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Forward: by Ronald J. Riley

Teachers offer radically different views.  I agree with those detailed under "Counter-Point", and think those expressed under "Point" are classic examples of denial.

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Point   Counter-Point
----- Original Message -----
From: Name removed
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 6:33 PM
Subject: Lake Fenton Hall of Shame
 
I would personally like to nominate Ronald Riley for the Hall of Shame in the idiot advocate category.  Mr. Riley, you are nothing more than a bully who is trying to use the internet as your device of intimidation.  If you truly care about making public schools better than why do you seek to go after individuals.  How do you presume to rate teachers?  Do you really have all the needed knowledge to do such a chore?  You seem to have some serious unresolved issues to deal with.  Were you picked on by some jock when you were a student?  Your comments tend to make me laugh more than anything else.  Apparently you weren't one of the people in the 60's who decided to go into education to avoid the draft.  Were you one of the people who avoided life by going on drugs.  Cause man, you still 'trippin.'
 
I sincerely hope that you lose this case and I pray that your children don't feel the brunt of what you are about to receive in the public back lashing that I guarantee you will receive.  They don't deserve this anymore than any teacher or administrator who you happened to disagree with.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tim
(Parent, student, educator, and activist)

Tim the teacher comments are in black.
Ronald J. Riley's replies are in blue.

----- Original Message -----
From: name Removed
To: PS-ErrorOfFact@QualitySchoolsNow.org
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 6:33 PM
Subject: Lake Fenton Hall of Shame


<<I would personally like to nominate Ronald Riley for the Hall of Shame in the idiot advocate category.>>

You are welcome to your point of view, just as I am.  This is what makes America a great country.

<<Mr. Riley, you are nothing more than a bully who is trying to use the internet as your device of intimidation.>>

I disagree.  I spent years working through the Lake Fenton system.  First I took the issues to teachers, and then to Principals, and then to the Superintendent, followed by writing and calling the school board members. This is documented on the web site.

Only after all else failed did I go public with my concerns.  Public schools are accountable to the public, or at least they should be.  If they perform well we reward them with ongoing funding, and if they do not the public has the right to punish them by opposing funding.


<<If you truly care about making public schools better than why do you seek to go after individuals.>>

The very character of public schools is determined by the nature of the teachers.  Many are dedicated and responsible professionals.  I have listed some of the more exceptional Lake Fenton teachers at
http://www.qualityschoolsnow.org/
lakefenton/honorable/
In other words those who were the best are being recognized, just as those who are not so good are receiving appropriate criticism.

The problem with the public school system is that administrators find it easier to stonewall parents then to address the issues surrounding bad teachers.  In the end our children are short changed by leaving poorly motivated teachers in the system.

<<How do you presume to rate teachers?  Do you really have all the needed knowledge to do such a chore?>>

I have extensive experience managing people, both as an employee and as an employer.  I come from a family of teachers.  But even if I did not, I am a taxpayer and all public employees are answerable to their employers, namely the taxpayer.

<<You seem to have some serious unresolved issues to deal with.  Were you picked on by some jock when you were a student?>>

Actually I saw many people who were picked on by jocks when I was a student. But that is only part of the story, in that if any child finishes school lacking basic skills, and we all know that many are graduating in that condition, then allocating resources to sports is a very poor use of limited funds.  Rather those funds should be used to see that those children enter life with basic skills.

<<Your comments tend to make me laugh more than anything else.  Apparently you weren't one of the people in the 60's who decided to go into education to avoid the draft.  Were you one of the people who avoided life by going on drugs.  Cause man, you still 'trippin.'>>

I have never liked the effects of any mind altering substance, including alcohol.  But your acknowledgment that many people used the education profession to avoid the draft is the type of dialog the QSN web site is meant to encourage.  Those teachers are some of the worst offenders and many should be removed from the educational system.

<<I sincerely hope that you lose this case and I pray that your children don't feel the brunt of what you are about to receive in the public back lashing that I guarantee you will receive.>>

Actually, the whole point of the QSN web site is to protect children from being further victimized by poor teachers.  And yes, both my children were victims of such teachers.

Update, case won.

<<They don't deserve this anymore than any teacher or administrator who you happened to disagree with.>>

Something we both agree on.  That the children do not deserve what they are getting.  For that matter, those teachers who are well motivated do not deserve to be straddled with those who are duds.

<<Sincerely,

Tim
(Parent, student, educator, and activist)>>

Tim, isn't it interesting that many people in the teaching profession are so sensitive about the profession being criticized, even when such criticism is justified?

