By Jane Hayes
Welcome to the world of the spin doctors of Rockford Public School District 205. According to the dictionary, a “spin doctor” is a person who is responsible for ensuring others interpret an event from a particular point of view.
Now that the district has added former Rockford Register Star reporters Cathy Bayer and Mary Kaull to its fleet of public relations spin doctors, plus the KMK Media firm, you will see more reporting from the administrative point of view, spinning the truth, as they are told it. They already have Earl Dotson glad-handing people to compensate for deficiencies.
Investigative journalists must be reeling on the turntable of propaganda! Thankfully, The Rock River Times is still true to reporting both sides of an issue; otherwise, Rockford news would be truly slanted, the public would be uninformed, and the truth would be gagged.
Public education is seen as the last vestige of democracy; our founders must be spinning in their graves as a result of the unethical and undemocratic occurrences throughout this district. Now, our infamous school board has decided not to allow Alice Saudargas, the only true educator running for school board, to speak at forums or be on the ballot. Her name must be written in on the ballot. The people behind this travesty of justice are the shameful ones, just another spin doctor routine corrupting our district. Good luck, Alice, and know that many of us are aware of this egregious behavior by misguided individuals.
Where is our union? The leadership of the Rockford Education Association (REA) has inadequately supported their beleaguered teachers in a responsible manner. Isn’t their duty to provide fair representation and demand due cause? Why do teachers pay their dues, only to be further victimized and need private legal counsel to fight indignities imposed by the board lawyer and head spin doctor, Lori Hoadley?
According to the editorial March 17 in the Rockford Register Star, REA leaders (spin doctors) would have the community feel that all is well with the teachers they serve. Well, it is NOT! Open Pandora’s box and release the truth so we can address the ills, resolve issues and hope for a far better school system.
The Belvidere Education Association (BEA) has extended a vote of no confidence against the Belvidere High School administration supporting staff unfairly released; their union has also been critical of the subjective evaluation tool used to dismiss these teachers. Perhaps it is the Charlotte Danielson tool used in Rockford, a subjective tool used to unfairly dismiss tenured teachers at the top of the salary scale, who are highly educated and/or have been loyal REA representatives or outspoken in their buildings. Fortunately, the BEA is indeed concerned with the democratic spirit of public education and the unethical treatment of its staff and students and are holding the perpetrators responsible.
Since my last commentary in TRRT in the Feb. 13-19 issue titled “Remove the shades,” I received a dozen calls and e-mails from persecuted teachers defamed by this district and unsupported by their union. We are investigating through Rockford Educators Advocating Civil Treatment (REACT) how to counter injustices done to them.
Beware, district voters, as you go to the polls and vote for future school board and community leaders. Spin doctors don’t treat endemic problems in our community by distorting the truth. Until we do something about them and their misguided tactics, our community will always be at the bottom of any national list.
Those who care about recognizing and dealing with the educational problems in District 205 can join us for the next REACT meeting at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 11, at JustGoods, 201 Seventh St., or can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come, help us find solutions for truly better schools in Rockford!
Jane Hayes is a member of Watchdogs for Ethics in Education and Rockford Educators Advocating Civil Treatment.
From the March 27-April 2, 2013, issue