By John Hubbuch
I suspect no one was more relieved than the Mann School community to have the high school's Reduction In Force (RIF) replace the testing mess at Mann as the scandal du jour.
Each year since Abraham Lincoln walked 5 miles through the snow to go to his one room schoolhouse, school districts on a date certain in the spring tell most all the part-time teachers and non-tenured teachers that they might not be coming back. Otherwise under state statute you would be rehired. Since class sizes, enrollments and sign-ups are not known until later in the year , the RIF-ing maximizes the school's flexibility and saves money. Most of the the RIF-ed get invited back. This all takes place in a tenure context whereby after 4 years a teacher gets tenure, and can only be removed thereafter for arson, riot and/ or terrorism.
What was interesting this time around was how upset a group of parents and teachers were over the temporary dismissal of a few of their favorite teachers. These aggreived descended on the high school Wednesday night brandishing concern and outrage , if not burning torches and pitchforks. Say this for the multitude they actually might have saved the job of at least the head of the OPRF theater department.
Predictably the students were praised for speaking up as they always are in these kinds of meetings, and for sure it is better than doing drugs or cyber-bullying. The Board wisely let everybody blow off some steam before summer break.
There was a certain irony reflecting upon the possibility that at least some of the RIF-ed teachers would eventually get tenure, and 30 years later would be burned out only teaching to increase their pension. It is not unlikely that a student who spoke so eloquently Wednesday night might be be complaining as a parent 25 years later that their child needed to be re-assigned out of that very same teacher's class. It is hard to predict who will be a good teacher.
I will say this: getting that many people to come out on a work and school night bespeaks a passion and committment that I should probably respect , even praise. Go Huskie parents and students!