ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DR
The USD 410 Board of Education’s decision last Wednesday to not renew contracts for two Hillsboro High School instructors drove home a forceful-and painful-point: the district desperately needs a better and more broad-based process for evaluating teachers who are approaching tenure.
We don’t have enough information to form an opinion whether the decision not to renew contracts for Kristi Esquibel in ag education and Martha Roach in art was justified. But the process in this case-or lack thereof-created trouble for absolutely everyone:
The administrative team suffered some embarrassment because their initial recommendation was overridden by the board;
The two teachers in question were certainly caught unprepared for such a confrontation. Other non-tenured teachers have reason to tremble.
The board’s credibility took a hit for what appears to some onlookers as a knee-jerk response to a few agitated parents-even if that wasn’t the case. We may never know one way or the other because the board and administration have been counseled not to divulge details of their deliberation.
Parents who had concerns about the direction of the two programs in question were forced into generating a desperate, now-or-never response because they feared the all-powerful granting of tenure would negate the possibility for change in the foreseeable future.
Students got a first-hand education of how brutal the real world can be at times. What lessons have they learned about justice and fair play?
All parties now know without question that the existing system needs renovation. Let’s get it done and avoid this kind of mess in the future. -DR