Monday, November 9, 2015

We're sort of ready for our close-up.

Another post from my time in public school - it's like I'm walking down memory lane, and I suddenly get trapped in the bushes.  So I'd like you to experience that feeling with me.

My school is in trouble with the law and the state.  Again. 

It’s not just the school; the entire district is under investigation.  Seniors across the district were put into certain classes and told that they would count as credit towards graduation. For example, students who failed AP level classes were told that because it was AP, failing it still meant passing at the regular level.  Where they got this idea, no one knows.  Unfortunately, the counselors were either lying or being lied to, because hundreds of seniors are now being told that they don’t have enough credits to graduate.  Letters are going out saying that students can graduate at the end of the summer if they attend summer school.  The front office is swamped with angry parents who want an explanation.

Several of the top brass in the district got canned as a result, and supposedly the district is just getting started cleaning house.  The state sent auditors to all the high schools, including ours.  The auditors are poring over the records or screaming about the fact that there are no records to look at. 

One of the local news stations is camped outside our school to report on the crisis.  The principal, who is sick of having a news crew out in front of the building each month and who is calling the crisis a “witch hunt,” told the reporter and camera operator to stay off the school grounds.  The crew parked the truck across the street.  It warms my heart to see the news crew; they’re like old friends of ours now.  I’d like to stroll past, wave and yell out, “Hey Paul!” to the camera operator.  Here’s hoping his name is actually Paul.

We’re always operating in crisis mode at CISD.  If it’s not a state investigation, it’s fights that lead to criminal charges, or criminal charges against teachers, or something else that the district blew off and is frantically trying to rectify.  A few minutes ago I got an email from one of our assistant principals, saying that my teaching certificate is set to expire this year and that it was urgent that I send the new certificate to an HR person immediately.  We get a lot of urgent emails like this.  One would think that the administration is wetting its pants in a panic all the time.  No wonder all the teachers avoid the main office.  

What’s weird is that my certificate doesn’t expire for another couple of years, so I pointed that out in my return email.  Maybe HR hasn’t been checking on teacher certification, and the state is about to shut us down for having unlicensed teachers.  That would explain why the email went out on a Friday evening, ordering us to send copies of our certificates right away.  Or someone’s email got hacked, maybe?  I’m hoping it’s the latter, but honestly, I don’t care either way.  I deleted the email, because this isn’t my problem, CISD.  I got my certification from Texas Occupations In Learning (TOIL) program fair and square.

Just once I’d like NOT to get emails like this, or to get an email that says, “Everything’s fine.  Just stay the course.”  Granted, that would be a waste of time to send and read, but still, one can’t live in a state of perpetual crisis.  Or shouldn’t.  But if CISD employs you, you do.   And if you work for CISD, you get used to making sure that you look good on camera for Paul.  I always turn to the side and suck in my stomach, because I hear the camera adds ten pounds.