Recently Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee sent a communication to parents in which he denigrated teachers, saying that “dedicated teachers” were staying, indicating that he thinks teachers who leave are not dedicated. Let’s hear some factual information instead from an extremely dedicated, highly qualified, and highly effective teacher from of Jefferson County’s excellent high schools.
I am a veteran science teacher with a degree in my field, over 10 years of experience, and a highly effective rating. I chose to leave Jefferson County because I do not support the direction or the methods of Witt, Williams, and Newkirk. I left for a district that values and supports its teachers, students, and community members.
The new pay scheme that was introduced by Witt, Williams, and Newkirk does not support the achievement of all students. It makes it more difficult to teach at high poverty schools and to teach courses offered specifically for struggling students. It gives teachers no incentive to continue their education.
Teachers need to learn from each other. The new pay scheme pits teachers against each other to compete for the top scores on their evaluations. It makes the relationships between teachers and administrators combative when it should be collaborative.
Witt, Williams, and Newkirk chose not to help our neediest students at the point in their schooling when it could make the greatest difference. They chose not to completely fund full day kindergarten to needy kids across the district. They do not want to invest in our kids.
Due to their interest in a review of the AP US History curriculum, I am worried that Witt, Williams, and Newkirk will try to exercise more control over science curriculum. I expect that they will try to impose their radical views on the teaching of what they consider to be controversial topics in science: evolution, climate science, geology, and vaccinations.
Last year, Witt, Williams, and Newkirk showed that they have no intention of working with the teachers to come to agreement over the working conditions in schools. They rejected the findings of a mediator and instead unilaterally imposed a compensation scheme on the teachers.
I am worried that future changes to the teachers’ contract will cause class sizes to increase. I am worried that future changes to the teachers’ contract at the high school level will be expected to teach more class sections. This will leave teachers with less time to work with individual students, develop engaging lessons, and provide feedback to students.
The propaganda machine at the district communications department will do its utmost to spin the facts. Don’t let them bamboozle you. Listen to the voices of the people who make up your child’s learning environment.
Note: To minimize retaliation against this teacher we are choosing to allow her to remain anonymous.