot of states, particularly in the deep south, so please don't flame me as a state hater.  (i was born & raised in the south, btw.)

  •  How can you expect someone who never licked clean (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril

    a Repubian politician's fundament to be treated like a human being?

    How much did he ever do for me?

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 08:32:13 AM PDT

  •  If I might suggest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright

    This story, if it had included sources, would be subject to less questioning.  

    •  It would also help to identify (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gecko

      the location of Gwinnet County - what state, what metro area etc. Since it's not everyone's radar.

      •  Northern Georgia, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gecko

        The Atlanta suburbs.  We're not talking about the Valdosta area, which I personally think is a bass-ackwards as it gets.  We're talking Norcross, an Atlanta bedroom community.  

        And yeah, I believe it.  Georgia is... well, words do not suffice.  Vet wife, above, has nailed it.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

        by Noor B on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:07:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's doubtful the system will change. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Noor B, gffish

    At least not for the better.

    Republicans are interested in the school system for two reasons. First, it's a massive profit center for their political contributors.
    Second, they don't give one flying f*ck about how good the education the children receive is. Less educated people are easier to lie to and control.

  •  move to a blue state (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pilotshark

    You live in Georgia. What part of redneck backwoods southern stupor do you not get. If you love your family, and you want what is best for them, run do not walk... to a blue state.

    •  just a thought for you (6+ / 0-)

      Fisrt, selling your house, finding another job, finding a suitable place to live and work in one of your blue states is very, very difficult, plus the massive expense of moving.  I've lived 15 different places and I like where I am.  Yet, even your blue states are being taken over like toxic mold by fundies and tea partiers and sometimes just plain idiots with  deep pockets for campaigns.  Read up on the Seven Mountains strategy of the fundies.  Their first target is to infiltrate school boards, one of Michele Bachmann's first efforts and nwo she's in Congress.  Your solution lacks the depth of analysis. And you can keep your blizzards. Just saying.

      Oh, for Pete's sake!

      by sow hat on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:26:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, you both have a point. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sow hat, worldlotus, kyril, chimene

      Formerly blue states that had good public ed systems and social services overall have gone red.  Pennsylvania is a perfect example.  Everything is now controlled by the Republicans.  The point is, you could move to a blue state and see something freakish happen electorally and you wind up with a cannibalistic Republican state government.  Or you could wind up in a school district that is dominated by mouth-breathers who by hook or by crook take over control of the school board.  Shit happens.

      Sure, you can vote with your feet.  Me?  Heh.  I voted with my feet 20+ years ago and haven't looked back even for a split second.  But that's expensive, and at some point you have to take a stand.  Nothing will ever get any better in the South if everybody with two brain cells to rub together bugs out for Massachusetts or Vermont.

      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

      by Noor B on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:15:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I take your word about the district. But denial... (7+ / 0-)

    ...of medical leave seems to be a pervasive streak in American job culture.

    There is still some underlying sense that employers are doing workers an immense favor for just giving them a job. Stuff like little workplace dictators denying blatantly justified medical leaves, is just a side-effect of this attitude.

    A few years ago, a friend of mine was an assistant professor in a prestigious U - and a stellar one having made substantial advances and brought in some big Federal grants (which U higher-ups often care about more than the academics themselves nowadays). A stellar teacher, too - top-notch on all counts.

    Then he contracted a lengthy disease, and asked - just like the teacher your diary talks about - to extend his leave and have someone else start the schoolyear classes instead of him.

    His department chair, who is not even a boss in the ordinary sense, said no. Arbitrarily. Just because he thought he had the formal power to. And there was no previous bad blood between them. My friend appeal to the U authorities and won, b/c it turns out that this chair was not allowed to deny in such a case. That spelled the end of his career there. A few months later he was denied tenure in a rather vicious and lie-filled rejection letter.

    I too experienced quite a bit of that, and - just like my friend - even from people who were not really my supervisors, and in an academic setting which is pretty much the last place you would expect that. So I can only imagine what happens in Walmart or McD.

    This shameful attitude, that workers can be kicked around as toys for higher-ups, does not exist in the rest of the industrialized world. It is grossly at odds with democracy. Who knows, it might even be a relic of the time of slavery.

    •  But diarist PLEADS for ARBITRARINESS (0+ / 0-)

      I'm with you, Assaf: Rules should not be applied arbitrarily and certainly not based on pleaders skill at manipulation.

      I have a nephew who is a master manipulator and got along quite well - until finally in prison he found a system that would not be manipulated.

      Sure, the district might modify its policy; other districts I know of permit teachers to donate their sick days to others (which, however, is also pretty arbitrary, isn't it?)  But once a policy is in place, it should be implemented.

      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

      by Clem Yeobright on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:04:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love my Blue State (WA) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene

    And I love it more and more every day, eapecially after reading about travesties like this.

