Sunday, September 23, 2012

Readers Write - Business Ed. Over Diversity Hire

<> wrote:

I see your point in saying that the district said there was no new funds to hire a "diversity specialist" and went to create a new position for a retired person for a job they did as a teacher. It baffles me too. However, without a dedicated person connecting the business and industry with education, it would not happen. Businesses have better things to do than chase public education to see what is happening and connect with a disconnected organization. Expecting a teacher with a full teaching load (which Ms. Everson DID NOT have when she was performing that job) would result in a lesser partnership. Was it right to hire back Ms. Everson and not pass on the duties to someone new? That is a good question and one worth chasing for an answer. To say the partnership is not needed will disconnect the schools from careers even more so than they are now.

We agree on some of your points.

We DO need someone who can work with the businesses...and perhaps it should be a dedicated role.  We just are not overly fond of pulling back a double dipper to fill a role that perhaps could have been filled with an individual in need of a job, and who could provide the district with valuable diversity recruiting strength.  And why are we bringing back a double dipper as an FTE with benefits???  We could have saved over $20K by offering the position as a LTE role. This economy requires us to put people to work...not putting cushy-pensioned retirees BACK to work.  

And where is the cross-training here?  Shouldn't we have been having Ms. Everson mentor someone to assume that role upon her retirement?  Perhaps someone whose salary is not a burden for the district.

At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves what is most critical: diversity recruitment or business-education liaison.  The diversity of SPASD students only continues to rise, yet we are not as fortunate in attracting qualified diverse candidates.

We also need to do our part to create jobs to keep the economy moving forward.  Hiring a bunch of double-dippers to serve as RTI tutors and fill the Business-Ed role did not create a single new job.  It just allowed retirees to cash their plush pension check (or even pout it off a bit) while still getting a regular check at a decent salary.  Could we really not find any young, energized, unemployed teachers who could assist with RTI efforts?  It's the ultimate "try before you buy" scenario.  If they work out, then they may be great candidates for future job openings.

Perhaps overly optimistic, but we believe we could have shared the wealth and come up with solutions to both our needs.  The Everson re-hire was clearly a stick of political dynamite that everyone shied away from.   Sadly, we should be able to expect better from our commander-in-chief.