NCLB In Your Face
Here's the WAY NCLB Works to Destroy Teacher Professionalism
We are writing to you on behalf of our dear friend, Jonnie Guernsey. Many of you also know Jonnie, and know what a wonderful teacher she is. Jonnie has been teaching in Milwaukee Public Schools for 24 years. Much of that time she spent teaching children with hearing impairments. Recently she took Montessori training, and is now in her third year of teaching elementary students at Craig Montessori School in MPS. But last week, all of that was suddenly and unexpectedly threatened. Jonnie received notice from MPS that, due to the restrictions of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, her employment with MPS would have to be terminated. Jonnie is licensed to teach K-12 deaf students and has a Montessori certificate. When she began her Montessori training, she was assured by MPS that her K-12 deaf license would allow her to teach on the elementary level at a Montessori school. But a new interpretation of the No Child Left Behind Act determines that since Jonnie is not specifically licensed for elementary teaching, she cannot be employed in that capacity by MPS.
In order for Jonnie to keep her job and continue to serve her students, she must apply for an emergency license, take courses (some of which she has taught to other teachers) that will cost her $4000, apply for more licenses (all of these license applications will mount into the hundreds of dollars in fees), and then be "mentored" for five years to qualify as an elementary school teacher. Jonnie's principal is doing everything he can to find ways to help Jonnie get through this challenge to her career. He knows what a gem he has in Jonnie, and the last thing he wants to do is to lose her due to a bureaucratic mandate made by people a thousand miles away who have no idea of what they are doing to our community.
Jonnie's teaching skills are above and beyond what every parent hopes for. She cares deeply about each and every one of her students, and leads an interesting, challenging, and involving classroom. Parents who know Jonnie or have heard about her from other parents tumble over themselves to get their students into her classroom. Jonnie's principal recognizes Jonnie's special teaching gifts, and trusts her with not only regular students, but also with students who have special learning needs. By terminating Jonnie's employment with MPS, there will in fact be 28 children "left behind"...the students in her classroom who will have to lose their much-loved teacher and finish out the school year (which has barely begun) with a string of less-qualified substitute teachers.
If you are as outraged by this injustice as we are, we ask you to contact the people below and express your opinion. Because of her deep commitment to teaching and her students, Jonnie will bite the bullet and jump through all of the (expensive) hoops set before her. But she shouldn't have to. Please, help us to find some justice, both for Jonnie Guernsey, and for her students.
Jym Mooney & Carol Lee Hopkins
We suggest that you contact:
Senator Russ Feingold
Milwaukee office: 414-276-7282
Elizabeth Burmaster, State Superintendent, Dept. of Public Instruction
Your Milwaukee School Board member (check the website http://www2.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/governance/index.html to find the name of your district representative)
Mayor Tom Barrett
INDEX OF NCLB IN YOUR FACE