Dismissed Without An Evaluation

For those of you concerned about SPED and the Amy Hughes situation with Cathy Lawton the principal at Barbara Vick, a reader sent in this letter and an attachment. 

An excerpt:  "Amy Hughes’ personnel file supports what Amy has said all along: Principal
Cathy Lawton at Barbara Vick NEVER observed Amy Hughes for the
2006-2007 school year, though, contractually, Ms. Lawton is supposed to
observe every teacher at her school at least 3 times within a school
year. Ms. Lawton fired Amy Hughes without ever evaluating
Amy and Ms. Lawton falsified documents after the fact to cover her own
deceit."

This happens all the time, right -- teachers not properly evaluated by their principals?  Not that the evaluations are particularly useful, I understand. 

Dear Mr. Russo:

 

 

 

Following-up
on the post: “SPED teacher fired over “pedagogical differences?,” I
want to thank you for providing a great service by giving us a forum
where anyone can voice their experiences and point of view in the face
of denial and dismissal on the part of CPS staff and other public
officials. 

 

 

 

I
am attaching a copy of a letter from attorney Michael Moody to CPS
Attorney, James Ciesel, dated July 6, 2007, with the permission of Amy
Hughes and Michael Moody, the attorney representing Amy in her case
against CPS who is also the grateful parent of one of her students with
autism. Amy Hughes’ personnel file supports what Amy has said all along: Principal
Cathy Lawton at Barbara Vick NEVER observed Amy Hughes for the
2006-2007 school year, though, contractually, Ms. Lawton is supposed to
observe every teacher at her school at least 3 times within a school
year. Ms. Lawton fired Amy Hughes without ever evaluating
Amy and Ms. Lawton falsified documents after the fact to cover her own
deceit. Cathy Lawton gave Amy Hughes a Superior rating and still fired her. Worse than that, Ms. Lawton completely fabricated documentation that evaluations took place. 

 

 

 

The
fact that Cathy Lawton is still the administrator of a school that is
supposed to cater to children with special needs is absolutely galling. Ms.
Lawton stole a stable, successful, appropriate student/teacher
relationship from children in the instructional autism room at Barbara
Vick for some unknown, twisted, personal reason. Additionally,
since the beginning of ESY, several parents are seeing regression in
their children and a recurrence of behaviors that Amy Hughes had
managed to extinguish. The level of dishonesty, cronyism and capricious management behavior that CPS tolerates and condones is appalling. In
addition, the condescending and disrespectful lack of direct response
on the part of Arne Duncan to parents with legitimate concerns and
valuable insights is infuriating and negligent. 

 

 

 

Another
thing I wanted to let you know is that the Chicago Teacher’s Union has
not given Amy Hughes any support with this matter, which, I guess I
will chalk up to naiveté on my part to think that they would. 

 

 

 

Amy Hughes’ dismissal has been an eye-opening and galvanizing experience for several 19th Ward parents who have children with special needs and we are starting a not-for-profit advocacy group: 19th Ward Parents for Special Education. We
are committed to provide information, support and a larger voice to our
concerns so that we may bring appropriate services to children with
special needs in our community. This whole experience has been very stressful for the parents of children in the instructional autism room at Barbara Vick. The
lack of support we have received from school personnel, CPS and our
elected officials is distressing and I could easily give into cynicism. At
the same time, the sense of community and a willingness to invest in
the truth and fight for what is best for our children is purposeful,
moving and decent. 

 

 

 

Thank you again for providing this blog and please feel free to post any portion of  the attached letter or e-mail.

 

 

 

Best regards, 

 

 

Mary Hughes

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

                              

                                                - Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Download 7_6_07_MCM_to_James_Ciesel.pdf

Comments

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  • I think the power of principals to evaluate teachers is totally unfair. Principals can and do lie on evaluations and there is no one who can dispute what they say. On my final rating before I retired, the principal put down that positive behavioral plans was a weakness and yet the state commended me for my plans and for the fact that before I became case manager many students who were ED didn't have plans. During my year as Case Manager, all ED students had plans written as well as any student who was suspended repeatedly (more than 3 times even if they weren't special ed). For me, it was only the difference between an excellent and a superior but I resented that it was based on something that was false. In addition, I saved a SPED teaching position and two aide position by writing the argument for the principal. The state also said that I should be training other teachers on putting together the folders because mine were the best organized of any they had seen.

    There should be some provision for teachers to challenge a rating and an indepent person come in and observe the teacher to determine the validity of the rating. Right now, ratings can only be challenged if the principal doesn't follow the procedure timelines.

    I have been rated several times by principals that never observed me. Fortunately, I was hired before this firing without cause because outspoken teachers who stand up for the students are often targeted by principals.

    I hope this case goes all the way and can change this procedure.

  • I'm not surprised by any of this. This kind of thing happens all the time ... no matter where you are: suburbs, Archdiocese or CPS. Like it or not (and I don't, by the way), it's the politics of the educational system.

  • Your right, only some do.

    What about Cathy Lawton, is anything going to happen to her?

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