Some questions and e-mails I have been getting on school cuts that I thought I would put out there for comment: Feel free to e-mail me others.
1. Why isn’t Fulton cutting graduation coaches? A Fulton employee called me to ask why school counselors and psychologists are on the chopping block and not graduation coaches? (She had her suspicions why — a personal connection — but I suspect there are other reasons.)
2. This comment came to me from the husband of a Gwinnett teacher. (This issue has been raised by many people. I have called Gwinnett last month as I have been hearing a lot of this. See comment below.)
I urge your paper to do some investigation of Gwinnett County’s layoff practices. My wife’s contract was not renewed for performance reasons. She has not had even one negative mark on her employment record. Her principal could not give her any specific reasons for the non-renewal. My wife is a third year, highly qualified teacher.
This incident alone is not enough to warrant investigation, but when my wife has heard stories that are identical in circumstances to hers it requires action. Gwinnett County is going under the radar and not getting this in the press; they obviously don’t want to damage their reputations. Instead, they harm individual teacher reputations. This is not right.
Personally, this was stressful for our family. It would be one thing just to lay off teachers and claim budget cuts, but to claim performance concerns when there are clearly not any unethical. PLEASE, dig into this. Innocent people’s reputations are being hurt.
When I called a few weeks ago about non-renewals of teachers who maintain they had strong evaluations records, I spoke to Sloan Roach, who said these were normal non-renewals and were not an attempt to lower staffing through trumped-up suggestions of poor performance. She then followed up with this e-mail:
I have checked with Human Resources and decisions to non-renew an employee are based on performance-related issues. This is true with the current economic situation, and would be true during better times, as well.
An employee recommended for non-renewal has the option to resign, but that is the employee’s decision. You had asked if someone resigns can they reapply… there are no rules prohibiting someone who resigned from reapplying for a position in the school system.
Executive Director of Communication and Media Relations Gwinnett County Public Schools
But, then I got this e-mail about non-renewals in another metro county from a teacher whose husband was a principal:
I know this to be true, and not only from a teacher’s perspective. My husband (recently retired) was directed, as a principal, to do this type of non-renewal, inspite of his fervent protests and evaluations against it.