I was very angered by the article written by Gretchen Cochran in last week’s City Pulse (Will it take Superman to Fix Lansing’s Schools?). I am a teacher in the Lansing school district and, unlike some of the administrators and board members, I live in the city of Lansing. There is not a teacher in the Lansing School District who does not want our schools to do better and our students to achieve more. Teachers spend countless hours voluntarily developing School Improvement Plans, sitting on subject matter steering committees, and attending professional development workshops. Unfortunately some of our students’ problems are bigger than the Lansing School District-they are societal problems.
These include poverty, lack of parental involvement (as noted in the article), and an anti-intellectual mindset.
Additionally, this article had inaccuracies regarding our contract and our union. The article had a very anti-union bias. Yes, President Jerry Swartz of our local union was quoted but not nearly as extensively as Dr. Zhao and Dr. Wallace. It was stated that, “…neither board members nor administrators can enter a classroom spontaneously to observe a teacher at work…”. This is a false statement. I have been a union representative for six years and I‘m familiar with our contract. At all four schools I’ve taught in, my administrator has walked into my classroom and observed me teaching. I have also been formally evaluated six times in twelve years of teaching. The article also misrepresents the early retirement incentives. In fact, because of the early retirement incentive younger teachers were able to stay employed by the Lansing School District.
With this lack of understanding and inaccuracies I now question the veracity of all City Pulses articles. This newspaper was my source of information in mid-Michigan. It seems as though I will have to find an alternative to the alternative.
— Christine Baczynskyj, Lansing