Continuing Persecution of Highly Effective Teachers
On Tuesday night, our school board plans to vote on firing six district employees. Unfortunately, two of our district's best and most beloved educators—Paula Ohaus and Cheng-Yen Hillenbrand—are on the list of the doomed.
Ever since the "Kids First" faction assumed control, they have seemed determined to root out our schools' few remaining centers of excellence (they've already abolished the International Baccalaureate). Tuesday's vote comes after two years of hostility towards Ohaus from the Kids Firsters and their hand-picked superintendents. Evidently, they've been egged on by jealous educators who resent high achievers in a unionized culture that doesn't especially prize hard work, excellence and merit. And now it appears that Hillenbrand has fallen victim to the same mistreatment.
In order to pull off these firings, Superintendent Mark Toback had to fashion a secret deal with Board President Rose Markle and local teachers’ union head Gary Enrico. Toback, who started his job in March, missed the April 30 deadline for not renewing teacher contracts for the next school year. So he negotiated with Enrico and Markle to amend the teachers’ contract and retroactively move the deadline to May 15. It is not known what Enrico got in return for selling out Ohaus and Hillenbrand.
The full board will vote Tuesday night on switching the deadline. Passing this measure would clear a path to vote on the list of teachers to renew for the coming year. Ohaus, director of the high school's widely-acclaimed theater productions, and Hillenbrand, who founded the district's Johns Hopkins Program for Gifted Students, are not on the list. So approving the list means, in effect, firing the two.
To save these teachers—and their respective centers of excellence—please attend Tuesday's 7 PM meeting, located on 1115 Clinton Street. For more information, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: It was another marathon session Tuesday night, as speaker after speaker expressed support for these persecuted educators. The Kids Firsters (Rose Markle, Theresa Minutillo, Ruth McAllister and Irene Sobolov) voted in lockstep to fire them anyway.
In the News
Hoboken411, 05/09/11, Toback and Markle Move to Fire Paula Ohaus
War on Excellence
Posted on May 9th, 2011
Posted in Commentary Tagged with Mark Toback, Rose Markle, Gary Enrico, Paula Ohaus, Cheng-Yen Hillenbrand, School Board, Kids First, International Baccalaureate, Theater, Johns Hopkins
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