Sunday, May 05, 2013

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Cutting Media Specialists Unwise

As one gentle S-E reader wrly hints,"I think the proper word to describe OSD Superintendent Smith's performance --- a word the SE editorial board tip-toes delicately around --- is "incompetent."
Smith and the board appear eager to run the district like a business. But public education is not a business, and education on the cheap will cheat students.
Standard-Examiner Editorial
Our View: Cutting media specialists unwise
May 3, 2013
The Superintendent justified the mass layoffs in no small way on grounds that no other school district in the state had licensed professional media specialists in its schools, and there had been no ill-consequences. Since that turns out not to be so, as the SE quickly discovered and reported, I think the proper word to describe his performance --- a word the SE editorial board tip-toes delicately around --- is "incompetent."
Standard-Examiner Reader Comment
Our View: Cutting media specialists unwise
May 3, 2013

More strong words on the Standard-Examiner editorial page this morning, as the editorial board pulls no punches and follows up on yesterday's flurry of angry lumpencitizen letters and editorial pieces slamming the Ogden School District's knuckle-headed and "mistaken" decision to terminate the positions of 20 professional media specialist/librarians in OSD schools:
Kudos to the Standard, as it adopts this morning's "double-barreled" editorial approach, i.e., 1) impeccably arguing that "[i]In a world with limitless information gathering, including changing traditional media and the Internet, having a professional teach research skills and guide students to credible sources is important," (especially to disadvantaged Ogden City school-kids), and, 2) strongly slamming both Superintendent Smith and the Ogden School Board itself  for their ham-handed mishandling of this "lightning rod" Ogden Schools "budgetary" matter:
The district’s wholesale cuts were also handled badly, with false information attributed to Smith. Also, how the job cuts were announced were disrespectful to those affected. At first, Smith claimed that the Ogden School District is the only remaining district on the Wasatch Front to employ licensed teachers as media specialists in their libraries. That was false. Representatives of Davis, Morgan, and Weber school districts quickly corrected the record, noting they keep licensed media specialists at their secondary schools. That was a shoddy bit of false information, particularly on a day where 20 professionals learned their jobs were to be terminated without compensation.
Also, the failure of Smith, Ogden School Board President Shane Story, or any member of the school board, to be present when the media specialists were informed their jobs were to be cut show a lack of leadership by the district’s highest officials. When leaders make tough decisions, they don’t outsource the announcements. Not being there to face those affected when this decision was announced seems cowardly.
You be the judge!
Gentle Reader Bob Becker of course "takes it up a notch"  with his wry hint,"I think the proper word to describe [OSD Superintendent Smith's] performance --- a word the SE editorial board tip-toes delicately around --- is "incompetent."

While we won't fault the Standard for being perhaps a little overly polite, even within in the context of  an otherwise bruising editorial, we'll nevetherless thus enthusiastically join with the Standard in demanding that these ill-conceived media specialist/librarian cuts be summarily reversed.  Surely there must be some other useless OSD deadwood from which the Ogden District Schools budgetary shortfalls could be more sensibly cleared up... without "cheating" the students, right?
Just a thought...


Danny said...

So many principals and even assistant principals, even teachers, making over $100,000 per year, in community where median family income is in the $50,000 per year range (requiring two people to work to get that much) seems remarkable.

It is clear that government work is not the unsung job it used to be, but places a person squarely in community's upper crust. Indeed, these days, it may be one of the only ways to get there.

AWM said...

According to Utah Right to Know web site 41 Ogden School district employees make in excess of $100K. The first TEACHER shows up at #43 @ $114K. (these numbers include Bonus/Benefits/salary etc.) the school district has an Admin "Intern" listed as being paid $82K (pretty sweet gig for an INTERN). If you take the COMBINED salaries of the 5 lowest paid media specialists who ACTUALLY COME IN CONTACT WITH STUDENTS and it comes to $237K (rounded). Ogden School District has 3 "Exec" Directors and 2 plain jane "Directors" of Support Services that pull down a combined $668K. Here's a thought. Lay off two of the 3 "Exec" directors and save $276K. Take the $275K and keep the 5 lowest paid Media Specialists who ACTUALLY INTERACT with students. then take the money left over and give the plane jane director a nominal raise. THEN, if you're REALLY serious about curtailing spending FIRE the "ADMIN INTERN" you're paying $82K with the taxpayers money.

AWM said...

Correction..1st "Teacher" utilized in an "Instruction" position shows up at #42 @ $99K per year. While there are a couple of "teachers" listed with higher income they appear to be in "Support Services" roles. This should clarify the numbers discrepancy in the opening statement of the post above.

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