Ronald J. Riley
www.rjriley.com


----- Original Message -----
From: Name removed
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2001 4:29 PM
Subject: (no subject)

    I am a high-performing teacher as my professional portfolio and job performance reviews indicate. I have been teaching 3 years with sterling
reviews. Moreover, I have completed my masters degree. Yet, I earn a paltry $36, 000 a year. I receive no 401K and contrary to popular belief, do not have 3 months off. In fact, if you compare my time off it is relatively equitable to that of a line worker at GM with 10 years experience. That is if
you don't count having to work a summer job, which I do!( see salary) It also doesn't include planning and preparation to open and close the school year. I receive $150 dollars a year for my classroom to "entertain"  30 clients/students. About the amount of one business luncheon--entertaining one client! l buy many of my own professional tools and spend money on neglected children amounting to hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I have no company car, no profit sharing and no Christmas bonus. (Oops, I forgot, I am a public school teacher-- no "winter" bonus. Don't want to upset any zealot parents:) In addition, I receive no tuition reimbursement, yet am required to continue
education. I spend my evenings and weekends grading papers and lesson planning. I also am a sounding board for irrational or irresponsible parents (of which there are many) who wish to shelter their children from natural consequences, personal accountability, and responsibility. I have six years of education in my field, yet parents feel as if they can come into my "office," without an appointment to berate me. I am a professional! One would not feel welcome walking into a doctors office spouting off, cursing, and
belligerently questioning my professionalism, yet they feel perfectly comfortable doing that to a teacher. In addition to the original 3 "R's" I
must also teach Right from wRong. I must be a social worker, a police officer, and a parent. I understand that your saying "you shouldn't be a
parent." I agree! However, Wake up!
    You would be much better off using your obvious over abundance of energy and spare time to lobby for more funding so that quality teachers can be attracted to teaching, not driven away by the inability to support a family and the likes of you!

Oh yeah!---I am $45,000 in debt to student loans!

If you respond to my e-mail please answer the following: 
Do you have a child who has been in trouble in the Lake Fenton School District? I bet you do!  Keep sheltering your child and someday a judge will
take over.

A Voter Comments About "Facts" And About Self Described  High Performing Teacher


Neither of my daughters have been in trouble.  The issue is poor school management and a significant percentage of teachers having a poor attitude.  I see the seeds of such attitude problems in your letter.  Have you considered what will your attitude be like in ten years?

I agree that better pay will attract more and better qualified teachers to the profession.  But we still have the issue of how to weed out the burnouts who are currently entrenched in the educational system.

Ronald J. Riley www.QualitySchoolsNow.org


Who are you to make these judgments?
by bcteach, 1/8/04 22:54 ET
Re: Election reform long overdue by rjriley, 1/8/04

Are you an employee of any public school system? Have you ever stood in a classroom? Have you ever had to make the decision of an administrator? It is so easy to stand on the outside and judge, isn't it?

The above comments are by a self described award winning Clio, MI teacher with a master's degree. 

== Reply ==

Your attitude is widespread and one of the root causes of why public schools are so screwed up. Who am I? Why don't you do a bit of research and find out who I am?

I have taught, but not much. While most of my family are teachers I decided to become an engineer. I launched my first business when I was 19. Throughout my career I have managed hundreds of people from small companies to large.

But even if I did not have all that experience I am a taxpayer and you work for me and every other taxpayer. We have a right, dare I say a duty to hold you and the rest of the staff of public schools accountable.

There are many good teachers in public schools, but there are just as many duds. The high percentage of non-performers and the failure of administration to reign those people in is a serious and long entrenched problem.

The tendency of people in the public school system to have this how dare you attitude, an attitude which gets carried to the point of trying to silence critics with threats of litigation or actual litigation is flat wrong. It was that attitude as displayed by Superintendent Latture which drew my attention to the Clio issues. Latture's threat against a citizen was in my opinion meant to chill people's civil rights to address the issues. If Latture is really worth what she is being paid she should be able to substantiate this in a calm and rational way as opposed to threatening people.

I think there is a serious rot in the Clio system and that the only way it will get fixed is through vigorous and open discussion of the issues. No more transfers of staff and bannings of people from school buildings to suppress their rights should be allowed.

 

 
Teacher comments are in black.
Ronald J. Riley's replies are in blue.

----- Original Message -----

From: Name removed
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 6:56 PM
Subject: Journal Article

Dear Mr. Riley,

<<I am a curious teacher and concerned taxpayer.  On one aspect I would not like a parent displaying a disagreement on the Web.  On the other hand if people were ignoring my concerns then I would want a way to vent my frustrations. >>

I understand your concerns, that the potential to misuse this.

