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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 05:53 PM

More like reality than satire. Teacher sues parents, students for loss of her merit pay...

because they did not perform well on the tests.

There are so many truths in this piece of satire. From Students Last

It begins with a shouting match between teacher and parents. The teacher says she deserved the bonus of $5000.

What was the hullabaloo about? Several parents had discovered that they and their children were being sued by fourth grade teacher Sandra Wettfeld. In a legal maneuver widely acknowledged to be the first of its kind, the New Jersey educator filed suit against five of her former students and their families for loss of income. The basis for Wettfeld's lawsuit was explained that afternoon at the law offices of Slaughter & Hem.

Lawrence Slaughter, who specializes in educational law, described Ms. Wettfeld's case, "Basically, we are suing because under the Newark Teachers Union contract, Ms. Wettfeld can earn $5,000 if she is rated as "Highly Effective" which is largely based on her students' test scores. Several of her students did not perform as they should have which resulted in her losing that bonus money. So she's looking to be compensated by those students and their families who failed to live up to expectations."

...Wettfeld explained, "No one teaches to the test better than I do. So I knew I would get some bonus money when the scores came back." She paused to wipe a tear from her eye, "I stayed late, wrote great lessons and offered extra help but I've got students who don't come to school regularly. Students who don't sit still because they're hungry or distracted. Students who don't do their homework or go to bed on time. And those things are not my fault; they're the kids' fault and the parents' fault. Why should I suffer?"

Though not yet named as defendants, Slaughter's law partner May Hem is researching the viability of adding the school district and teachers union to the lawsuit. "Let's face it, we're going after the families because their kids failed the tests but if you want to get justice, you have to go after the clowns who thought this type of compensation was just.


An added touch is what Michelle Rhee's group might have responded to such a lawsuit:

"To paraphrase Arne Duncan's iconic quote about the education opportunities Katrina created, we believe that tying teacher income to student scores was the best thing to happen in Newark schools because strife creates opportunity."

I once had two fourth grade boys refuse to take the FCAT. They sat in the classroom with folded hands. We knew they were going to do it, the parents knew, I knew, the guidance counselor knew. They did it because they did not think the testing was fair.

At that time the zero they were given did not impact my evaluation. Today it would. So glad I am retired, so glad I don't have to take it any more.

To me and others with such experiences the idea of a lawsuit against those equally responsible for taking such a test has a certain devilish appeal.

Crossposted at Twitter

24 replies, 3166 views

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Reply More like reality than satire. Teacher sues parents, students for loss of her merit pay... (Original post)
madfloridian Feb 2013 OP
datasuspect Feb 2013 #1
Angry Dragon Feb 2013 #2
bluestateguy Feb 2013 #3
pennylane100 Feb 2013 #5
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #4
madfloridian Feb 2013 #7
Nuclear Unicorn Feb 2013 #6
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #8
madfloridian Feb 2013 #10
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #11
madrchsod Feb 2013 #13
madfloridian Feb 2013 #16
Nuclear Unicorn Feb 2013 #12
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #14
madfloridian Feb 2013 #17
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #19
Nuclear Unicorn Feb 2013 #18
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #20
madfloridian Feb 2013 #21
Nuclear Unicorn Feb 2013 #23
TheMadMonk Feb 2013 #9
theaocp Feb 2013 #22
renate Feb 2013 #15
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #24

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 05:58 PM

1. The law offices of slaughter and may hem?

 

huh?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 05:58 PM

2. Sue the politicians too for cutting education monies

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:00 PM

3. I have raised a similar issue before

What if you have a teacher who is disliked by the parents and students? Maybe he or she is very strict, or grades very hard and gives a lot of homework, or busted students for cheating and goofing off. Whatever.

Now say that teacher pay is tied to standardized test performance in that state.

Then say the parents all conspire to have their children fail the tests so the teacher gets screwed with the merit pay.

