Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small,
At the April 13 meeting of the RCSD’s Board of Education <https://youtu.be/cFlJ6f5XKLc>, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Kathleen Black falsely alleged that half of all RCSD’s teachers do not prepare lesson plans, do not have high expectations for students, and do not teach effectively. She presented no evidence to support her outrageous allegations. Yet, only two school board members called her out on any of this: Board Vice-President Beatriz LeBron who said “I have never entered a classroom and not seen the lesson posted”; and Board member Amy Maloy who said, “I would caution how we speak about those who teach our kids.” It’s very telling that all others on the dais either echoed Kathleen Black’s offensive and hateful remarks or remained silent – including you. Your silence continued even after Board President Cynthia Elliott said that something has to be done about all these (and I’m quoting her now) “p*ss poor teachers.” She also blamed teachers for the increase in crimes on our streets.
We’ve been waiting patiently for you, as our Superintendent, to say something about this unwarranted offensive and hateful bashing of teachers. The modeling of disrespect for teachers by the president of the school board and the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, if unchecked, will surely send a message to our students that it is ok for them to also disrespect teachers. Your silence, then and now, sends the message to teachers that they cannot count on you to have the courage to stand up for truth and decency. No wonder teachers feel unsupported, demoralized, and unfairly blamed. And no wonder they are leaving the RCSD in droves.
Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Before you send the predictable message to teachers about how much you and the school board appreciate and value them, please remember that empty rhetoric is no substitute for courageous leadership.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President