A Very Bartlett Afternoon

A tip o' the hat to the Bartlett Club, one of the few organizations (of any stripe) that appears to be interested in hosting any kind of discussion among School Board candidates.

Starr Marsett, also running for Seat B, raised concerns about whether ASD is addressing the needs of the disabled. As an attorney I have been standing up for the rights of exceptional and other students for many years. In 2001 I shut down the program by which ASD avoided hiring qualified teachers and have continued to challenge ASD claims that highly qualified teachers are not available. While we constantly hear people talk about teacher accountability, a more important problem is administrative accountability. We need someone on the Board who can get the full story on the table. Frankly, after being told by the Superintendent that her staff would cooperate in providing information to Candidates, I was not surprised when her staff shined candidates on. It is high time that changed.

Speaking of accountability, Starr also forcefully supports merit pay. While it may appear to be a very appealing idea, it is simply unworkable. The State's attempt at this is on the rocks and there are so many variables and issues to address that it soon becomes obvious to anyone who has tried to work through the problems that there is no hope that a merit plan could be implemented. Another State initiative along the same lines was dropped just recently, video review of teacher performance. Part of the reason for this being abandoned may have been the fact that teachers "highly regarded" by administrators were graded as unacceptable under the rubic during trials. Oh dear!

Jeannie Mackie was also there, speaking about visiting schools to see how things are over the last weeks. While Jeannie is well-intentioned (and apparently not the only woman in the race to appear to move to the political left of their husbands) and I am sure will eventually become a strong advocate for our District, she is not prepared to serve. She has never been through the ASD budget, never faced having to recommend budget cuts, never spent time teaching in ASD classrooms, and is privy to a socio-economic life that is foreign to most. One of the attendees noted that it would be nice to have someone on the Board who has worked in multiple schools; and having spent time as a teacher in elementary, middle and high school classrooms I couldn't agree more.

This communication was paid for by Marc Grober, 5610 Radcliff Dr. Anchorage, AK 99504