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:12 PM

5. I know there must be some fair way of evaluating teachers

but the fact is that some children do not do well in school because they do not want to learn or are not interested in a particular subject. There is also the consideration that not all children perform that the same level as we are not all born with an equal IQ. How is that factored into the equation. Making the teacher a scapegoat for this is ridiculous. I hope she wins. She sounds like she worked really hard to get them to pass.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:09 PM

4. we would get much further if we didn't war with one another

Teachers and parents need to unite. I appreciate all that you do to bring attention to the problem but dividing teachers and parents only guarantees that we will never win against the ones who created the problem.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:19 PM

7. That is not what this post does. Sorry you don't understand.

This is about painting a picture of the things being done to teachers, and to parents, students as well.

If there is never any time to speak out against, then it hurts all of us.

We waited until after the election, I didn't even come back to DU until then.

Then we waited until after the inauguration.

Parents AND teachers are beginning to realize that this is a fight for the survival of public education.

And no, the let's play nice will get us nowhere now.



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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:16 PM

6. I find myself agreeing

It has to be a holistic effort. Teachers need to be held to account but at the same time if a student refuses to learn and parents refuse to govern their child the school has to be able to remove them. It's not fair to the teachers or the other students that disruptors be allowed -- compelled -- to remain. I bet if the parents had to take time off of work to deal with a child that was expelled and not allowed to walk the streets then maybe they'd take more proactive responsibility.

Many will reply education is a right. Well, so is walking down the street -- until you prove you should forfeit those rights for being a public threat or nuisance.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:20 PM

8. maybe we need more resources for alternative schools

In my opinion no child is a throw away child. If they fail it is because we have all failed them: parents, teachers, administrators, tax payers, politicians, everybody. We cannot give up on them. We simply have to find a way to help them.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:24 PM

10. Teachers are not the ones harming special ed students. That's the reformers mainly.

With their vouchers for unregulated private schools which are given no oversight by most states, with the turnarounds in which public schools are closed and turned into charters.

These schools do less for special ed students. The public schools are equipped and trained for them. Many charter schools admit to counseling out such students, and they are not required to keep them.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:29 PM

11. I agree. It is not the teachers or the parents. It is the people coming up with these policies.

I'm not sure I would agree that the public schools are equipped to deal with special education students. At least not anymore. Lack of funding, crowded classrooms, and bad curriculum in our public schools are hurting our special education students. But again, it is the people coming up with these policies that are to blame, not the teachers or the parents.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:37 PM

13. wisconsin is doing this...

dam i love google. i thought i would`t find it but i did.

http://www.progressive.org/wis_republicans_and_alec_push_vouchers_on_disabled_kids.html

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:06 PM

16. Great find! FL McKay vouchers let just anyone have a school to take in disabled kids.

And to get state money for doing it.

Schools for scandal. Florida's McKay vouchers are a boon for con artists. And no oversight.

A shocking report from Miami New Times examines a number of private schools that are living off taxpayer funds thanks to the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students With Disabilities Program. What the newspaper found isn’t pretty.

The program doles out lots of taxpayer money to religious and other private schools, but it doesn’t provide any significant oversight. As New Times put it, “There is no accreditation requirement for McKay schools. And without curriculum regulations, the DOE can’t yank back its money if students are discovered to be spending their days filling out workbooks, watching B-movies, or frolicking in the park. In one ‘business management’ class, students shook cans for coins on street corners.”

Other abuses the paper uncovered include:

* South Florida Preparatory Christian Academy in Oakland Park: The school’s 200 students moved from one dingy location to another before a fire marshal declared one building “unfit” for use. Some classes were held in public parks. Textbooks were scarce, and the music teacher noted that there were no instruments in the school.

* Hope Academy in Homestead: Three staff members were found to have criminal records, two for drug offenses. A woman is suing the school, saying officials did nothing after her disabled daughter was molested by a classmate.


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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:35 PM

12. As Lover Boy says (albeit crudely)

"You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think."

Yeah, he's like that but I still love the big lug.

