Before I became a Special Education teacher, I spent a decade or so as a Systems Engineer. I even got training in solving organizational problems using a method called Theory of Constraints.
This last Sunday I used my training in Theory of Constraints to analyze several recent conflicts in the District. I was looking for commonalities that might inform me regarding the current contract negotiations conflict.
Here’s what I determined via the analysis:
High level decisions must be made by the Superintendent, such as teacher selection, teacher discipline, and fair resource distribution. The expectation is that the decisions will be fair and equitable. The expectation is that the superintendent’s decisions will be legal, impartial, and agenda-free. Those decisions should be unbiased, fair, without malice, and consistent. In a nutshell, those decisions need to be trustworthy or worthy of trust.
The common, underlying conflict beneath the three scenarios I examined was this: the current superintendent's decisions are not always trustworthy. They were less than impartial, not always legal, sometimes biased and sometimes unfair. The decisions were only reversed after they were persistently challenged by a teacher or a group of parents. The decisions were only changed when a judge, the law, or a vocal group of parents forced the change.
How can this generalized analysis assist in the current conflicts including the current contract negotiations?
We cannot sit idly by and trust what the superintendent says. She has demonstrated repeatedly that she does not deserve that trust. Perhaps some combination of inexperience and lack of expertise may have hampered her, but she is also hampered by apparent personal ambition, a drive to win-at-any-cost, and a leadership style that is not inspirational, but confrontational.
Her behaviors in contract negotiations are simply another instance of her dysfunctional leadership.
Dr. Howell has retreated from erroneous positions only when others stand up to her, present the facts, and allow impartial arbitrators review those facts. The contract negotiations are heading into fact finding. Perhaps the truth will come out, and she will retreat.
My message is this: we have got to stop trusting Dr. Howell, especially in the area of personnel issues. The contract is ultimately a personnel issue. We need to question her, double-check her facts and logic. We cannot afford passive acceptance of her half-truths.
The scenarios I examined demonstrate that Dr. Howell is untrustworthy. She is unyielding in her decisions until a higher authority censures her. Her inexperience and lack of knowledge might be forgivable if it were mixed appropriately with honesty, forthrightness, and humility, but it is not.
We must become vigilant and vocal, so that we can override the erroneous recommendations and decisions that are being made by the current superintendent.
I am here tonight to raise my voice against the erroneous recommendations that the superintendent is bull-headedly offering as a pretense for negotiating a fair contract.
I see a pattern of misinformation and abuse: do you?
Thank you for listening.
(Thank you for reading!)