Wednesday, 26 January 2011

School For Teachers

Nepotism in Schools: Is the Teacher in the Classroom With Your Child Qualified?
The nepotism and patronage problems that many districts face have many more negative effects than just financial mismanagement. Nepotism can have adverse effects on the teachers' unions, students and the district as a whole. defines nepotism as, "favoritism shown to relatives or close friends by those in power (as by giving them jobs)." Well qualified teachers with years of experience and impressive resumes are being declined for jobs that are being awarded to recent college graduates whose teaching certifications have not even been approved by New York State yet. Demonstrating nepotism when awarding teaching jobs is particularly dangerous because of the product that the employee is working with.
By giving out jobs based on nepotism, the students in the affected school districts are being instructed by teachers that may not be the most qualified individuals to give instruction. Sometimes teachers are actually fired if possible, or relocated to other pilot programs outside of their teaching area in order to create an opening for someone's relative that wants a job. In one school district on Long Island a teacher that I interviewed was not given a position when it opened because that teacher's student teacher (who she was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching how to give instruction) became available for the job at the same time that she was to be considered and the student teacher was the son of the director of personnel. Standards are increasing in New York and the country and teacher quality is decreasing. Students are expected to accomplish more in less time and teacher quality is decreasing. Students are expected to score higher on mandatory exams and teacher quality is decreasing. While all other aspects of education and student performance seem to be moving forward, the hiring process of school districts has slipped backward to 1829 and the Jacksonian Era with jobs being awarded capriciously.
Teachers and other district employees should also promote positive, non-discriminatory, merit-based employment practices. Teachers and other employees who did not have to work hard to get their jobs often times do not feel the need to work hard to defend their jobs. In these troubling economic times job security is a great concern for many people. Teachers are constantly plagued by the worry that the state or federal government may reduce financial aid to their respective districts requiring the district to make staffing cuts. It is not uncommon to have members of teachers' unions rally in state capitols to try to secure funding for the upcoming school year. Unfortunately it is also not uncommon to find only veteran teachers with many years on the job and little to worry about in terms of job security out defending the newer teachers who do not bother to show up. Many newer teachers that secured jobs through nepotism feel no need to defend their jobs when the time comes to do so. This occurs because they had no trouble getting their teaching job; therefore, less value is placed on that job and the need to protect it. Nepotistic hiring practices hurt teachers' unions.
Less qualified teachers in the classrooms and a weakened teachers' union not willing to work hard to protect job security can have a detrimental effect on the district as a whole. When exam scores drop, schools loose state and federal funding. Increased school taxes, coupled with reports about poorly performing schools will lead to property value losses district-wide. The process of correcting the problems resulting from nepotistic hiring practices can be very costly and time consuming.
Nepotistic hiring practices are not just a problem in New York. Investigations into, as well as stories and complaints about, districts riddled with nepotism can also be found in many other states. In Oklahoma the state legislature has actually taken legislative action to deal with the nepotism problem in school employment practices by issuing House Bill 2479, which bans residents from holding board of education positions if their relative is employed by the school district and vice versa (Rousselot, 2006). Superintendent Dawson of Camden New Jersey was found to have had seven relatives on the district payroll when the state of New Jersey audited the district back in 1996 (Pristin, 1996). An article from February, 2003 in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette also revealed a significant nepotism problem in numerous school districts throughout the state of Pennsylvania (McKay). The presence of nepotism in school district hiring practices is a widespread problem and deserves the attention of the entire nation and, most certainly, the attention of the citizens that reside in districts with nepotistic hiring practices.
When it comes to the problem of nepotistic hiring practices in school districts the local public actually has much more power that it often recognizes. Not only is education regulated by individual state governments, but education is often more closely regulated on a local level by school boards. If it is found that nepotism is a problem in the district than pressure can be put on the board of education to address the unfair hiring practices. Many school districts have adopted new employment policies after prompts from the local community to eliminate nepotistic hiring practices. Education is regulated on a state and local level and problems with district hiring practices can be dealt with by concerned members of the public seeking out their elected representatives and pressuring them to attend to the matter promptly.
The civil service system has been used since 1883 to award government jobs to the best qualified candidates. Prospective employees for government jobs must submit to exams that measures their skill levels. Teachers in New York are required to submit to two exams before they are able to obtain their teaching certificate. The scores on the exams measure the teacher's competence in subject matter, ability to reason and knowledge of teaching techniques. Using teacher certification exams as a tool to award jobs to the most qualified individuals is one way to avoid having jobs awarded just to relatives of board members, administrators and other teachers. It also helps to justify giving a relative a job if he or she actually scores high on the exam and proves to be the most qualified individual.
Ultimately, the job of monitoring nepotism in school districts falls upon the public. Practicing nepotism in educational employment is inappropriate and can have horrible effects on the students, other teachers and the community that allows the practice to take place.
If teachers are given a chance to use the interactive whiteboard (IWBs), they would definitely recommend the use of it in the classroom. Interactive White Board is the latest classroom technology which has made the teacher's job far easier and simpler. Teachers in various schools are demanding for the interactive whiteboards to improve the quality of learning and training. The students would then clean the boards for the teachers. I highly recommend reading this book.) One student was reading aloud. (Later, this student would email me) Students wildly answered my questions during that last lesson. Some questions could be:
Students need to be sensory stimulated. Literature is wonderful for helping students achieve this.


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