Guest Column: Rockford schools: Revisiting Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’

By Roger Oehlke

There may be some real future value in the Readiness Rocks program being touted in District 205. It certainly has impressed the “movers and shakers” in the community. But there may be some unpleasant underpinnings beneath this noble goal. I refer to actions and policies carried out by the downtown staff.

Why has one high-ranking administrator recently hired the wife of a friend to head the Roosevelt program? This individual has limited experience. Is this part of the good ol’ boy network so prevalent on Seventh Street, or is there something else behind it?

Why did another upper-echelon downtowner bring her daughter from her classroom position to a position in administration of District 205 just prior to the Rockford Education Association (teachers’ union) strike? What qualifications did she hold that made this transition so vital?

Why did another department head answer a phone call directed to her private business from her District 205 office? Sounds like some kind of ethics violation to me. Say it isn’t so!

Why were two vocal opponents of the Ombudsman program removed from the Education Committee? I had hoped that vindictive responses to opposing viewpoints had disappeared with the last superintendent.

Why do the legal eagles continually place classroom staff on administrative leave as a first step in getting them fired? Why aren’t they offered remediation? Some of these teachers have been threatened with criminal prosecution to coerce them into resigning.

Back to the opening reference to Shakespeare … there is a line from the aforementioned play that I will paraphrase: There is something rotten in the State of 205.

Roger Oehlke is a Rockford resident.

From the Aug. 8-14, 2012, issue

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