Titanic Deck Chairs: Arranging for a Better GPS

When Westie is Interim Superintendent during the 85 days between when Dr. Keegan leaves and Dr. Kishimoto arrives, GPS will celebrate the great advances that will allow non-GOB administrators to create a brand-new culture within the district. We’ll stop systemic abuses and focus on the GPS mission: educating students.

When Westie is Interim Superintendent, Gilbert Public Schools Human Resources will be reorganized. The mission of the district is educating children; since HR isn’t a mission-related department, it must be relegated to support status. Same for other non-mission essential functions: the mission of educating students must have priority over all else. Money spent boon-doggling does not accomplish the GPS mission.

There’s no need for HR to have so many highly paid supervisors, either. Reorganizing HR will get Good Old Boys out of the business of rewarding their GOB pals with promotions and “special duties” for which a chosen few are paid more money. [But for what? Inquiring minds want to know.]

The other department that has had too many opportunities to reward GOBs is Professional Development, which has a highly paid supervisor in a support department, just like HR.  If GOBs are not rewarding themselves and their friends with swanky conference swag paid with taxpayer money, maybe GPS will find some of that cash that’s floating around to keep nurses and librarians employed. Westie for Interim Superintendent!

Problems in Professional Development are not just the lack of vision and creative processes. No, it’s that the department has been co-opted into creating a monster software program that does the dirty work for a GOB admin intent on dirty deeds. With the pay scale frozen for so many years, there’s no way for teachers and other employees who participate in PD programs to progress up the salary scale, or “the grid,” as some call it. Some teachers have fulfilled every single PD opportunity, yet they’re still held to an artificial component of the evaluation system that requires more PD to be rated at the highest level.

What Tooty Andrew and his pals are missing is a chance to truly collaborate with people other than their GOB pals and posses to unleash some super talents within GPS. Give teachers PD credit for what they do to share knowledge and skills with their colleagues! Of course, the problem with an initiative like that is Tooty Andrew might lose control or be unmasked as …. well, whatever.

As shown by the success of Teachers Pay Teachers online, people who go into teaching are motivated to share with colleagues as much as they are drawn to helping their students succeed. Making a little pocket money is a survival skill in the economy today, especially when it comes to teacher pay. Teachers who have an opportunity to follow their own stars and find resources for success on their own terms will be much happier and effective than those who are inflicted with top-down systems. GPS used to be a better place to be as a teacher, student and parent. What the GOBs have done to instill fear and trepidation in teachers is unconscionable.

Technology Services Department is on Westie’s list, but not for what you might expect. Tech Services needs to released from the shackles of having incompetent educators making decisions for the techies. Otherwise you get scandals like Barb VeNard arranging for “family friends” to be paid consultants to GPS for multi-million dollar hardware and software investments. You get committees made up of Good Old Boys and their posses going on boondoggles to “inspect” potential vendors and their wares. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Technology Services needs to be released from self-serving legal advice intended to protect administrators who want to destroy records of their decisions and actions while in their GPS positions of leadership. How else can you explain that admins directed subordinates to delete “conversational” emails? Think about how amorphous “conversational” is — it can be anything a GPS admin wants it to be! Like discussing illegal discrimination against a teacher or support staffer. Principals would like for you to believe “conversational” means what they email to and from their brothers-in-law, but come on, why would anyone use GPS email to communicate with their brother-in-law?  Hinky!!

Policies and practices on this amateur level resulted in GPS not having any back-up system for years … just in case a member of the public requested emails through a a public records request. The GOBs were more concerned about hiding their activities. With such loose zippers, we can only imagine what really was in those destroyed emails! Inquiring minds want to know if anyone will ever be held accountable for the wrongdoing and record destruction unleashed by the Allison Ascendency.

Not having a back up system may have been expected to give GOBs the ability to conceal inappropriate and possibly illegal destruction of electronically stored files. Or so GOBs thought. Time and again, we’ve seen reports in the media about government officials trying to wipe clean a server or laptop or smart phone to conceal activities, like Scott Bloch. Fortunately for GPS, the new board forced admins to begin backing up email records, but the horse was already out of the barn. Many citizens now are giddy with excitement about reading emails between members of the Loose Zipper Brigade. Let the FOIA requests begin!

While Westie is Interim Superintendent, GPS will focus on the mission above all else: student learning. Westie will showcase excellent communication with all stakeholders in GPS. Westie for Interim Superintendent!

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