By Rosalie Tirella
After reading all the pieces on Joe O’Brien’s inauguration day festivities (I wasn’t invited to the ball and InCity Times was emailed no public announcement about it to post in the paper so our readers could attend – unlike two years ago, when Konnie Lukes became mayor and I got ALL the info and a beautiful invitation to boot), I ask: Will things really change in Worcester with Joe at the helm? Will O’Brien really be any different from a pol who rewards his pals and punishes anyone who doesn’t agree with him? More important: Will things really change/improve in the Worcester Public Schools now that Mayor O’Brien says he wants to make the WPS system the best urban school system in America?
Actions speak louder than words, my momma always told me. This is what I have to go on so far: Continue reading Will things really change with Mayor Joe O’Brien at the helm? (he also heads our school committee)
By William S. Coleman III
I will always remember the night of November 4, 2008. On this night America elected a qualified man – a black man – to be the next President of the United States of American and leader of the free world.
That night I joined a packed house of people gathered at a Green Street pub to watch the election returns.
There were all races of people: male and female, 21 and older, digital and analog. We came together to witness history and hoped history would be on our side that night.
The room would erupt, as the election returns would come in first from the East Coast: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and then New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, and the big shocker, Florida – all for Barack Obama. Continue reading Black like me: Worcester’s Black leaders – a brief history (part 1)
By Rosalie Tirella
We say go for it, Worcester City Council! Instead of putting up with the Worcester School Department’s human resources office and its incestuous ways, move the whole shee-bang over to the city side. School HR head Stacy Luster is not running a stand up human resources department. WPS teachers are not hired for their job skills or training. They got their jobs because they had relatives or pals in the Worcester Public School system. Stacy, who is an African-American, runs a system that has a miniscule number of black teachers or principals. She should be ashamed of herself. Several years ago, InCity Times did a cover story on the lilly white WP Schools. Ten Worcester public schools – many with minority-majority student populations – had ZERO people of color in teaching or administrative positions. Talk about a lack of good role models! InCity Times and local neighborhood actvists made a stink over this. InCity Times urged Luster to go to some of the great African American colleges in the South – Spellman, Moorehouse – and do some serious recruiting. Did she listen? No. She just waved in all the friends and relatives of the politicians and big shots in town. Why? Probably not to make waves. Probably to keep the right people happy so she could keep her job! Some community leader!
Years ago, I talked with a Worcester Public School teacher who told me a teacher, especially in the ’60s, ’70s, had to be “mega-connected” to get a teaching job in the City of Worcester. Now you just have to be connected.
Please look at the uncertified teacher list! Many are special needs “teachers.” These pretenders should be shot. Working with Worcester’s most vulnerable students – and totally unqualified for their jobs! In Milford, a Special Needs teacher can’t step into a Special Needs class without the proper special needs certification. And after they get their job, they have to start working on their Master’s Degree. Not in Worcester. So, you’re certified to teach history? Well then, take over this Special Needs class filled with kids who may be on meds, emotionally troubled, struggling with school work. Special Needs classes became a dumping ground for uncertified/unqualified teachers (in other words, people’s pals).
What a mess.
But we like the idea of having the WPS HR department taken over by the City of Worcester’s HR dept. By having all teachers’ paper work and people’s resumes in City Hall – not Irving Street – we may get a hiring process that is more equitable. Yes, the School Committee needs to have their say. And no way should someone who doesn’t know the proper rules be allowed to hire teachers. Like StacyLuster has been doing for years … .
By Rosalie Tirella
Well, we’ll be zipping over to the Worcester Public School Administration Building on Irving Street to pry the list of UNCERTIFIED WPS teachers from the cold, almost-dead hands of WPS bureaucrats. We will get the list of men and women who don’t have the training, the background, the STATE-mandated paperwork, etc, to teach children of all races, classes, intellectual capacities, emotional states, etc, yet manage to have pulled down plum jobs as teachers in our public schools! We will run this list of folks on our website, so all of Worcester will know just how deep the nepotism sludge is in this town.
This is not to say uncertified teachers must not be a part of the school system. I once knew a Holy Cross grad who majored in math. He wanted to go to med school – he was young, 23 – but decided to give teaching a whirl. He was totally “unconnected” – from another state, in fact. Well, he got a job as a “sub” in our schools, then “building sub” (one school), then finally got his own math class – at South High (a tough assignment for a 24-year-old kid). But he survived and excelled because he REALLY KNEW HIS MATH. He was – and the kids told him this – better than the other (certfied) math teachers because he really knew his stuff. As soon as he got this new job, he signed on for the teacher certification program at a local college. He went to school at nights to get his teaching courses/certification under his belt. I think it took him one to two years of night school to get certified. This is the kind of UNCERTIFIED teacher the WPS should accept – a great candidate whose command of the subject matter is excellent, probably superior to a “regular,” certified teacher. But what happend with the Byrnes broad – a pretender if ever there was one – and enabled by Stacy Luster – is WRONG. This woman knows nothing about special needs, inner-city kids. This woman was a secretary, for God’s sake.
I have heard from numerous folks on the subject. One guy who works at a local automotive shop – a blue collar guy who works hard so his kids didn’t have to labor the way he does – has a daughter who became a special education teacher. She has a masters degree in the subject. She’s a great person. She is certified in SPED. She applied for a SPED teacher job in the WPS – and got nowhere. The Worcester School Department didn’t even send her a boring note acknowledging her cover letter and resume. Why? Because she was totally UNCONNECTED to any politician in this town or anyone who worked/works in our city schools!
Pathetic. Let’s get this list of uncertified teachers! And we will post them on this website! The good ones, like my Holy Cross pal, will survive the “outing.” They will be qualified for their jobs, they will be working towards their certification. The remainder? Fire away!!!
Stacy Luster is very lucky. Any other normal city and she would have had her head served to her on a silver platter (and we are not being racist because we are 100% behind the hiring of Dr. Boone, an African American woman, to be the NEW school superintnedent for this city’s schools – not Stephen Mills, a connected Worcester guy, who, if Konnie Lukes weren’t mayor, would have worked his connections and run our schools (into a hole). School Superintendent Loughlin says she will not fire Luster, suspend … nothing. “Everybody makes mistakes,” Loughlin says.