06 October 2006

Jesus Is Coming...Look Busy

Did you ever have a "Come to Jesus" meeting? These don't take place in a revival tent and they aren't run by fundies . They are when the boss is ready to straighten out a few crooked paths. The idiom refers to the epiphany the others should have (if they know what's good for them) while the boss redirects things.

I feel one of these meetings coming on in my office. One specialist has pushed things too far with everyone: teachers, principals, and definitely the rest of us in Curriculum. Not only is she getting major pushback from all of these parties, but Boss Lady 2.0 has a more balanced and practical outlook about things. What happens in the classroom---especially at the elementary level---should be about more than improving writing instruction.

Schools, departments, and districts are like families. Dysfunctional ones, perhaps, but still everyone has a role. There are golden children and black sheep, parents ready to take you to the woodshed, and nurturing ones who wish to spoil you. There is a lot of harumphing that things "aren't fair." Maybe life isn't meant to be, but schools are currently charged with establishing equity.

It isn't fair or equitable that six writing coaches received $30K of conference monies and $12K of professional books over the summer while the rest of Curriculum (math, science, reading) received about $5K total...and are not allowed to make any book purchases this year. While the majority of kids are not able to meet the standards in math and science while 90% do in reading and 86% do in writing, the writing program gets coaches, 6 subs a day (for 159 days)---math and science get no coaches and 6 subs a day for a combined total of 21 days (which we fought bitterly to get). It's not fair that there are seven people whose jobs are completely devoted to k-6 writing...and a single .8 person allotted for all of k-12 science.

I don't have any illusions about the upcoming shakeup. I know that I will be asked to give and make adjustments, too. It's only fair that we all do what we can to support teachers and kids...but I have to say that the rest of us in Curriculum are already shouting "Hallelujah!" at the idea of this meeting. It's about time everyone came to Jesus.

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