I am in awe of those Charleston County School District teachers who have the courage to stand up for themselves in front of the school board to appeal the revoking of their continuing contracts.
Don't be fooled by circumlocutory language. Not being given a continuing contract means the teacher has been fired and his career has been terminated.
In the April 3 edition of The Post and Courier, it was noted by Cindy Bohn Coats, Charleston County School Board chairwoman, that when a hearing of the appeal takes an entire day it "is an inordinate amount of time and energy."
So what is a teacher's career worth to the School Board ... five hours, three hours, 30 minutes?
Ms. Bohn Coats also confused the issue, saying, "You're not taking away their teaching certificate. You're simply saying, not this district."
What educational institution is going to hire someone legally discharged by an elected official school board?
My 35-year career in education and libraries was effectively terminated in 2012. This despite earning a Master's in library and information science and another in English literature and being a presenting associate of the American Education Research Organization, EdTech, Southeastern Educause, and the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Science.
My innovative syllabus for teaching library research methods has been published and nationally recognized. Yet, with seven years as a Charleston County school librarian, I could not pass the formal evaluation as supervised by an administrator who pronounced library as "liberry."
My downfall was my unwillingness to replace proven reading enhancements and love of books with robotic repetition of the English Language Arts curriculum. I had the audacity to choose storytelling, reader's theater, and educational games over stepped reading programs.
In retrospect, I wish I would have had the self-respect and stamina to plead my case before the school board, but my family insisted that I "quit the good fight."
Unfortunately, the CCSD Human Resources Department led me to believe that if I resigned after failing the evaluation (flunking one performance dimension out of seven), but before contracts were issued, my record would show retired instead of contract canceled.
I should not have been surprised to find this was more misdirection.
So I lost my livelihood, but hope ample time and truthfulness are offered to other teachers appealing for their vocations.
Joanne N. Letendre
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