Sunday, July 08, 2007

The "Castle Park Five" and Speaking English in Cali-for-nia

Arnold wants Californians to focus on English, but I like to know what other people are saying and thinking--even if they aren't saying it in English. Sometimes I'll do a Google search and the only article that talks about the precise issue that interests me is in German or Japanese. In that case, I use Google's handy "Translate this page" button.

But the results aren't always that great. As an example, I offer an article that came out in San Diego's La Prensa newspaper in October of 2004. It concerns the teacher culture that developed at Castle Park Elementary School over a period of many years. In 2004, the Chula Vista Elementary School District, which had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend the criminal actions of Castle Park Elementary teachers, finally got fed up. Five teachers were transferred out of the school. La Prensa told the story of two of those transferred teachers, Peggie Myers and Stephenie Parker-Pettit.

Here is the Google translation of the article. I found the translation fascinating to read, but the Spanish version made a lot more sense.

October 8, 2004
The teachers of Castle Park count their history
By Luis Alonso Perez

The first day of classes in Castle Park Elementary did not begin like in previous years.

This year the children outside ran into with a group of parents and teachers pronouncing itself with posters of their school, against the unexpected change of establishment of a group of teachers that had been several years working for that primary one.

Some children carried in their clothes transfers with the word “Respect”. When he arrived Tom Cruz - Attending of the district inspector he bothered themselves and he asked the demonstrators who did not involve the children, who that problem did not have to do with the children.

But for Peggy Myers - One of the teachers reasignadas to another primary this has to do the children directly, its nine years of masterful effort as in Castle Park have been by the children and the community.

Now, Peggy Myers has to his position a hall fifth primary in Allen Elementary School, but she continues thinking that its change was totally injustificado and still it is furious by the form in which this situation was carried out, specially the form in which found out its transference.

In August last Myers was vacacionando in London, taking advantage of the opportunity to see his husband by five days - as she is assigned by the army to a base in Saudi Arabia when she received a call of his son Greg, informing to him that she had been notified by Tom Cruz who wished to speak with her as soon as she was of return.

In the following days Greg received calls of other teachers commenting to him that Cruz and Lowell had spoken with Billings - Inspector of the district and had been transferred to other primary ones. When finding out, Myers was disturbed totally since she never waited for it. The news obvious ruined its vacations.

Pero Peggy Myers was not the only teacher surprised by the news. Stephenie Petti, teacher of third bilingual degree received a call of Tom Cruz the 16 of August, in which it informed on a meeting the 18 to him into August to discuss on problems that arose the year last in CP and to analyze his subjet for the incoming scholastic year.

His first impression was that it was a hunting of witches to undo of the teachers who caused to problems in Castle Park. For the day of the appointment, Petti she was so estresada that it began to present/display symptoms of complications in his pregnancy. It could not sleep and it underwent panic attacks.

The day of the appointment received the surprise of which the following scholastic year was not going to give to classes in Castle the Parks, who had assigned it to Salt Creek Elementary and she was not going to have a bilingual group.

The news impressed it to the point in which it began to have childbirth contractions then, which caused that in one week it had to go to the hospital because of physical and emotional problems.

When the teachers asked the reason for the transference the answer was simple: The changes were made “By the benefit of the educative program and the students”.

When listening this Peggy Myers asked how was going to benefit to the program or the students, to transfer to a member of the only equipment in Castle Park who had developed a curriculum different from the traditional program?

Lowell Billings did not answer.

When he asked How to transfer a teacher who taught to other teachers in USD on how to give classes to bilingual groups was going to benefit?

Again Billings did not answer.

Stephenie Petti will not be able to begin to give classes in this scholastic year, since is disabled person by her pregnancy. It will return to his workings like teacher when January or February is born its baby in.

Myers and the rest of the teachers thinks that the true reason for its exit of Castle Park was because they were not scared to show his inconformidad with the way in which the director of the primary Ollie Matos directed the school.

“I am arranged to defend what I believe that he is the correct thing and to criticize what I believe that is bad, - Petti- comments concern the students and the educative programs to me of Castle Park. I have a deep interest in its well-being, the academic progress and its personal lives. The families (of the community) are my families, their children are my children”.

“I am not scared to him to the administrative ones, - Petti- added we have had many directors who arrive at Castle Park and try to change the programs that we have developed. Later they go away, and the teachers stay themselves as people in charge to badly repair the damages caused by a director. They come and they go away, but the teachers continue”.

“I widely am described to make my work, perhaps the director felt intimidated by me and my colleagues”, added Petti.

“For a pair of years - Peggy Myers- comments we had a very good leader like director, who looked for the strengths of each teacher and he fomented them, so the results of our tests were highest than it has had Castle Park. From the entrance of Ollie Matos, which has been a very weak leader, the behavior of the students is at its worse moment and the moral of the staff is in its lower point”.

“The problem is not the five teachers in Castle Park - the problem added Meyers- is that if Lowell Billing allows the transference of teachers simply because the directors cannot work with them, then all the teachers of this district run the irrigation of being transferred to express itself in favor of the well-being of the children and the community”.

“The parents of family of the community need to know that they have the right to show his inconformidad before the decisions of the directors if they think that they do not benefit his children, - Petti- commented need to know that their voices have value, that their opinions tell and that it has the power to change the things in the primary ones and the scholastic district. The teachers, and the employees of the district we worked for the families of the community. The parents must of knowing and believing this”.

Note: The correct spelling is Peggie Myers.

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