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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Conflict of Interest

If the District adopted the Lucy Calkins writing program, Dr. Calkins should read the New York State School Boards Association's sample conflict of interest policy [click here for policy].  Although it is only a sample policy it is meant to be a guide for all school boards to follow because the policy encompasses not only Education Law, but Labor Law and General Municipal Law as well.  I do not know what policy our school board follows but by employing the Lucy Calkins writing program it appears as though Dr. Calkins "hired" her sister and created a situation where people are questioning the integrity of the management of the school district.  This is a violation of the law.  You don't have to be a genius to see this stinks of nepotism.  I just wonder if the District will publish how much it paid for the new writing initiative?

18 comments:

Klozman said...

Exitus acta probat (The outcome justifies the deed)

Surprise! But why should this be? RSB Chair Calkins helped champion the lies that terminated a teacher illegally. Honesty and the rule of law do not compute. No one on the RSB should be there; not one member has legitimate qualifications...and yet...what are the prerequisites for election to the board? Perhaps this is the underlying issue that needs addressing. These blowhards acquire a bit of power and suddenly fancy themselves the gods of Mt. Olympus...unanswerable to the laws of man and existing for the sole purpose of rubber stamping the decrees of the Achramo-Zeus.

Anonymous said...

Normally I agree with you Klozman, but I believe Kelly Harper, who is actually in education should be on the board. Although, she does always vote with the RSB, so....

Klozman said...

Anonymous (7:42)...thanks for that info. My primary source for board qualifiers failed to bring this to my attention. Still, I'm looking for smart,independent thinkers who know how to dissect a budget effectively; people who ask questions, require proof and refuse to jump on board the band wagon of a glib, dishonest administrator.

Penny for thoughts? said...

This is still a case of misinformation. I am not saying I agree or disagree with this post, however I would like more information so I can make a legitimate opinion on it: What are the logistics of the Lucy Calkins Writing Policy? Is it drastic or not? Is this writing policy proven in a school or district? How do we know it works? Lastly, is it possibly that Lucy Calkins was qualified to establish this writing system? again, I just want more info. Thanks

Anonymous said...

You can find information on Lucy Calkins and her writing program if you do a simple google search of "lucy calkins writing program."

Penny for thoughts? said...

After looking at this writing program it sounds like it has been effective before, and if it works then it would only make sense for the district to give it a shot. I understand there are questions regarding Dr. Calkins "hiring" her sister, but if she is an accomplished academic, as I am led to believe, then her qualifications are applicable and the fact that she is related to a board member should not matter.

Anonymous said...

A writing program is another one of those educational type gimmicks that look good on paper and cost a lot of money but fail to produce students who are better writers. The only ones who make out big time are the persons pulling off the snow job.

Anonymous said...

Everything the school board does or says is a violation of the law, according to "Concerned Hamburger". This blog is getting a little ridiculous. Someone's trying really hard to get the board in trouble.

Mr. DiNapoli said...

Concerned Hamburger isn't making this stuff up....the RSB hasn't followed the law. Hamburger is just exposing it. He is a MUCKRAKER!!! If the BOE and DIstrict followed the law, Concerned Hamburger could spend his/her time playing bridge and sipping expensive spirits ( on those big fat NYS pensions, NOT TAXED I MAY ADD). Good for you Concerned, at least you are doing a public service and giving back to the blinded citizens of Hamburg.

Concerned parent1 said...

While I understand the conflict of interest that exists, Calkin's writing program is very good. Serveral neighboring districts are using it. Do we as a district have a writing system in place that works and is considered the best possible practice for our students? That needs to be the bottom line here..what is best for the students enrolled in Hamburg CSD. It is something that the board, administrators, and teachers need to keep their focus on, otherwise they are in the wrong profession. As for the board of education...the people elect them. Perhaps more people should become informed and really think about who they are "pulling the lever" for every May. These are the people who are supposed to be making solid decsions on how to educate our kids and spend our money. I have been asking my teacher friends for years who HTA supports at election time, because I would like to consider education savy people for my board. Last year was the first year I actually got an answer. I understand that some see this website as "Muckraking" or exposing HCD for what it is, it needs to be considered that most Muckrakers did something productive to bring about change. This site makes me more frustrated and nervous as a parent. Is anything really going to come of these postings? There has to be a way to bring about change in a more positive way. The HTA and the BOE must settle their contract dispute. I commend the teachers for being professional and doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. It cannot be easy working w/out the respect of their superiors. These people are on the front lines educating our kids. They hold Masters Degrees, plus hours of additional training. We have no issue with handing over millions of public monies to professional sports teams, but we have a difficult time paying our teachers a respectable wage. Everyone thinks they can teach - I beg you to try. Noone enters the field expecting to get rich. As for the pension - that's great and all, but does it feed their families now?

Anonymous said...

Concerned Parent, I'd be concerned too. The largest problem with writing, is that grammar is NO longer taught. Lucy Calkins may very well be a fine scholar, but perhaps HCSD can start out by teaching grammar. In terms of HTA support, the HTA has done NOTHING...why do you think the teachers get a bad deal? Maybe you should run for BOE? You seem reasonable.

concernedparent1 said...

Anonymous - I agree that grammar does need to be taught. the workshop model is not a "do it all" fix. Look at Whole language. it was embraced several years ago, but people forgot that it was just a piece of the puzzel. If you look at Nancy Atwell's work, the grammar "problem" is fixed through the use of minilessons, aimed at both the whole class and the individual student. As a parent of both a high achiever and a special needs kid, I embrace the philosophy which individually tailors a kids learning as much as possible. erspecially with the loss of funding for the the GT programs, and the aim to reduce the amount of referrals.

To add to my comment about the contract dispute, I find it intersting that the district cannot settle the teachers' dispute, but they have enough money to give top administrators raises. I don't buy the ideas that we need to attract "the best" to run our schools, because shouldn't we want to attract the and KEEP the best on our front lines. I know many people who have gotten their feet wet in Hamburg and went to greener (pun intended) pastures.

Anonymous said...

HCSD:)

Anonymous said...

Have we tried this, it may be worth the students time.

The law said...

Word on the street is that "Dr. Dip-shit" got served at her office on Monday. Get a good lawyer if you decide to lie under oath "Dr. bat-shit crazy".

Anonymous said...

Why did Dr Dip Shit get served? Who they lying about now????

Anonymous said...

Hamburg Central adopted the Calkins writing program and told teachers they must use it without any input from teachers, and worst of all, without piloting any programs. Usually when a school district is looking to adopt a program district wide more than one program is piloted or if even one program is bieng considered, it is piloted first before being adopted. There are conversations that include the educators using the program about what is working and what is best for the children. That is how good, successful school districts operate.
While it is true that some other districts use the Calkins writing program it is also true that some districts began using it but no longer use it. There are some problems and limitations with the program.
In Hamburg we can't stop using the program or explore other programs because we are in an awkward and inappropriate situation (conflict of interest) to say the least, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Don Graves and Lucy Calkins worked with the Hamburg district years ago. So many of the participating teachers are gone now; so the cycle of inservicing needs to start all over again. Writing is just one area that needs to be addressed. The newest teachers deserve the same training that the former educators were given. This will entail $$$$, but this must be done to keep Hamburg teachers well informed about the latest innovations in education. If retirement incentives are going to be offered to entice people to leave early; then the district must be prepared to invest $$$$ into staff inservices for the teachers who take their positions. This must be done to do what is best for our students and our teachers. Lucy Calkins is an expert in writing. Our district can only benefit from her work with them.