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Posted on Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Parents fight for reinstatement of teacher at Ann Arbor Learning Community

By Danielle Arndt


About 35 community members attended Ann Arbor Learning Community’s Board of Directors meeting Tuesday, compared to the typical three to five, to express their desires that an influential teacher be justly disciplined for her actions, not terminated.

Danielle Arndt I

The mandatory administrative leave of a beloved teacher at Ann Arbor Learning Community had parents demanding information Tuesday at the charter school’s Board of Directors meeting.

Parents say the teacher’s forced absence is the third instance of this nature that the school has experienced in less than a year. The previous two instances resulted in favorite teachers being permanently removed from their classrooms, said Pamela McElmeel, mother of an AALC pupil.

"I am here tonight in support of all the teachers here. Every one of them is outstanding," she said, adding if this pattern of firing good teachers without good cause continues, the school will fall apart.

Board members received and responded to emails and letters sent over the weekend — about 25 in total — from upset parents, staff members and even a couple of children regarding how disciplinary action with the aforementioned teacher was handled.

But most significantly, the incident has parents of AALC questioning the power and role of third-party human resource provider, Michigan Educational Personnel (MEP) Services.

Hiring and firing decisions


Malverne Winborne

While AALC is a self-managed charter school, it contracts with Brighton-based MEP for its teachers and staff, said Malverne Winborne, director of Eastern Michigan University’s Charter Schools Office.

“MEP hires and places the employees,” Winborne said.

EMU is the authorizer of AALC, a K-8 school that was founded in 1997.

According to its website, MEP is a professional employment organization with the focus of “providing excellent human resource management services and employee administration services” so the schools it helps can focus on educating children.

Carlie Lockwood, vice president of human resources for MEP, described the company’s role as similar to that of a superintendent and his cabinet within a traditional public schools district.

AALC does not have a superintendent or any top-tier administrators, only a dean and the Board of Directors.

“Except the board cannot evaluate the school leader,” Lockwood said. “The dean is our employee. … Through the dean, we make the hiring and firing decisions.”

carlie lockwood.jpg

Carlie Lockwood

Lockwood stressed MEP works very closely with the dean, who is responsible for conducting teacher evaluations. However, as the human resource arm of the schools it contracts with, MEP conducts all staff disciplinary investigations.

While Lockwood could not discuss the review process of the employee in question, she ensured the public the investigation would be completed as soon as possible and acknowledged the situation must be “understandably frustrating” for parents.

Rallying the troops

About 35 parents attended Tuesday’s board meeting to protest the removal of teacher Wendy Nagle and to insist she be allowed to continue teaching at AALC.

A typical meeting draws three to five parents of the school’s approximately 260 students, said Board President Simon Whitelocke.

“Mrs. Nagle has done a great job of steering (our son) and has caused his academics to bloom,” said one father, James Goebel.

In their letters to the board, other parents threatened if Nagle was not reinstated, they would drop their children off 10 minutes late for class or keep them home on Count Day, Feb. 8.

Nagle was placed on leave last week by former Dean Ticheal Jones following an incident where she allegedly dropped a book on a child’s head after an altercation with the child.

The child’s father, David Simmons, said he believes the incident was an accident and he expressed discontent with the school for not asking him if he and his wife desired to pursue the situation.

“About two years ago, when we first considered moving our daughter to Ann Arbor Learning, we found ourselves observing in Wendy (Nagle’s) classroom. She was a major part of our decision to come here,” Simmons said.

Jones left AALC Wednesday for personal reasons after three and a half years at the helm, Whitelocke said.

Better communication and accountability

The actions against Nagle and the two previous teachers taken during Jones’ tenure have caused several community members to question the accountability parents can expect of their future dean, especially considering the board has no direct oversight of him or her.

“As adults, we understand that employees sometimes don’t make benchmarks … As adults, we understand certain procedures must be followed,” said parent Claire Sparklin. “As an adult, I am capable of understanding that MEP is merely doing the job they are paid to do. But my children are not adults.”

She said her kids are being taught that no matter how connected they are to their teacher, no matter how talented that teacher is, that teacher still can be taken away.

“This is disruptive to students’ education,” Sparklin continued. “Children need stability.”

Vice President Valerie Mates said a number of parents suggested soliciting input annually from the community on the dean’s performance. But Whitelocke was more cautious.


AALC Board President Simon Whitelocke speaks to the crowd at Tuesday’s meeting, addressing some of the procedures and roles of the board for those who had not attended a meeting before.

