Community Protests Northville Teachers' Resignations

Protestors gathered outside the school board's meeting Tuesday.

Students and parents are upset with the way two Northville High School teachers, who have resigned, were treated. Credit: Patch file photo
Students and parents are upset with the way two Northville High School teachers, who have resigned, were treated. Credit: Patch file photo
Two special education teachers, Jennifer Warnock and Lynn Traxler, left their positions at Northville High School because of allegations that they told students to intentionally do poorly on standardized tests. 

Northville students and parents, who thought the teachers were not treated fairly, protested outside the school board meeting Tuesday at Hillside Middle School. The district's actions and the community's response has attracted widespread attention.

>>Scroll through what people have been saying on social media throughout the situation above
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The Northville Public Schools board of education accepted the teachers' resignations by a 6-0 vote at a meeting earlier this month.

The district investigated the situation in the fall after some students in the special education department scored significantly low on the NWEA test. The teachers, who were placed on paid administrative leave, were accused of telling students to perform poorly on the test in the fall but do well on the test in the spring to make the teachers look good, ClickOnDetroit.com reported.

School officials are looking for their replacements. 

Do you think the teachers were treated fairly? What actions do you want the school board to take? Post a comment below.
Denise Nash January 16, 2014 at 01:36 PM
Seriously, what do they think is going to happen when teachers are graded based on test scores? Michelle Rhee of Students First (a misnomer if there ever was one) is one of the largest lobbyists in the state of Michigan. When SHE was the chancellor of Washington DC schools, she instituted this "testing to grade teachers" idea, and teachers were caught changing the test grades, naturally, because they didn't want to lose their jobs over test scores. Testing is NOT a good way to grade teacher's performance.
Tamara January 16, 2014 at 04:21 PM
Common Core is going to make this worse not better. It is flawed on so many levels - but in regards to this - it will be way worse for the teachers (and as a result the students). I feel so sorry for our educators. They have gone to school to be professionals and to spend their days educating our little ones. What do they get for their dedication and commitment? A government that is trying to control their every move and then to rate them unfairly.
Denise Nash January 17, 2014 at 01:45 AM
Tamara - could it be that you and I agree on this? A first! I also have a huge problem with all this testing because a LOT of money that ordinarily would go into the classroom is going to companies that supply the tests! Yet another example of our corporate welfare system.
Tamara January 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM
Yes Denise - it would appear that we agree! Nobody is winning here except some special interests, which is what people at all levels of education have already found out in NY (where they are ahead of us in implementation). I have tons of resources for anybody that is interested in learning about what is about to hit us. This was snuck in on people and I would like to know where the meetings are? We have not had a chance to take part in this whole thing and it is federal control of our children's minds. Many people, like our Board members, will say, "we still have control over curriculum." What they don't get is that if the national test, and the SAT or ACT asks a question and there is one right answer - THAT is what the kids will be taught - one way or the other! Hello Hitler.
Denise Nash January 17, 2014 at 01:21 PM
Well, to tell you the truth, that's the way it's been with the MEAP up until this point. Yes, I am following what is happening in NY. Do you read Diane Ravich's blog? She is the epicenter of educational information nation-wide, IMO.
Chris Apeland January 18, 2014 at 07:28 AM
The problem with this particular situation is that these were special education kids. They test better on Wednesdays than Mondays. Taco day of fish stick days. These two teachers are awsome and were let go due to a personal vendetta by a couple of the administrators. Previously these two long term teachers received excellent reviews. So…..without a warning, talking to, probation, etc they were given two choices… Resign or we will fight and we will go after your teachers license. This is a sham and Northville is losing two of their BEST teachers. I am ashamed of our weak school board members and superintendent that allowed this to happen.
Tim Roy January 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM
There really has not been one shred of evidence given in the firing of these teachers. The administrative superintendent goes on and on about "excellence in education", "it's all about the children", "red flags went up", "professional lines were crossed", "It's a personnel issue we really can't talk about it"? It seems there can only be two sources of evidence that the board could base their decision on. From the students or from the test results. The students were taken into a room with two administrators one of whom is a professional negotiator and questioned/ interrogated for up to 70 minutes. Some of the students saying they were asked questions, gave an answer but then the question would be asked again in a slightly different way. They were also warned they could face serious consequences if they did not tell everything they knew and several were also told that the administrators thought they were lying. They were also told not to talk to anyone about the "questioning that had just taken place. None of the test score information has been released for either the two teachers forced out or for the other teachers in the special education department. What we do know is that these teachers "voluntary resignations" were far from voluntary. They seemed to have received very little support from the MEA and their options were move on or hire an attorney for a year or two and if you lose you lose your teaching certificate in Michigan.
