The president of the Georgia and Atlanta Federation of Teachers union Verdaillia Turner is not happy about the process APS followed to select Meria Carstarphen as the next superintendent for APS.
The bottom line appears to be that she and her organization were once again – simply ignored.
WSBTV reports (see here) on Turner’s concerns – direct quotes from the article are in italics.
The Georgia Federation of Teachers president says she has major concerns about the way the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent search is being conducted. Verdaillia Turner is convinced there is an agenda behind their final candidate. “We were insulted and the next word that came to mind: fixed,” Turner said.
Comment – This perspective is interesting, given that Ms. Turner was a representative on the Superintendent Search Committee (see here), but resigned prior to the selection being announced. If her concerns were so valid, why did she leave the Search Committee? It should also be noted the position on the Committee Ms. Turner left, was subsequently filled by the Atlanta Teacher of the Year. Additionally, Board member Byron Amos – who was endorsed by the AFT in the recent election – voted on the selection of Carstarphen (see more on this below).
And the terms ‘agenda’ and ‘fixed’ are just simply strange. Take a look at the original Committee composition here and incorporate the knowledge that the full Board – which included six newly elected members – will have to ratify Carstarphen’s appointment on April 14. In addition, the Search Committee held an extensive number of community meetings to get input on the characteristics desired in the next superintendent (see here).
The only conclusion I can reach is that the announced candidate was not Turner’s pick. So, sour grapes.
“There were 400-something people that applied and you give us one finalist? You are insulting my intelligence and the intelligence of the citizens of this city,” Turner said.
Comment – If she had wanted her intelligence to be validated, then she would have remained on the Search Committee to its final conclusion.
I will also add that it is very problematic to announce more than one candidate at a time. It is my understanding that the selection process came down to four candidates – all of whom have current high-profile positions – and publicizing that these candidates are interested in another position places them in a very awkward position with their current employer.
“We are looking into her background right now. Everything is happening real fast,” Turner said.
Comment – We are nearly a week out from the announcement – other than veiled complaints, where is their statement of concerns regarding Carstarphen? Finding union complaints is very easy – the head of the teachers union in Austin was not a fan of Carstarphen (see here and here)
Turner said she has several concerns with this potential hire. “We think many people will lose their jobs under new evaluations that are constantly enacted,” Turner said.
Comment – So her concerns are based on what might happen in the future regarding teacher evaluations? And which are constantly being enacted? It would be nice to hear what specific facts she is pointing to in Carstarphen’s record to support her future ‘concerns’.
My sense is that Ms. Turner is simply upset that she and her organization are being ignored as their input is consistently off –base.
Remember that voters soundly rejected her organizations endorsements for Board of Education candidates this past November – the seven endorsed candidates in contested races all lost by overwhelming margins. Their one ‘victory’ was their endorsement of Board member Byron Amos – who ran unopposed.
As further background on teacher unions in Georgia, follow the link Georgia is a “right-to-work” state, meaning unions and businesses cannot force employees to join or financially support a union. The Georgia Legislature passed such guidelines in 1947 for a good overview.
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