Monday, August 31, 2009

That's one HOT Potato!

After two with staff and one with students, SuperNintendo Tim Culver asked the board, "What would you like to do now" with regard to the Diversity issue.
It was abundantly clear that Culver was pushing the issue back on the school board with his suggestion that the board needs to create a policy. Oh Great! Just what we need...another policy to not follow. Seriously...what's the point? Or at least, be really, REALLY open ended like, The Sun Prairie Area School District values the importance of accepting diverse ethnicities, cultures, lifestyles, and religious beliefs and maintains a zero tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind.

There ya go! A policy that is less than 30 words and not even John Whalen could find a way to circumvent.

How serious is the board/district about embracing diversity?
As usual, the board and district talk a good game. We do have just two questions that need to be asked, however.

1. How important, in the grand scheme is the diversity issue? If dealing with diversity were REALLY a priority for district administration, why is it that the one critical puzzle piece, hiring a Minority Recruitment Specialist, was tossed from the budget?

From Phil Frei's Budget presentation, 8-12-09
"Other budget considerations

Though desired, did not add:

Human Resources Recruitment Specialist "
NOTE: what the budget presentation failed to say is that this was to be a position focused on recruiting minority candidates.

Oh yeah! That's right. They're trying to save the taxpayers money. Hmmm. The cost of Administration and Administration Support RAISES amounted to over $180,000. We guess their 3.8% "package" raises were more important than giving up some/all of those raises in order that we could add a needed piece to help solve the diversity puzzle. No way, baby! We want our cash! Let the cheap taxpayers pay for a Minority Recruitment Specialist!

2. How are we doing at retaining the minority staff members that we DO have?
Of course,as with everything, this is not information that the district likes to shout about. Tim Culver is quick to read a letter form a district grandmother touting the work of Culver and the district, but what we want to know is this:

We hear, from several sources, that the majority of the handful of teachers whose contracts the district chose not to renew this past spring were minorities. Of course we'll deal with this as "unsubstantiated" until we get FACTS from the district. In the meantime however, should the information prove true, someone should have an all expenses paid trip to the "Splainin' Room". Because--if this is true--the district loses a lot of credibility in its publicly stated mission to increase the diversity of its staff. If we HAVE staff members on board that add to our staff diversity, then there better be a damn good reason why we're cutting the cord on them. In fact, if these teachers, particularly if young, are in need of some assistance, then certainly we pay enough managers to provide them with the tools they need to succeed.