The following are some of the things I was speaking-up against which resulted in massive harassment and defamation imposed by administration.
1. Electronic Anecdotes of Student Behavior
I spoke against electronic student behavioral anecdotes that we were being forced to enter into fallible websites like Dedication, Teacher Ease, and the like. We know that corporations and agencies are using people information from different social websites (like facebook, myspace, and …) to profile individuals. Once information is placed on the internet it is there forever. It creates a permanent cyber foot print even after it has been deleted. What is more, that information is accessible to anyone around the world.
The big question here becomes: How would you like your son or daughter, when they get older, to be profiled and judged unfairly, based on poor judgment that they exercised when they were young. How would you like for others to use this information to make decisions about your children’s future?
What is worst, these behavioral anecdotes are completely one sided. There is never an opportunity for students or their family to shine light on their account of the incidents cited on these websites.
No one can assure us that the anecdotes that we are forced to enter into these websites, about our students are completely private and no one can assure us that this information will not be used by other people later on to pass unfair judgment about our children which can impede them from opportunities.
2. Coached and coerced to lie on these surveys
All Department of Education’s Surveys are administered completely unscientifically and results are filled with confounding variables. The surveys are intentionally administered unethically by administrators. Students and teachers are coached and coerced to lie on these surveys. Therefore an accurate representation of what is really happening in the school building is never attained through such measuring tool.
Administrators deliberately lie to students and teachers about the anonymity of these surveys but everyone seems to know better. Students from my science classes, particularly, learn about the ethics of conducting scientific research, including the sound use of surveys. They know that in order to control for the attainment of honest answers surveys should be genuinely anonymous and optional. Neither of which are offered here.
Every year I hear teachers and students warning each other to be very careful how they answer the questions because it can all be traced back to you.
Your name is always associated with a specific computer generated number which appears on the survey form. Administrators direct teachers to sign a sheet of paper in a particular order and then take a “nameless” survey card in a particular order.
Students are pulled out and reprimanded for resisting in filling out their survey. When students from my science class would object to the unfairness of the survey I would be reprimanded by administrators and I would be the only one in the building assigned a proctor to monitor me read each question aloud to the students. Yes you read correctly, teachers are mandated to bias the results of these surveys by reading each question aloud, reiterating, interpreting, and suggesting how each question should be answered.
Speaking up against this faulty unethical practice, which blinds the public to what really is going on in the school building, caused me to be targeted and harassed by administrators.
3. Excessive classroom interruptions with complete disregard to
the impact in which this has on learning.
Excessive classroom interruptions with complete disregard to the impact in which this has on learning was another significant problem I attempted to diplomatically address with administration but was met with much condescension and hostility. The harassment inspired me to write and send out to all parties involved a memo titled, The Attention Span of a Squirrel. (see below). This memo intensified the harassment by administration.
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2011 12:34 PM
Subject: From Mr. Perez & Classroom Observations
The Attention Span of a Squirrel
Social psychologists have long researched and written about the influence which an observer has on the behavior and mindset of people being observed. An observer’s influence on the observed is not just limited to humans but also found as a response by other organisms. Such influence has been supported by different types of bio-feedback measures such as heart rate and galvanic skin response. Said influence is referred to as reactivity. Although we can all relate to the idea that people being observed react to the presence of an observer, this also holds true in the other direction. Observers also react to the presence of people they are observing, which in turn, arouses a multitude of other reactions, which together create a complex web of distractions.
Research has also shown that performance on complex tasks is often inhibited by the presence of an observer; a phenomenon researchers coined the social-impairment effect. Social-impairment effects are found to be dependent on not only the complexity of the task on hand but also who is doing the observation.
It is critical that we, as facilitators of learning, seriously consider the direct impact that reactivity and social-impairment effect has on the focus and learning of our learners, as a function of obtrusive observational visits. It is equally critical that we consider the additional instructional time that is wasted because of the need to redirect our learner’s focus on the lessons on hand, also as a function of obtrusive observational visits.
Off the top of my head, my classroom has been observed, thus far, over 19 times in the 18 weeks since the opening of the school year, (approximately 4 parent tours, 4 engineers and maintenance staff visits, 4 teacher tours, the group interested in opening up a dual language school, New Vision staff, … ). What is more, we are anticipating further distractions by the Quality Review Team and now additional teacher observations.
On Friday, January 28, 2011, I was given a “heads-up” by Ms. H whom said that, “either D & M or D & myself will be coming to observe your class on Monday”. According to Ms. H “these are classroom visits that we all discussed and agreed to do”. When I prompted for a description of what was meant by “we”, Ms. H responded, “me and your cohorts”.
I wish to affirm here that I never agreed to these additional classroom visits. On the contrary, I expressed my opposition to the idea during an advisory meeting that took place on January 19, 2011 before Ms. Mc, Ms. R, Ms. L, and Mr. La.
It is also worth mentioning that the complex and subtle distractions caused by the reactivity of being observed are further compounded by the learners developmental default struggle to maintain focused, environmental factors such as phone calls in the classroom, (many which are done in error, for example- caller looking for a person in a different location), students entering the classroom late, loud speaker announcements, staff that come into the classroom requesting to speak to a particular student or two, staff that come into the classroom requesting to make an announcement, students that are sent by staff to borrow materials, fire drills, flyer and memo distributions, etc.. Which raises the following question - are we in fact facilitating learning or attention deficit?
In respect to the reasoning behind the additional classroom visits, which is to see what other teachers are doing in their classes to better control student behavior, we should all consider the following. People’s tendency to react to observational research creates a confounding variable which compromises the validity of the research results and thus the effectiveness of any behavioral plan that may stem from said research. In other words, what you observe is not representative of how the learners behave when they are not aware that they are being observed. Consequently, it is futile to create a plan based on such information.
Mr. Perez, Educator
4. Textbook School Supply Scandal
Gross negligence was perpetrated for two consecutive and entire school years on the part of all administrators concerning basic school supplies for students (Textbooks, Workbooks, ...). My constant but failed attempts to find rectification of this problem produced much unnecessary stress and harassment from all administrators in the form of giving me the “run-around”, of direct intimidation, interruptions of my lessons, and petty summonses, in order to redirect me from the problem at hand. Documents exist to prove this.