The quote shown on the left was made by State Superintendent of Education, John White, at a conference in Washington, DC that was attended by 300+ education reformers. The entire speech is available here. We here at Block The Agenda have received more feedback related to our last blog than any other blog previously posted. Somewhere between 5%-10% of the feedback received was from people who were offended by the blog because they know the Rions to be good people. This tells us two things. 1.) More people are paying attention to Block the Agenda. 2.) Some folks have missed the point of the blog, or they are in denial, or they are part of the problem.
We do not know Mr. Rion. What we have heard is that he is a dedicated and well-intentioned person. Of that, we have no doubt. We want to emphasize that while Mr. Rion may have been the subject of the blog, the intention was to illustrate the current administration’s total disregard of its responsibility to serve the taxpaying community of Calcasieu Parish with ethical decision making, fair and honest hiring/promotion practices and total transparency.
While it is true that first and foremost a fight at the State level has to be won, it is also true that this will not be accomplished if the public does not see how the problems at the State level extend themselves into Calcasieu Parish. Nor will it happen if the community and the schools do not unite as a parish to fight it. To our knowledge, there has been no attempt made by the administration to join the fight. In fact, they have made huge efforts to increase the State’s reach into our communities by punishing those who have spoken out against it. People have lost their jobs; both teachers and community members. The administration’s management style is that of a bully.
People who work within the system are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their job. Those in authoritative positions believe that the ones who are brave enough to speak out are trouble makers and are downing the system. On the contrary, they are trying to save the system that they once had tremendous pride in and desperately want back.
Educators have been made to look like the bad guy, and all of their dignity stripped away. Those who are brave enough to continue fighting are punished. In fact, the district created an additional aspect to the teacher evaluation model as a means to eliminate the brave ones. It was supposedly approved by the State Superintendent of Education, but when questioned about it by State Legislators, denied any knowledge of it. The evaluation clearly violates the State mandate on teacher evaluations.
It is time for the administration to step up and join the fight. It is time for Calcasieu Parish to take control of its educational system and take the position that it will not be guided into education reform by LDOE, the Chamber of Commerce, or any special interest groups. Stand up for what is right!