The Worcester School Department can’t do the job

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 … .

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