This year teachers at Byrd, Shreve, and at least one other school will have almost twice as much planning time as teachers at Caddo Magnet High and other high schools. Can this be rational or fair? Can it be legal?
As reported on Forward-Now.com, all teachers were devastated over the loss of half their planning time during the school day, which seems to have resulted in surprise retirements and new decisions for early retirement. In response, Dr. Dawkins told high school principals that they could “work out the increased student load any way they wanted.” Byrd, Magnet, Shreve, and
at least one other school created plans making individual classes slightly larger, but keeping one planning period every day for all teachers.
Following Dawkin’s directive, supervisors of most requesting high schools gave approval. Magnet’s supervisor did not. Unsubstantiated sources say that the Magnet administration did not go over the head of their supervisor due to fear of reprisal.
This means that Magnet and any other high school whose principal was not allowed, or did not chose to keep the six period teaching load, will have about half the planning time of other high school teachers. This situation was bad enough when all teachers were in the same boat and principals had no decision making authority.
Now, many teachers feel like second class citizens, and there is the possibility that the school board has allowed legal discrimination to be created and openly sanctioned. This is unfair and probably illegal, but until it is challenged will remain in place.
The real issue to students and parents is that this practice is not in the best interest of students. Teachers use planning time each day for parent contact, writing and implementing individual education plans, parent-teacher conferences, and student advocacy. Students all over Caddo Parish deserve the same time and attention as students at Shreve and Byrd.