  •  Great diary, and very timely, for me, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QDMacaw, Noor B, worldlotus, kyril

    speaking of the tendency, not only to privatize, but to regiment public education. I am a new teacher. I received my credential to teach in my state in 2010, in what was supposed to be a very marketable specialty. But more than 2 years later I still have no full-time classroom job, though I have looked for one unceasingly all this time. Recently, this already-discouraging story took a sinister turn. Namely, I applied to a new district for work. I was asked to take Gallup's TeacherInsight (TM) standardized personality test, which this particular district used as a screening tool, in that it's supposed to predict how effective new teachers will be. I think I bombed the test; it actually seemed to cut me off in the middle. (I usually do "bomb" these standardized personality thingies :) I went online to learn other teachers' experiences with this test. The bad news is, it's being phased in more and more, at later stages of the hiring process than where I encountered it, and it's make-or-break. A culture exists online of teachers and would-be teachers who set out to game this high-stakes test, to get hired, to get jobs.

    I guess I should be happy Gallup has found itself a new marketing niche: school districts. And such an, ahem, worthwhile service it offers, too. What matters ever-more for a teacher looking to get hired, is one's ability to perform on a standardized test.

    Thanks for your diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:15:05 AM PDT

  •  You've got to work until you die (6+ / 0-)

    On your deathbed, your only regret should be that you didn't work harder for the organization that can dismiss you on a whim.

    Leave of absence?  The Chinese don't take leaves of absence.  Why should you?  Slacker!  That's not the American Way.  You need to work hard if you ever want to be more than 3/5th of a person.

    Your wife is dying?  Fuck you.  If you were smart like Newt Gingrich or John McCain, you'd ditch your sick wife for a younger, richer model.

    Remember, that's what Republicans who inherited their wealth have told us, so it must be true, because they're so transparent in their words and deeds.  

    No, not bitter or cynical at all...  nosirrrree...

  •  I was struck by the contrast in the response (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Noor B, wenchacha, quaoar, worldlotus, kyril

    to UWG student Aimee Copeland's struggle with flesh-eating bacteria as opposed to the response to Hannah Rinehart's plight.

    For Copeland there were blood drives and constant presence in the local and national news. A whole wing was added to Copeland's parent's house, specially designed for her needs as she's lost a leg, a foot and both hands. There were fundraisers and blood drives on here behalf.

    Meanwhile, the school district where Rinehart's husband worked couldn't be bothered to allow a humanitarian response by Mark Rinehart's coworkers in donating their sick leave so that he could afford to be at her side.

    She, like Copeland, had lost here hands and feet. She could have used the comfort of a loving spouse to feed her ice chips and care for her as only a loved one can. That she died before the district could find a way to a favorable decision breaks my heart.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:50:13 AM PDT

  •  Only Following Orders (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noor B, kyril, chimene

    The last and best refuge of people with no morals.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:54:39 AM PDT

  •  If I were the teacher, I'd have quit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noor B

    No job can make up for the loss of a loved one.
    Why no FMLA? Where is the teachers' union?

  •  I pulled my kids out of GC schools (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril

    My daughter in 2nd grade, and my son in 6th.  Both are dyslexic and the school would not deal with their issues.  Sink or swim.

    Their elementary school had over 1500 kids and couldn't build fast enough to keep up with the population growth in the early 90's. My son's 2nd grade class was in a alcove across an aisle from the cafeteria, try to concentrate there.  To get to his third grade class room, you had to pass through another classroom.  Fourth grade was his best year, he was in a trailer, thank g-d that Georgia is immune from tornadoes and hurricanes.  His fifth grade teacher suggested we get him out public school as fast as possible.  My daughter was expelled from kindergarten for throwing a tantrum after being denied a treat that all the other kids received.

    We spent two years in a dedicated program teaching them the basics of English, including phonics, math and social studies.  Gwinnett was pushing "whole language" in those days and couldn't/ wouldn't deal with kids who couldn't learn that way.  Finally put them in a private religious school that would provide assistance and advocates to help them succeed.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 02:11:28 PM PDT

  •  This is awful but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright

    I would have sacrificed my job were it my wife - I know easy to say but one can get a new job, death is forever.

  •  What we teach our children... (0+ / 0-)

    ...does not come exclusively from curriculum and cannot be graded exclusively on standardized tests. We also teach our children from the "small" decisions and day-to-day choices that are made. (Although it's hard to see how this decision in the article could ever be "small." The deciders were certainly petty.)

    So...what did we teach our children here?

    That the rules matter so much more than the people the rules were meant to help.

    That human life is worthless--certainly worth less than our institutions.

    That the heart does not matter.

    That when the going gets tough, the tough are supposed to suck it up and abandon those whom they love.

    That teachers are accountable and, therefore, are not to be treated with kindness.

    That compassion is forbidden.

    That grace absolutely is not to abound.

    I can think of no faster way to raise children to be heartless, thoughtless, compassion-less, mean-spirited and brutal than the lessons taught by those who made this heartless, thoughtless, compassion-less, mean-spirited and brutal decision. If I remember right, those who taught this lesson were once told that it would be better if a millstone were hung around their necks and they were tossed into the sea. I myself don't advocate that, but I seem to remember reading it somewhere.

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