School Supt. Jenney on dangerous ground
The real way bureaucrats mislead the public and subvert the media for their own benefit
Virginia Beach School Superintendent 'Tiny' Tim (the Terrible Little Dwarf - TLD) Jenney is stupidly, but effectively, so far, treading dangerous waters in attacking the people who hire him.
He has sicced his overpaid, high-school educated, junkyard dog assistant on new school board members whom he believes might become troublesome for his despot rule.
His intent is to as ruthlessly 'control' the board as he does the professional teacher corps - through fear and intimidation.
To accomplish this, his modus operandi is to use his 'phony' charm' and if that doesn't work attack, bite at the heels; hide behind the actions of others; 'anonymously seek and destroy board members' credibility through suggested media leaks (or 'story ideas' to 'friendly & naive' reporters) - a favorite track-record tactic of his 'junkyard dog,' Jeanne Evans; and bully and intimidate through those actions to keep dissident members in line.
He is also playing with fire in pitting 'friendly' school board members against those he perceives as a threat to ferment discontent - the old divide & conquer technique.
So far, Jenney has succeeded - leading around by the nose a fawning, rubber stamp board. But beginning in July there was a new group on board - some of them too wise and knowledgeable to even begin to succumb to his phony charm. From the campaign stump, some who got elected let it be known they were not 'TLD' fans.
Since the reign of King Edward (Brickell) I, the quality of superintendents - which have included alleged homosexuals, incompetents & crooks - has been less than commendable. They seem to want to work for their own interests at the expense of the students, professionals, and the city. At the current time Jenney is working under his own policy and agenda because the board is too divided, fearful, and some too incompetent to rule.
To head off problems, Jenney and Evans, sources said, decided immediately to pick off board member Lois Williams - a popular black educator herself who questioned the board's practice of going to a country of growing terrorist activity and political unrest to hire as teachers Filipinos who could pass an English test certifying their comprehension of the language, but who couldn't speak English.
Like all writers who don't have editors, Williams made some grammatical and spelling errors in emails to Jenney & Evans. For one thing she consistently misspelled Philippines as 'Phillippines.' (She probably should learn to use a spell checker, or, better yet write her emails in Word for Windows which has a grammar and spell checker and then cut and paste into her email).
Evans used those errors to suggest that Virginian-Pilot reporter Susan White seek access to Williams' emails under the state's Freedom of Information Act - a stupid and shallow trick Evans is noted for - in an attempt to effectively 'deny' any accountability for the leak and subsequent unflattering story.
White, who wasn't wise to Evans' tricks, swallowed the opportunity 'hook, line, & sinker.' White took great glee in her story highlighting Williams' writing errors (as emphasized by Evans) 'to degrade and show how uneducated and stupid Williams is.'
What White didn't point out was that in Evans' emails to Williams that Evans, who has only a high school diploma, similarly misspelled Philippines as 'Phillippines' in every reference. So much for professional journalism on White's part.
White's simply being used as a pawn of the whims in a very treacherous and possibly dangerous plot by some very insecure, mean-spirited, and desperate people. Media and school officials should both be concerned.
Teachers with English as
2nd language can't always speak English
It behooves us at this time, to look at our own Virginia Beach school system history. In the early'90s, an elementary school a teacher was hired at the last minute for an added classroom.
She was a delightfully warm, caring, well-liked individual. However, the children couldn't understand her.
While she may have "passed" her test for English as a foreign language (TOEFL) for comprehension of the English language, she could not communicate it. And by what means, after all, is teaching accomplished in the U.S. except through effective communications?
This situation, after much parental complaining, ended up in a courtroom. Lots of 9 year olds were the worse off for it.
Now, Lois Williams asks a legitimate question. There are many good qualified teaching candidates here, applying in VB (I know several who can't even get an interview - one, a Filipino-American). But Ms. Williams private comments get leaked to the press (by whom and why?) and the witch hunt is on.
Is Jenney trying to be "politically correct" or "build a constituency"? Listen to her questions and ask yourselves: Who would deliberately try to embarrass a brand new VB School Board member and why?
Many of us suffered through a term of college trying to master a subject being taught by a professor whose English was a second language.
That is much, much different from spending a year forcing the same incompetence on a nine year old.
Name withheld by request - VB