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“One of the assets charter schools have is a lot of parental input,” he said. “But the question is how do we harness that? … It seems to me we keep stubbing our toe on this issue.”

He recommended the board work on drafting a pamphlet or other informational pieces to outline the specific roles of the board, the dean, the employment organization and the public.

Also on the agenda for next month’s meeting will be recommendations from the school’s communications committee, consisting of board members, parents and teachers, on how to best get the word out to parents, especially when a teacher is no longer going to be in a classroom.

The committee was established in summer 2011 following an incident involving a teacher, Mates said. She added the committee is putting together a “script” to follow if a teacher must be disciplined.

Parents at Tuesday’s meeting said they were not adequately notified of Nagle’s departure nor were they informed about who would be teaching their children in her absence.

In the coming months, MEP will be collecting resumes on behalf of the charter school for a new dean. Interim Dean Bill Morgan said the most important step of the process will be “determining what is it the constituents want, what the staff and parents want.”

Morgan was brought in by MEP to fill the open position temporarily. He served as the interim dean four years ago as well, prior to the board approving Jones.

“We will get it right,” he said.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


A Friend

Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Ooops ran out of room... Would like an Assistant Dean and/or a liaison for teachers to help improve communication Guess I blithered on too much... :)

A Friend

Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

I agree about count day. It doesn't help the kids if there is no money to pay teachers, and no school. I hope this teacher will be reinstated soon because we need to get back to the task of educating our children. I think it's fair to say that most teachers teach because they care about children. In a 15 year span, I expect any teacher would get some complaints. I do not in any way, mean to diminish the value of those who have had negative experiences. It is important to look further into when and why the relationship between the teacher and student began to deteriorate. We don't all get along, even with the best intentions and that goes for kids and teachers too. These people are often in the position of dealing with several challenging students at once, with no teacher's aid. Last year I never heard my kid's teacher yell once. This year (same teacher) I've heard her raise her voice a lot... different kids, different dynamic and new challenges, some of them even from my daughter. :) I see a failure by the administration (community?) to recognize early enough when students and teachers are mismatched and do something about it before things escalate to the point of "the worst meltdown my kid ever had" as Jessica put it. Bad chemistry can affect the entire classroom. If the relationship remains unproductive, why not try moving the child to another room? One teacher can't always crack the code with a child. A parent shouldn't assume the problem lies solely with the teacher. Some kids truly have special needs and others just want their own way. The admin could help by taking a more active role in guiding these people in the right direction. We need a Dean who can not only "right the ship", but improve the morale of these teachers and really tend to their needs as well as to the needs of our children. It all rolls downhill... Not a fan of the third party either. Would like an Assistant Dean and/or a liaison for teachers to help im


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

It's a absolutely a problem of the lack of support in the system, and it's positive behavior support or I should say lack of it, is a horrendous problem in the school system in this state, and it's even worse in charter schools. But it's part of life is to learn to take direction from adults, different kinds of adults.

A Friend

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

I think I'm being misunderstood...:) The meltdown I'm referring to came from the child and I don't even know their personal situation but was using it as an example because the parent who commented here was adamant that this teacher was inappropriate for her child. I have witnessed another instance where the parents did not want a child to remain with a teacher and the admin did not support a class move so they just pulled the child out of the school entirely. Teachers rarely want a child moved, I don't think... (?) They have little breakthroughs on a daily basis, and then sometimes it's right back to square one. Children often get the most worked up with the people they trust. :) But that's not always the case and parents have the final say. I agree with these things you're saying about positive reinforcement etc, but I'm not seeing confidence in the system on the part of these parents. so what would you suggest for them? Who is responsible for the breakdown in their "support system"? I have a friend who was deeply involved in a program called "Wrap-Around" , one of MI's most comprehensive support programs ever created. It helped a lot of kids, a lot of families.... And of course was eventually abandoned by the agency (State?) when she was doing some of the best work she's ever done with kids. Money..............


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

No, I don't think it's a good idea to move the child because the adult is having the meltdown. Kid's who are difficult benefit and are entitled to positive behavior support and a behavior intervention plan and those often get executed with the help of an aide. That would mean the teacher would have to be involved, and there would likley, ok, given it's a charter, absolutely there would need to be professional development by qualified professionals. It's a disservice to kids to have them wander around looking for a good school that's a good fit, especially a school that is a public schools. There's laws on the books if schools don't do that.

