Sunday December 8, 2013
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Tom, To send mentally ill people to any other area without proper care and support waiting is unspeakably callous. On the flip side of the coin, how would the Californians know the difference? Someone once said that when God created the U.S. , the continent was split in the middle and shaken. All of the loose nuts and flakes rolled to the East and West Coasts. :)
" Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." Albert Einstein
This quote brings to my mind some of the ramifications of wholesale testing of students (No Child Left Behind, state standards, etc.) without appropriate differentiation and individualism for students. A question : What if we are not appropriately testing the "fish"? A second question: Who was it that said that if one is six years old, one should be in first grade and so on ?
I have been following this discussion and have a question : Did the Native Americans also say "pack up and go back where you came from". The Tonto were the real native Arizonans and had good reason to complain.!
I have been considering posting some thoughts about the shutdown for several days, realizing that what I have in mind is arguable. Perhaps most of the learned readers of this blog will be able to differentiate between the sarcasm and the truth. First, the Founding Fathers designed the governmental system with built-in checks and balances for good reasons : people will disagree about the "right" way. Second, the Founders felt that the best solution to disagreements was compromise so long as majority rule still protected the minority and the compromises did not breach basic values. Those things in mind, I would like to throw out all of those elected to Congress and he elected to the Presidency. I could choose one party as being more guilty than the other, but he fact is that both parties share guilt and stupidity; both have relegated the opposition to the trash heap as "wrong". Both have stopped viewing the opposition as basically good people whose goals do not mesh with the other. This kind of opposition is dangerous for the future of the system and certainly dismisses the concept of
"the loyal opposition". Third: I believe that at least one Party and possibly both have embraced the concept of making the Shutdown really difficult on the citizenry so as to try to turn public opinion. Shut the Parks, Monuments, etc., Try to convince me that those in power could not find less obtrusive areas to trim back or close down.. Fourth, the damage caused by the current attitudes may permanently damage our basic concepts of government. I wonder what happened to the concept of disagreeing without being disagreeable? Last, I feel safer now that the Feds can not pass more stupid laws, at least for a while. I am with Will Rogers. :)
Tom, I usually suggested to students that it would benefit them if they checked job openings/projections before seriously considering a career path. It does little good to choose a career path if the personal /academic strengths or job openings do not exist, the pay is lower than needed, the prerequisites can not be met, and so forth. It is good planning. In the case of school Counselors, I suspect that the current cuts in positions have mostly been due to economic factors ( people seem to want to cut Art, Music, Photography, and other "peripheral" classes). Job prospects may well open again when the economic instability is lessened. Just for your information you might want to visit the following : U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook and see School Counselors.
Let me preface my thoughts by saying that I have been "outside" of the day-to-day operations for 14 years now and things have changed. There are more impositions by the Feds and the states , and each imposition seems to require more paperwork. When I worked at a High School I had 4 Counselors for 1200 students. My Asst. Principal and I developed the Master Schedules so Counselor(s) did not loose time at that job. There were tasks other than face-to-face sessions with students such as Community Outreach programs, Awards programs, Informational meetings for community members, etc., that did reduce time with students. However, the majority of time was directed at counseling students about courses of study, scholarship programs, testing programs such as PSAT and SAT, reviews of Seniors qualifications for graduation, various College/University applications and personal problems of students. I never heard a Counselor complain about a lack of time for student counseling because of clerical duties. I did hear about how scarce and valuable time was for a good reason : when a student has an issue or problem that is presented to a Counselor, it usually takes a half-hour at a minimum. A problem with another student or a problem with home life can not be "discussed" while watching the clock ! Also, dealing with career options or university choices or personal tragedy are serious issues that take expertise beyond that held by most clerks. A clerk could deal with some credit-counting and other "objective" tasks
but some responsibilities are too sensitive or too critical or too "legal" (such as Child Abuse) to be done by people who are not highly trained and certified by the state. Bottom line: what the Counselor is assigned to do is determined by the school or District. PS- In my opinion a school must have a good balance of courses and support to maximize the potential of students. A wide view about education calls for Counseling, Art, Music, and those other services that some call "peripheral" in order to really educate a student.
Am I mistaken or is Mr. Dunman not an leader appointed to a public post? As the prime mover in the problem, did he not elect to disobey his superior? A secondary issue is the Superintendent not following proper procedures and he bears responsibility for those errors. Yes, I think that Mr. Dunman should have remained PUBLICLY quiet until or if legal procedures required a response at a later point in the process. According to reports, he did not do so.
We can ask for a person who is willing to acknowledge that he is an employee and serves with the supervision of the Superintendent. We can ask for a person who may not agree with all decisions made by the Superintendent, but will publicly support regulations set by the Superintendent. We can ask for a person who does not publicly act in an insubordinate way. We can ask for a person who is willing to keep private matters private and work toward conciliation. We can also ask for a Superintendent who is willing to compromise and be flexible and seek alternative solutions or compromises.
Tom, You were correct in assuming that I posted before the Friday article in the Roundup. You are also correct in thinking that the issue(s) are muddied. Unfortunately, the Roundup did us a disservice by incorrectly reporting a decision by the Board . At this point in time I am wondering if the Friday report the Roundup is accurate or not. Like Will Rogers, most of us are dependent on the newspaper for a lot of information and we can only discuss what we have read. To other points: It appears that there was a written Policy relative to no coaching for District pay. It seems that earlier Boards/Superintendents were not enforcing the Policy. The current Superintendent received some direction from the Board and was asked to enforce the Policy. When he told Mr. Dunman, the fray began with supporters attending the first Board meeting. According to the Roundup, there were meetings between the Superintendent and Mr. Dunman during which Mr. Dunman walked out. The combination of reactions from Mr. Dunman resulted in the charge of insubordination. Then the attorney for Mr. Dunman charged that proper procedures have not been followed as regards suspending Mr. Dunman from duty. The Board apparently told the Superintendent that procedures must be followed. What happens now? I am still of the opinion that the Superintendent has and must have the authority to appropriately set procedures and regulations within Board Policy and applicable laws that govern employees. If he/she does not have such authority, the leadership role of the Superintendent is nullified. In this case (from what I have read) I fully support the Superintendent. If he erred in the procedure for assigning leave as a discipline measure, I urge him to go back and do it correctly. If Mr. Dunman chooses to fight it, so be it. A school District can not have a paper tiger attempting to lead. We must have a fully empowered leader and the power to appropriately set employee regulation is crucial.
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