By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
I never cease to be amazed at today’s goofball superintendents and principals of schools. I recently saw on Facebook that a senseless principal told a child with Downs Syndrome that he could not wear the letter jacket that his mother had made him for participating on one of the non-varsity teams at the school. He was so proud of his homemade letter jacket, but this principal, who apparently doesn’t have enough sense to pour piss out of a boot, told him that he could not wear it because he was not a member of a varsity team at the school. Should this principal be taken out and horse-whipped? Would that do him any good?
A few years back, we picketed a principal at A. Phillip Randolph Elementary School in Fulton County because he apparently recommended his Teacher of the Year for the non-renewal of his teaching contract. People were very upset. How can a principal be without principles so much that he or she would recommend the non-renewal of the Teacher of the Year? Did this teacher make the principal nervous? Was this teacher reluctant to kiss administrative ass? How can this happen?
Now the word is in that the Superintendent of Schools in McDuffie County, the home of perhaps Georgia’s most famed racist of the past, U. S. Senator Tom Watson, is in the throes of either recommending to the school board the termination or non-renewal of the contract of the popular STAR Teacher at Thomson High School. We write about such silliness and pettiness and petulance in our book, The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What is Wrong with American Public Education (Big Daddy Publishers, LLC, 2014, 615 pages). These kinds of actions take place all over the country these days mainly because non-leaders are put into positions of “leadership.”
Mychele Rhodes, Superintendent Clown of McDuffie County
Today, the people who are often put into leadership roles are really tight-ass and controlling bureaucrats. In the old days, many of the coaches were promoted up the leadership/administrative ladder. And, quite frankly, it most of the times worked out well. They were firm on student discipline, supported the teachers when it came to discipline, and they didn’t snoopervise the teachers, thinking that they had all of the answers. They certainly didn’t worry about such non-sense as “teaching rubrics.” These crazy “rubrics” are insulting. To put creative teachers on a “rubrics” mandate is like putting them on training wheels. These older principals certainly didn’t worry about such nonsense as forcing good teachers to act like robots, telling them how to teach and threatening their jobs for simply being creative in teaching their students. Professionals don’t need training wheels.
Teachers need to freed up to be creative. Freed up to teach. Stifling and suffocating them in straightjackets is ridiculous. Making them use cookie-cutter methods is unconscionable. It’s like a coach who has never played basketball telling a Michael Jordan or a Larry Bird or a Pete Maravich what to do with the round ball each time they get their hands on it. Teachers are professionals who should be respected and allowed to use their professional knowledge, judgment, and wisdom with the students who are in their care. They don’t briefcase-toting, tight-ass bureaucrats telling them each move to make. They need these educrats and snoopervisors to get the heck out of their classrooms and let them teach.
Now back to the STAR Teacher in McDuffie County: We hear that he was verbally bullied and berated in a meeting today for about two hours. Apparently, Superintendent Mychele Rhodes told him that she didn’t think that he should be allowed to teach in McDuffie County anymore. I am thinking that the situation may go beyond just teaching the “rubrics” and other such silliness. I think that the administration may be upset that the STAR Teacher is openly and vocally a Christian believer and that he has talked to the administration at Thomson High about the terrible disciplinary conditions which apparently exist at the school. The administrators these days don’t want to hear about this. They prefer to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to discipline. Also, it often appears to be “open season” on vocal Christians in public schools these days, both the students who want to bring their Bibles to schools or teachers who want to share their faith outside the classroom. If, however, this teacher were Muslim, perhaps the administration would handle him with kid gloves and make special arrangements for pork not to be served at all in the cafeteria.
For several years, from what I hear, this school system has been hemorrhaging top teachers, including multiple Teachers of the Year and other STAR Teachers, some of whom are moving to safer or better schools and others of whom are leaving the profession entirely. What is going on in McDuffie County that is causing these successful and award-winning teachers to leave the system?
This superintendent-clown in McDuffie County seems to want to snoopervise the STAR Teacher for no substantive reason. Is this done in other school systems? She is apparently saying that she is concerned about this popular teacher’s “rubrics” and the number of his writing assignments. What?! She needs to worry about abiding by the Georgia Statute (O. C. G. A. 20-2-940[g]) that does not allow a Georgia superintendent to suspend a teacher from the classroom for more than ten days – and certainly not without the teacher being granted all of his substantive due process rights and having any “charge[s]” given to him by the seventh day. This superintendent, who is the Executive Secretary of the elected McDuffie County Board of Education, has left this school board in a breach of the law. This school board, via its appointed superintendent, has egregiously and flagrantly violated this Georgia Statute. No excuse whatsoever. Yes, she needs to worry about abiding by the law, not about pettiness. This STAR Teacher has been left dangling in the wind, with his reputation being besmirched because he first of all was apparently just sent home without any explanation of any “charge[s].” Not until after three weeks was he brought in and told about his “rubrics” and other such silliness. His reputation could not help but be ruined by such sloppy and sinister and nefarious actions of the Superintendent’s Office of McDuffie County. Rhodes Must Go! She either does not know the Georgia Law or does not give a rat’s behind about it. Mr. Norreese Haynes and I went to McDuffie County a couple of weeks ago and informed the administration there about the law. It apparently went over like water off a duck’s back. Next time, we will bring a crew and hit the sidewalks. I wonder if the good People of McDuffie County respect the Supreme Court’s holdings about Category One Free Speech fora? Parks and sidewalks. Ole Tom Watson might not have respected the humanity of all of God’s creation in older times, but I think that a new day has dawned in McDuffie County and the good People of McDuffie County will not put up with shabby treatment when they are informed about it. The way this STAR Teacher has been treated in McDuffie County could make some people draw the conclusion that he had robbed the McDuffie County Regions Bank. He has still to this day been kept in a “Teacher’s Gulag” or a metaphorical “penalty box.” What has been his “crime”? Caring for the kids and teaching creatively? Good grief. Rhodes Must Go!
This STAR Teacher is not a one-year wonder. He is no fluke. He was chosen by the students and parents of McDuffie County as the WalMart Teacher of the Year in both 2006 and 2009. (This Teacher of the Year program has apparently been discontinued. Otherwise, he may have won this award several more times.) This is in a county of perhaps 250 t0 300 teachers. He has also been named an “Honor Educator” twice in the last five years. Only students who graduate with distinction are given the opportunity to choose one teacher who has most impacted them. This year marks the second time this teacher has received this honor. “STAR Teacher,” “Teacher of the Year,” and “Honor Educator” and yet Mychele Rhodes is apparently trying to can him. So, does she not want superb teachers positively impacting on the children of McDuffie County? Or, is this superintendent clown all about control? What is it?
MACE has gotten in late on this case in McDuffie County but is monitoring it closely. I think that I will recommend Mychele Rhodes to the august body of the Superintendent Clowns of America. Yes, this I will do. And I think that I have some pull with that group. This superintendent clown in McDuffie County appears to be out of control. © GTSO, 2015.