A Friend

Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

cette, you don't think a child might need a different teacher if there is really bad chemistry between them? It was just 1 suggestion out of several possible ideas parents and staff might choose from is all.... I wasn't referring to special needs kids in particular, I meant any kid who wasn't thriving in his/her current environment. I totally agree that it would be good to have more staff, more aids - whatever. AALC had cut another beloved teacher over the Summer because of budget issues. And speaking of Special needs, I know they have a good support team, but I'm sure they wish there were funds to expand the way they'd really like to... Money, money money.... :(


Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

why move a kid? Special needs kids are entitled to least restrictive environment and it's the schools responsibility to ensure the supports and accomodations including extra class staff etc are in place to make that happen.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

As a parent of two students that attend AALC, I can directly speak about this incident. I have a student that is in the class, and I fully support the teacher in question. My children have been attending the school for over 5+ years now, attending since kindergarten, and as a family we love the school. We love the community feel and involvement. We love that we are heard and can participate in the classroom with our children. We support Ann Arbor Learning Community and it is quite bothersome reading some of the comments due to lack of knowledge about the entire incident.

Post It Notes

Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 4:38 a.m.

My children attend the public non-profit school Ann Arbor Learning Community. I was a parent who attended this very same board meeting with the journalist who wrote this article. What I took away from the meeting was that we were a community coming together to offer support for our school and a well respected teacher. The meeting itself was very community oriented. Parents got up and spoke in support of Wendy, but also for our school. We heard two great presentations from teachers about the unique ways they've been experiencing education in their classroom. A 2/3 class was studying habitats and made bat houses that they installed on nearby property, checking on it's success throughout the year. The Middle School class was studying with a Middle School class in France doing all kinds of really awesome stuff. But, that of course isn't so news worthy! Bottom line is that AALC is a wonderful school full of great opportunities for students. Every school has their issues but AALC's benefits far outweigh anything else. There are amazing opportunities at AALC!


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 4:02 a.m.

As a former member of the AALC community, I hope to encourage everyone to realize that there are two sides to every story. Nagle may be the third incident of a loss of a teacher at AALC in the past year and a half, but one of the other losses was primarily due to budget and enrollment numbers. Furthermore, perhaps this has not been the first incident with Nagle reaching a point where she may not have the continuing patience and skills with handling the large number of difficult children placed in her classroom. She cannot be faulted here, but it is also not acceptable. It MUST also be noted that protesting on COUNT DAY will not solve anything as it will significantly reduce funds to the school and therefore hurt EVERYONE in the long run. Not a responsible solution.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

I count four--three teachers, one due to budget cuts, and the dean.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

It doesn't speak well that the school didn't support a teacher before this point,and that is an administrative issue.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

Speaking as a former AALC parent and board member, it is very upsetting to see the AALC community being fractured in this way. My son was in Wendy Nagle's classroom for 4 years and I spent one day every week in her classroom myself. Her patience with even the most difficult children is legendary. There is clearly another issue occurring here. When I was an AALC board member, there was no outside contractor for human resources - it was handled between the Dean and the board. It might be more work for the board, but it is also the best way to ensure that the parent and student community is heard and is part of the process.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

"The child's father, David Simmons, said he believes the incident was an accident and he expressed discontent with the school for not asking him if he and his wife desired to pursue the situation." My favorite sentence in this article.

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

"cette" When a parent of a child in an "altercation" is supportive of a teacher in question, it leads people to question the motives of the Dean. There is much they are sorting out as it isn't the first time the Dean had made decisions that many felt were confusing and rather poorly timed... I myself had always liked the Dean and found her to be accessible for the most part. That doesn't mean I've always agreed with her....... :) Whether or not there are more "altercations" involving this teacher coming into play, we do not know. She is loved by many, although not everyone has had shared this experience. I imagine that is the same with any teacher. One thing is for sure, we are some pretty cohesive parents, and news travels fast. If a teacher hit one of our kids with a book, you can best believe we'd be on it like stink on a monkey and that person would most likely have been fired days ago..... There's more going on, we just need to keep communication open and work together to right our ship............. We do not fully understand all of the relationships here. We can only hope that the decisions being made from above are based on sound and fair information. A person's livelihood is at stake, and there is a broken system in need of some repair. And there is a child who may need some extra support. I hope our AALC community can soon shift it's focus back to addressing the needs of this child, and the needs of all of our children. ;)

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

I hear ya.... :( And I don't mean to make it more so, just want people to know we love our school and we're doing what we can...