<<The one problem that I have as a teacher is that I try to be up front with parents on my expectations of my students and the parents, yet the parents do not tell me up front what they expect.  I usually do not see my students' parents until Open House and by then it's to late to know what the parent expected.  I am always encouraging parents to sit in with their child or come and visit our school, yet this does not happen until a later date or never. I am happy to hear you are an involved parent.>>

I understand that teachers can not undo the effects of a poor home environment. And I understand that there needs to be communication.  I always go in and meet teachers early in the year, the first week or two.   One of my biggest problems were teachers who refused to communicate.  Generally two out of the six or seven each marking period.  They were often too busy playing jock, or simply lazy.

<<I noticed you had an article on the teacher and brownie leader but did not put the principal's name or board members names on the internet after you
wrote them a letter of your concerns and did not return calls.>>

This is just a matter of available time.  I intend to publish all the letters eventually.

<<Also, if your child is going to receive a grade below a B, how do you want that teacher to notify you?  Every week, 2 weeks, or quarterly?  Where I
teach, we notify parents quarterly.>>

If there is an ongoing problem then I want to be notified weekly by email, fax, or phone.  My experience has been that when the child knows such communication is likely they do not screw up as often.  If things are going well, and it is an occasional grade, then monthly would be acceptable - but weekly better, so that I may review the problem
material with the child in a timely manner.


<<Thank you for sharing your web site.>>

<<A concerned parent and teacher.>>

Frankly, I think most of these problems are a result of poor management, poor administrators.

I genuinely feel sorry for the good teachers who end up getting tarred as a result of their less reputable colleagues.

Thank you for writing such a reasonable and thoughtful letter.  You would not believe some of the rants I receive.  And I am appalled at how poorly some teachers letters are composed.

Ronald J. Riley

A few more thoughts on the issue of close contact between teachers and parents.

After I moved my older daughter to Mott Middle College my daughter finally got the type of math teacher I like.  Mrs. Giffin was cheery and very communicative.  When my daughter failed to hand in some algebra assignments the teacher called me.  I dropped what I was doing and went to the school to sit in on the class with my daughter.  We worked together for that hour to address the missing assignment.  She was not very happy about the great example the teacher and I set for all the children in that class.  She did became much more diligent about handing in assignments to avoid a repeat performance.

I am sorry to say that Mrs. Giffin has retired.  I  thank her for helping correct a problem which was at least in part due to a few dud math teachers at Lake Fenton Torrey Hill middle school.  In my opinion. specifically Mrs. Cowan and Mr. Gillespie.

A happy ending, my daughter brought home an A from her college algebra class the first of this year (2002).  Yes, math is not her best subject, but once a teacher really worked with us to nurture her interest in the subject she did very well.

Ronald J. Riley


----- Original Message -----

From: Name removed
Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2001 5:04 PM
Subject: Good for you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Good for you !!!  Both my husband and I work for a public school, he as a teacher and I am a teacher aide.  Our school is a mess.  I reported a kindergarten teacher for abusing students and my life became a living hell.  The state police and the prosecutor found this teacher to be "inappropriate and offensive to students"  BUT she is still going back to work this fall.  The vice principle ran 4 betting pools out of the high school office last year, until I had him shut down by the police.  I could go on and on.    But I will spare you.  Keep up the great work and I agree with you whole heartedly.
God Bless, Name removed

----- Original Message -----
From: Name removed
Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2001 8:01 AM

I think this website is very informative.  I am a teacher and a parent in different districts than Lake Fenton; I was a parent volunteer before a teacher.  I think some of the frustration I felt as a parent was that the schools were saying they wanted a parent-teacher partnership in education but as a parent I felt powerless and the talk by the schools was just that-talk.  I never felt really a partner and there was this chasm (or divide) between parent and teacher and I even felt like teachers were talking behind my back rather than being honest with me about my concerns and feelings.  In other words, I felt patronized and that they were going to do what they wanted regardless of what the parent thought.  Parents who are "too concerned" are deemed bothersome by most teachers and when I went into the profession I was determined NOT to do that.  I have seen this attitude being on the other side of the educational fence and feel this is one of the biggest challenges: to truly become an environment where all are concerned in unison about the kids.  Unfortunately, you too have been labeled as a troublemaker by some; I think from all I have read that you too are concerned about improvements within the schools.  I would like to see this type of website coming for more schools.


 

 

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