Two things, first it is the law that the lowest three hundred performing elementary schools in the state get an extra hour, second, many critics of this policy feel the money this costs could be better spent on other things. One of the chief critics of this policy is and you probably guessed it by now, superintendent Vtti himself.
He may have forgotten but just a couple weeks ago he sent the state a letter asking them to do away with this policy and to give the district more flexibility. Here is the letter.
Um, what am I missing here? On one hand he says the extra hour is a poor policy and on the other he goes, hey lets spend 300 grand and give these schools an extra hour.
This created a lot of controversy last year because the super went above and beyond those schools required to have an extra hour and made several others have the extra hour too. Many parents complained that their kids did not need the extra hour and that’s one of the problems with the policy, it scoops up all the kids at the schools whether they need the extra hour or not.
I think an extra hour can be valuable for enrichment but at the same time I think it should be a voluntary thing, a choice for families to make.
Another example of how can the super believe what he is saying is with teacher turnover. At the last school board meeting he said both the current numbers of retiring and resigning teachers is bound to rise and this years numbers are better so there is no reason to worry. Well first the numbers as of now may be better than last year, but that is because last year was a record year at least for resignations but they are still way up compared to what they have been historically.
Now in his defense transfers are down by about half (at least partly due to all the QEA transfers last year) and the district has redoubled its recruiting efforts sending teams throughout the country looking for teachers but that still does not diminish the fact are numbers are terrible. How do we expect to do well when we replace one in six teachers every year, especially when we have a super who doesn’t seem to care?
Furthermore the super has admitted that First Coast high school has suffered under principal Brennan’s leadership, nearly across the board the schools numbers are down, the grade dropped, there has been a teacher exodus and the community has revolted. He said in the Times Union we can do better and at a meeting he said he owns the problems there but he continues to sing the principals praises. Um, what?
Finally he says listening to teachers is important, that the district is going to use the Gallup poll results to help figure out what the problems are and how to fix them. Well friends what about the teachers at First Coast high, who begged and screamed for help. Only 29 percent said the school was a good place to teach and learn. Instead of listening to them Vitti said Brennan was one of the districts best and will be there for not one but for two more years. After that there can be know doubt he doesn’t really care about what teachers think despite his assertions otherwise.
Vitti is a master at attempting to have his cake and eat it too and nobody calls him on it. This is not how school districts are supposed to be run.