TSON News | TUSD Teacher responds to Teacher Diversity Plan: This is not about being a good teacher?

TUSD Teacher responds to Teacher Diversity Plan: This is not about being a good teacher?

“This is not about whether or not you are a good teacher, it is about diversity.”

-Anna Maiden, in charge of HR in TUSD.

Response by TUSD teacher:

Sent: Friday, April 07, 2017 2:27 PM
To: Human Resources; Maiden, Anna; Konrad, Michael; Beck, Michael
Cc: Campbell, Andrew; Chin-Duncan, Wayne; Ledesma, Rosie
Subject: RE: Teacher Diversity Plan

To Whom It May Concern:

Please stop sending me this letter.  I find this letter discriminatory and highly inappropriate.  To compensate teachers based on their ethnicity should never be allowed. I “effect meaningful change” every day in my classes and I have never been offered compensation for being one of two Christian-Jews in my school.  TUSD has never offered $5,000 compensation for the diversity I provide. I am already “part of the solution” you stated in this letter.  I make a difference and provide cultural richness to every lesson I teach. This letter states “this is not about whether or not you are a good teacher, it is about diversity”. I am surprised that more teachers have not been in contact with you to share their outrage at that statement. This letter with financial compensation attached from my school district is offensive and inappropriate. Please do not send it to me again. I believe those of you who are responsible owe the rest of us, myself included an apology for your lack of consideration and blatant disrespect for all highly-qualified teachers within TUSD.

12 comments on “TUSD Teacher responds to Teacher Diversity Plan: This is not about being a good teacher?
  1. Excellent response to the letter from HR trying to elicit guilt on teachers to provide diversity. Teachers provide it every day and try to make the best of what they have with no support from the District. I often got other teachers looking askance at me when I recognized Black History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month. My students used to tell me I was the only teacher that did sometimes. Unfortunately our ethnicities are so diluted that some students don’t know what to claim.
    It is a direct insult to any self-respecting teacher to expect them to grasp at the bonus that most might not use anyway. Most already have master’s degrees and/or National Board Certification. Why not offer them an increase in the paycheck that would benefit them or their families? That tells me this wasn’t a sincere offer anyway. Most teachers are good teachers already or else so many of them would not still be there even though some good teachers, like me, have opted to leave TUSD. Sometimes though, you just have to walk away. I had to do what was best for me at the time. No one wants to teach with a bulls eye on their back as I felt was happening to me. I hope that no teacher will be unduly influenced by this guilt trip. HR needs to retract this letter!

  2. If we deny that children need an exposure to many different teachers of various backgrounds, than we are also denying Brown vs. Board of Education. That was one of the prime arguments on Brown’s side, that children of color were denied equal education by seeing only one category of person. I always worked in schools with a diversity of teachers and students.

  3. The only good vote that Kristel Foster ever took was voting against the appointment of Anna Maiden. Maiden came to TUSD via Sunnyside and was not well respected there. They were thrilled when she easily moved over to TUSD without any extensive background check on her. I have friends who work at Sunnyside and they thought that she spoke, moved, and administered like a zombie. Honestly, if you have the chance to listen to her monotone, dead-like intonation when she speaks, you will think that she is lifeless. Above all, however, she is incompetent. This was one of Pedicone’s last jokes on TUSD.

    The HR Chief of Staff should be energetic, inspiring, and understand that the position exists to lead a department to serve the District’s schools. Schools are the furthest from her priority. She often is dismissive of teachers and is even more callous in her treatment of blue collar and white collar personnel. Principals think she is ineffective. HT really like her and protected her because she followed all of his commands, including pushing Adelita Grijalva’s mother-in law into a position which she should NOT have gotten.

    What Anna Maiden has done with diversity reflects what HT Sanchez did with the desegregation order. She has undermined it and she has done everything she could possibly do to anger teachers about it; white teachers, Latino teachers, African American teachers, etc. In this way, more people within our District have been forced to take a disliking to diversity and to the desegregation court order. There is an evolving group of teachers in my building who believe that HT was hired to kill desegregation. I work in a magnet school and had a front seat to his attack on the court order and everyone associated with it by HT Sanchez. I am Latina and I thought he was a bigot. I thought it was repulsive when I heard his attacks. We gradually saw the way that he convinced his three empty heads that because of desegregation he and the Board had lost their authority. Really? What authority the Board majority did have, they turned over to him and in four years, he tore our District apart with is divisive management style.

    My building is comprised of predominately white teachers. We work well together and do the best job we can with the poor leadership we have received from 1010 about magnet schools. My peers are kind-hearted and want to serve our diverse population as well as possible. There has never been any cultural awareness training at our site and I hear things such as: “Her family speaks nothing but Mexican at home, which is holding her back.” “One third of my class is on free lunch. I just do not understand parents who do nothing to improve their lives.” Of course, these type of comments are based on pure ignorance. I make effort to better inform my peers about socio-economic status and culture, but the effort to keep teachers informed about culture, race, etc, should be systemic. Should I seek to transfer (which I won’t) to obtain the diversity cash, I would have to transfer to another school which is predominately white. Yet, my inclination would be to go to a school where I can contribute to embracing the culture of Latino students at a much larger scale. Whether intentional or not, ignorance is hurting many of our students.

