To the Editor: No numbers to back up Sheffield’s claims

To hear District 205 Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield speak, you would think the school system was drowning in a virtual tsunami of certification violations within the teaching ranks. Actually, she used the word “tons” on the final segment of WREX’s profile of her first year in office. Well, I got tired of never hearing hard numbers or detailed information to back up these pronouncements. So I did some digging.

I contacted Dr. Richard Fairgrieves, superintendent of the Regional Office of Education. His office is the repository for all teaching certificates in the Rockford school system. He told me that the chances of classroom teachers working outside their areas of certification was practically zero. So where did these “tons” of violations come from?

The answer is from nowhere. They were merely a smokescreen used to justify the laying off of some 500 teachers, the opening salvo of an assault on the teaching contract.

I invite the administration to provide in print verifiable evidence of these violations. Give us the numbers for elementary, middle and high schools. Give us the numbers for bilingual and specialist staff members. I won’t hold my breath waiting for this information.

By the way, a question has been raised about whether Chief Financial Officer Cedric Lewis has all of the certification required to serve as CFO. If he does, fine. If he doesn’t, why is he employed?

Roger Oehlke


From the June 9-15, 2010 issue

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