Denise Nash January 18, 2014 at 01:10 PM
@Chris - I am so sorry to hear that the district has lost two valuable Special Education teachers because of this idiotic testing system! Administrators collect big paychecks and it's THEIR JOB to evaluate how well teachers are doing. Leaving it up to test scores will ruin our education system. Interesting to note that in NO COUNTRY where education is valued do they have a system like this. Which is what lead me to believe it's all about the money - follow it right to the corporation supplying the tests.
Denise Nash January 18, 2014 at 01:11 PM
Here you go. I don't know how much Michigan is paying so far...Hmmm.... http://dianeravitch.net/2014/01/18/maryland-common-core-testing-will-codt-100-million/
Denise Nash January 18, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Hi @Tim - This is just horrendous. What give the administration the right to question children as if they were the ones on trial?
Carol Tappan January 18, 2014 at 05:54 PM
Tamara January 18, 2014 at 08:21 PM
Thank you for the helpful link Carol. And so it begins... Fight Common Core people or "you ain't seen nothing yet." Dems voted for it because they want to further the indoctrination of the youth with their liberal agenda. Reps voted for this because they wanted to supply "worker-cogs" to companies. Shame on both parties. This all goes directly against the US Constitution and the Republican principles. They are gathering data on all of our students K-12 and they are going to decide who will do what by 8th grade. Think I sound like a nut? I WISH! Don't take my word for it - look it up yourself - PLEASE! Hello China. Hello Hitler. Goodbye USA.
Tamara January 18, 2014 at 10:53 PM
Denise - Thank you for introducing me to Diane Ravich. Very good stuff. I don't agree with everything she says, and some things she says are not factually accurate, but some things she says are brilliant and right on target. Those jewels are worth the reading to get to them... For example, she calls us a Democracy and we are NOT a Democracy - we are a Republic. There is a big difference. Also, this was written about her, "For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, about learning, about developing character, and about creating citizens for our society. It’s about helping to inspire independent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school education is essential to our democracy, and its aim, since the founding of this country, has been to educate citizens who will help carry democracy into the future." Again with the Democracy error, and there is also an error here about the timing of the start of public education. BUT - the rest is brilliant. Like I said above - schools in the USA are NOT about creating worker cogs... What we have teaches us to think outside the box which is what other countries wish so desperately to have. It is part of what has made the USA great with so many inventions, etc. Also - economic freedom - the chance to make a great life for you and your family. But, this is lost on many, as can be seen by a lot of current policy.
Patrick S Murphy January 20, 2014 at 07:21 AM
Let's get back to the subject here and that is the dismissal/forced resignation of these special teachers. I would like to know why the student's test scores have not been released. I believe those scores, as with all school testing data, is considered public domain as taxes are used to pay for the testing. This is not and should not be over. These teachers deserve better and if the administration can do this to them, then NO teacher in Northville, let alone the highs school is safe. I wonder why we haven't heard from the other teachers at Northville High School, I would say fear and intimidation of keeping their jobs is at play here too. I would love to see what kind of emails the school has put out in response to this event, again another thing that the public should and can have access to, is there someone who can help us get these these emails and test scores? The school district and school board should and need to be held accountable? Where's your proof? Especially since all this is falling under holding "teachers" more accountable. Also at what point does the county or state step in with all this wrongdoing? Special education students being bullied and then interrogated without parent permission, you'd think some state, if not federal, agency would have a problem with this. Must be that this happens to special education students all the time and its okay.
Tamara January 20, 2014 at 09:23 PM
Dear NPS Board Member or Administrator - As a parent, I would like to know what the policy is in regards to: 1) When can school administrators meet with my child to discuss an issue? 2) Who can do it and how many adults is too many? 3) What is the expected time for this type of a meeting and what is considered too long? 4) Can I be included if my child requests it? 5) Where is the line between a respectful and productive meeting and a harassing interrogation? Next questions are for an attorney - What are the rights of the students and the parents? What are the rights of the teachers? How do we fix this to help those involved and how do we prevent it from happening again?
Aysha Jamali (Editor) January 20, 2014 at 09:33 PM
Tamara, I'll reach out to the school board to see if anyone is interested in answering your questions. I'm sure others are wondering about the same things. And thank you to everyone else commenting on this thread. It's creating an insightful discussion.


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