    Maiden could have approached teachers with a very positive and motivating message in recruiting teachers to support diversity. Instead she chose to make it a divisive campaign which has done nothing but built resentment. Jason Freed, a condescending bigot in his own right, has also poisoned the waters for the teacher diversity program. It will fail based on HT Sanchez’ attitudes on desegregation, Anna Maiden and Jason Freed. All bigots.

    (In case anyone is wondering, I have some time off today.)

    • Ms. Maiden wasn’t hired by Dr. Pedicone. She’s another gift from Sanchez!

      You’re going to be completely disappointed in Ms. Foster. She didn’t vote against Ms. Maiden’s appointment. I believe she abstained from voting, because both she and Ms. Maiden were employed by Sunnyside at the time.

  4. A friend just shared the following article with me. It gets right to the heart of why it is important to have a diverse workforce of teachers in our school districts. TUSD needs to come into the 21st Century!

    New York Times
    The Real Reason Black Kids Benefit From Black Teachers

    For black students, having even one black teacher can make a huge difference. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which found that that black boys who had a black teacher during their elementary school years were less likely to drop out of high school. It also linked the presence of black teachers to kids’ expectations of attending college.
    I wasn’t surprised to hear this. I’m one of a small fraction of black teachers in my district. I know that, as much as many would like to think that good intentions and talent are the only important qualities for educators, students respond differently to teachers whom they can relate to.

    The week before the study was released, I showed my ninth graders a film about Kalief Browder, a black teenager who was arrested at age 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack, spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime and died by suicide after his release. I was moved by the impassioned mini-essays about police brutality and stop-and-friskmy students produced and the honest experiences they shared. I realized it’s not just that my students live these topics every day. It’s also that they are teenagers who have seen me interact with law enforcement during our trips off campus. They trusted me because they knew I lived them as well.

    The fact that my skin color matches that of my students doesn’t give me any superpowers as an educator. But it does give me the ability to see them in a way that’s untarnished by the stereotypes, biases and cultural disconnects that fuel inequality and injustice — like the outlook that made Trayvon Martin, carrying Skittles, appear dangerously suspicious to the man who took his life. Like the assumptions that studies show make people see black boys as less innocent than their white peers.

    I’m connected to them because of our shared racial identity. But it’s more than that: I’m familiar with the world they inhabit. I can see their charms and challenges, without the filters of “minority” or “urban” or “at risk.” And I show them, through the pizza I order for their birthdays. Through the full days without schoolwork that I offer them from time to time because life is hard and we all need a break. Through teenage comedy that I laugh at with them, before reminding them not to make said jokes in certain settings. Through the pictures of my wife I show them — my wife, who looks like us.

    To be clear, many of my nonblack colleagues see our kids’ incredible potential just as I do and are powerful advocates for them. The ability to treat students like people and love the mess out of them doesn’t rely directly on race.

    Still, we live in a world of zero-tolerance policies, where students are kicked out of class for the “insubordination” of refusing to move to a different desk or for drinking juice, and where everyday misbehavior can elicit a call to the authorities. I find myself wondering, have the adults responsible never wanted to sit near their friends? Did they not drink juice in high school? Can they not see younger versions of themselves in our kids?
    Black students need teachers who understand that they’re capable of the full range of anxieties and insecurities, greatness and success, hilarious moments and generous surprises. The amount of melanin in my skin is neither necessary nor sufficient for this: It’s not a magic formula. But I can remember a time when I looked and sounded like my students. That helps me see myself in them, and all they’re capable of. I hope they can see themselves in me.

    David Jackson, a ninth-grade teacher, has worked for 10 years in high schools and middle schools in the New York City area.

  5. If we had a school board that was doing their job, then this wouldn’t be an issue. If the board would have taken the steps years ago to address the fact that the deseg order addresses issues that are no longer representative in the Tucson community we would n’t be having this conversation. Or if the board would have taken the steps to address compensation then we would be in a position to be able to be selective in the hiring process. Don’t for a second blame this on district leadership because every change or lack thereof was addressed and approved by the board. Mr. Stegeman in particular has been a part of the downward spiral of the district. He will try and place blame on this prior counterparts, yet he stepped up and provided any meaningful alternative solutions.

    • For the record, I don’t ever want to censor comments and I will not now, but it should be clear this is not really from Hicks

  6. TUSD should consider recruiting and hiring a diverse teaching force and not move around teachers needlessly. I’d like to see their numbers at it relates to minority hiring!

    The HR Department is worthless and I’m happy Anna Maiden is GONE by July!

  7. Let me get this straight: TUSD is short of teachers, but is willing to force teachers to move if teachers don’t move on their own. How do you think forced moves will impact teacher shortages? And how many new hires will look away because of these policies?
    The focus right now should be filling empty teacher slots for next year, regardless of ethnicity. Once you have met that goal, then you can be picky about who goes where.

  8. 1. TS- I think you should remove the Michael Hicks imposter. Otherwise, you are promoting the imposter game. You give people an opportunity to comment anonymously, which is enough.

    2. Teachers are not being forced to transfer according to the Diversity plan, which I finally got ahold of and read for myself; there is incentive pay for those who do transfer to enhance diversity.

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