[one_third][youtube width=”225″ ][/youtube][/one_third]
[fancy_header]Official Press Statement[/fancy_header]
[toggle title=”Click here to view the unedited conference in its entirety”]
[pro-player width=’532′ height=’400′ type=’video’ image=”http://www.gtul.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Screen-shot-2010-08-26-at-3.36.00-PM.png’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNOd2x7_qZY[/pro-player]
Toledo Public Schools sits at a crossroads of epic proportions. It is a clear watershed moment. Declining enrollment, underperforming schools in the central city, a bloated infrastructure and dwindling State funding create a “perfect storm” for TPS and the entire community.
The community spoke loudly on May 4, 2010 and their message was clear – “We expect leadership and accountability for this District”. Our students deserve it, the community demands it, and the leadership of this district (Board members, Superintendent, and Union Representation) must deliver it.
Without question, there are positive highlights within TPS and to ignore them would be completely irresponsible. While acknowledging the many positives, it is also appropriate to consider the grievances and concerns. In doing so, one overarching issue is crystal clear – TRUST.
There is little or no trust between the Board and the Administration; there is no trust between management and labor; there are seeds of distrust within the ranks of labor; there is limited trust between parents and teachers and there is clear evidence of distrust between students and teachers. The painstaking reality is that no one can effectively work with, teach to, learn from or share with a person with whom they do not have some level of trust.
Over the past decade or more this community has shown its trust through the support of new and continued levies – often by significant margins. Our community now deserves a return on its investment and past trust.
We believe that now is the time for an in-depth and independent review of the Toledo Public Schools. On several points we agree with Board President Vasquez specifically as it relates to the need for “transformational change within the district”. The independence and scope of this committee are areas we must have common agreement and are paramount in understanding the current state of education and operations with which to formulate recommendations needed to bring about “transformational change”.
Establishing trust is critical. This can only begin by assuring the committee’s review is objective, thorough and leads recommendations aimed at “transformational change”.
We believe the committee must be officially chartered by the Board of Education. It must be autonomous and have no members which are Board members or school employees. All operational, educational and financial practices including union contracts must be included in the scope of work. All employees and records must be made available to the committee for interview and inspection. All committee members must be free of financial or other relationships that pose a conflict of interest. The selection of members would be by a mutually agreed upon committee chair(s) with membership based upon experience and attributes that are compatible with the overall skill set needed by the committee.
We offer our assistance as a community on a continuous basis to address this mammoth task. Our goal is to avoid another panel producing another report that gathers dust on a shelf. Rather, we seek a fully-engaged group that collaboratively confronts these issues with one goal – quality education for each child in the right environment. Meeting this goal will produce engaged, educated and successful students that are prepared to meet the challenge of college, work and life.