And I agree with you. The soul aches to do everything humanly possible to give a child the best chance. They are, after all, children. They are morally innocent and wholly dependent upon us to nurture and teach. A vast majority of that I lay at the feet of the parents. Too many neglect their children and school is nothing more than subsidized day care to them. Any solution has to start at home and then the community. We could have the sparkliest schools with the newest books and the best trained teachers but until the family and community can convince the child "this is the best thing that will ever happen for you" it won't mean anything.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #12)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:44 PM

14. That's just it just as we as a society have failed kids we as a society have failed parents

Who do you think these failed kids turn into? Failed parents. It is a viscous cycle. They all need help not blame.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #14)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:08 PM

17. Yes, parents need help often. Resources are available in public schools...

with trained teachers. The reformers are NOT worried about providing those resources.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:17 PM

19. I'm sorry I'm all for public education and I am completely against the reformers but

due to lack of funding the public schools do not have the proper resources they need to help students or parents. The reformers are bad and have to be stopped but the truth is because of lack of funding the public school system has been struggling for decades. the drop out rate has been horrible for a very long time. That is why the reformers were able to take over. The solution is for policy makers who truly care about the public school system to find solutions to properly fund and find proper ways to evaluate student and teacher performance and to help struggling students and their parents. Unfortunately we don't have any leaders right now that fit that bill. But if enough of us raise a big enough stink then a leader is bound to emerge eventually.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #14)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:13 PM

18. It also takes responsibility

You can't say "Society needs to help them" without acknowledging they are society.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:18 PM

20. wow am I on a democrat website or a freeper website

I'm hearing a lot of blame the poor when it comes to education. Yes, of course it takes responsibility. Many parents do want to help their children. They just don't know how or are working two jobs to pay the rent. I live in an aflluent area where most parents are well educated, have good jobs, get off work at 5 pm and help their kids with their homework. Can the same be said for poor parents? Is it because they don't want to or because of their economic status? Maybe a few of them don't want to but the vast majority do want to and just can't.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:21 PM

21. You are hearing wrong. We have been this route before.

No one is blaming poor parents. Where are you getting this?

I think I made a clear point in this post that education is a shared responsibility.



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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:46 PM

23. Who said anything about blame?

No one used that term but you.

Many parents do want to help their children. They just don't know how or are working two jobs to pay the rent.


No one has said or implied otherwise. My comments are directed at those who have no interest in being good parents or good students. Holding good people up as a shield for the bad serves no one -- especially the good. Like it or not -- admit it or not -- they are out there and they have to be held to account for their actions.

There are many levels of intervention: good parenting, solid communities, shared values, trained educators, viable schools, social safety nets. Then there is also the occassional Come-to-Jesus moment, if the euphemism will be permitted, some people acquire after being confronted by life's consequences. But if every resource has been spent and every sincere effort exhausted, then what?

Sometimes I feel like progressives are too quick to blame everyone except the person who wants to be what they are. Where is the dignity in that? How punishing to the innocent and how insulting to the idea of free will. Those are the only people I'm addressing.

The single mom working 2 jobs isn't to blame -- she's a frickin' hero and a role model (too bad dad won't step-up and be a hero too) and she's probably riding herd on her kids to make a better life for themselves and avoid her circumstances. But I wasn't talking about her and she shouldn't be used to shield those who earn their critcisms.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:21 PM

9. This is NOT THE ONION? Show her the door. NOW! /nt

 

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Response to TheMadMonk (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:42 PM

22. It's not the Onion, but

it is satire. JFYI.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 06:49 PM

15. I think she has a good point--this wasn't her fault

I'm not entirely sure about the usefulness of suing students who don't want to learn or parents who can't or won't support her efforts. You can't legislate people's attitudes. And there's really no justification for suing parents who are working two jobs, are homeless, who don't speak English, or are sick... or for suing children who might not score well on a standardized test even if they tried.

But I think the last paragraph is interesting, about suing the school district or the teachers' union. I assume that the testing is the NCLB bullpoo that everybody but politicians hate, but the idea of tying compensation to students' scores may well have come from the school district or the union... which surprises me. I wouldn't have thought the teachers would go for anything like tying compensation to students' performance, for reasons so obvious that there's no point in going into them.

I feel bad for her in all kinds of ways. It probably really frustrates her that she has to teach to the test at all, and then to lose money because of factors out of her control would just suck any joy out of teaching that she might ever have felt.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:18 PM

24. K&R

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