Thursday, February 14, 2008

Left: Taken at the Women's March for Choice, at which we had a million march to protect women's right to abortion. To the right is my husband of 51 years at the wedding of a young woman in San Diego who was our first baby born in the old Tampa NOW after we formed it. She grew up to be a gynecologist who must dodge the anti-choice crazies, which is why I don't give her name. lee

At last somebody who will let me use his name pops up. I met this young man at the teacher protests at the board against the extra period that Elia downloaded on the teachers without warning.

My belief is that it is liberating to attach your name to what you say and what you do. In reputation lies safety is my view. And people like Elia and her hangers on, which include the board, will never crumple to dust unless we fight and fight in the open. Hats off to Bruce. lee

It was nice to see your e-mail, and to know that you are still fighting for our students. Teacher morale is lower than I can remember in my 23 years of teaching, and many great educators have quit the system rather than put up with the exploitation. It seems the only hope we have is to change the board, for our superintendent gets little resistance from the present group. Some well placed reporting on the issues raised in your note would help shake things up a bit. I will be more than happy to discuss the issues with any interested reporters. Keep in touch. Bruce

By the way, I was punished severely for speaking out. I lost my dual enrollment classes and was given regular level world history to teach. I taught honors level for 16 years, but those classes were given to first and second year teachers who were more cooperative with our administration. Many others were punished as well. It has been a rough year, but we will get through it with our dignity intact. Since the arrival of our present APC dual enrollment has shrunk to one class of Freshman English, whereas we used to have classes in science, social studies, math and English. We do have ten sections of AP Human Geography, though, for ninth graders. Remember, Ms. Elia's bonus money in part comes from the numbers enrolled in AP, not how many actually pass the test. Yes I teach history. I have been at Armwood for 23 years and until the present APC arrived was considered one of the better teachers here. I still am with the faculty and students, which in the long run is all that matters. The retaliation was for speaking out against the 6/7 day. Our administration even went so far as to tell faculty members in their evaluation session to stay away from those teachers who are "cancerous to their careers". James Goeb was chosen Teacher of the Year this year, which must have been a slap in the face to the administration, for he was the most vocal opponent of 6/7.

I hoped the principals were not involved in Elia's dirty business, but apparently they are. I guess they know that they will lose their jobs if they don't play along. But wouldn't it be wonderful if just one of them stood up and said, "No, I will not punish my teachers for using their Constitutional right to free speech. We can't have a democracy unless we have free speech."

I'd like to slap those young first- and second-year teachers silly for participating in the punishment of older colleagues by taking the jobs that the principals and department heads removed from teachers such as Bruce for protesting the extra class. They are ingrateful, short-sighted little twits. lee

Use my note as you wish, just keep it honest. I don't fear any further retaliation. I am a Vietnam Veteran so what else can they do to me? I speak and perform as a highly professional educator, so if the powers that be have a problem with me then their own professionalism is in question. Keep fighting for our children. Bruce


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