by David Safier
I may only know a few teachers in the Sunnyside school district, but I know teachers. People in the classroom don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about the superintendent or the school board. They know who they're working for: the students in their classrooms. If teachers are happy with what's going on with the upper level administration, they work their asses off for their students. If they're dismayed and disgruntled with what they see happening upstairs, they still work their asses off for their students and express their dismay and disgruntlement in the faculty room or the parking lot.
I'm a big supporter of public schools. I try not to speak ill of districts when they have financial and personnel problems, because I know people think if a district makes some poor spending decisions or some of their employees are incompetent or corrupt, that means the entire district is in shambles. It's not true.
There's something rotten in the upper echelons of the Sunnyside School District. I'm not sure exactly what it is or how deep it goes, but it's there, and it needs to be addressed. But the rot isn't in the classroom, so far as I know.
I used to infuriate some of my high school principals when we got into a confrontation by telling them they worked for me. What a pleasure to watch their eyes widen and their jaws drop! "That's right," I would say, "your job is to make things work so well at the school that I can spend as much time and energy as possible on the needs of my students. Of course," I would add, "I work for the students. They're the only reason any of us are here."