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

I hate when issues like this are in the public.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

As a parent that has a child attending AALC for the last 7 years. I have seen many things happen that I do not agree with as well as many things that I do agree with. The teacher in question is a wonderful teacher as well as a wonderful community member. In reading some of these comments I see allot of "comments" from people who do not understand what it is like to be a part of our community. I hope that we get our teacher back soon and our children can move on from this experience. I stand by my school as well as it's teachers. I trust that my child is being nurtured, taught and respected when she is there, as has always been the case. The only thing I question is the 3rd party for profit company. They do not know our school, our teachers, our children or our parents this I do have a problem with.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

When it comes to the Dean it sounds to me like there is no accountability. It also sounds to me like the charter school teachers need to unionize. Based on the article this teacher may have a case to sue for defimation if she is fired.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

Please tell us how getting fired could possible be defamation.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

The tail wags the dogs. I'm ignorant to the starting of charter schools, but the "charter" should include allowing the school's board or some sort of independent body to have a role in the hiring/firing process. I get using a third-party provider for paperwork/payroll, but this situation feels like all "rights" are usurped, by MEP services in this case. How can a charter "sell" itself to parents if, ultimately, these types of decisions aren't part of the school community, but are delegated to a third party?

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

As if non-charter schools let the school community make hiring and firing decisions. Yeah right.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

maybe it was the altercation part that's the problem...

Jessica Hughey

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

"A Friend": My son is doing wonderfully and is currently an All "A" student at Skyline High School! I should add that our OTHER 8 years at AALC were absolutely wonderful and I love the school, as a whole. Every one of his "other" teachers were great! When my son went on to Skyline, he was right up to par on all of his academics and had no problems transitioning to a "traditional" public school environment from AALC. I will be forever grateful to AALC for allowing my son to grow and to be himself without fear of bullying. With the exception of 3rd grade, his time at AALC was absolutely perfect. Jen Taylor (who was his Kindergarten/1st Grade teacher and, later, Dean of the school for a short time) is still considered, in our household, to be the second most important woman (behind only me!) in my son's life and I will never forget her.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

Ditto regarding what Terri said. Wendy was a miracle worker for us (our family which includes a student who has a learning disability).

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

I know... glad you have a voice too.... :)


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

A Friend, when you go to the board, please tell them that not all parents of kids with special needs share Jessica's sentiment about Ms. Nagle.

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Looks like your earlier comments were removed, so there goes the balance from a certain voice of experience, but they must have felt certain parts were nasty or whatever and so disruptive to the discussion.... which I get... That being said, it's still a bummer because I think our replies stimulated what could be a rather productive conversation in the end... Like I said, it makes me sad to know you had such a bad experience with this teacher, when others have had such positive experiences. No one can have it all... but your feeling are so strong that it is always worth paying attention to and learning from. So, knowing how you feel, I will take those concerns to the communications committee and introduce the topic of special-needs kids to foster some discussion re: child placement for the future. :) So you see, even though you are no longer there, you do still have a voice.. and it all does matter.... :)

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Awesome! I hope to be able to report the same someday... except for the grade 3 part... :( But it could easily happen. My baby girl is still in First grade and I've had the same teacher for two years. They have been a perfect fit for one another and I am already worrying a little over what 2nd grade will bring. I am trying to get to know all of the teachers as best as I can, but you just can never be sure and I certainly don't have all the control here. We'll see how the "tiger" in me gets if we're not so lucky next time..... No matter what, it is always good to hear from both sides so I appreciate your input... Even if it makes me sad, it keeps the balance here. No one and no situation is perfect forever... we can only stay involved and work toward the best for our kids and for our world! Good luck to you!! ;)

Jessica Hughey

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

@Kara I'm sure my experiences do not match those of the parents who spoke on her behalf. That would be obvious. But, I have to wonder how many of those, who did, have children with disabilities? This teacher seemed - to me - to actually dislike children who did not fit her idea of a "normal" child. I have no idea what 5-10 years of additional experience would have to do with that. No matter what I think - no longer being an AALC parent means I do not have a voice in this matter. Just adding my experience/opinion to the conversation.

J Keller

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

Seems like they are doing the right thing on all fronts. There was an incident in the classroom and the board and community is investigating. That's how it would be handled in a public school or in the business world for that matter. If this teacher is brought back, I hope it's because she is a valuable team member, not because of a protest.

J Keller

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

*A public school (in the Ann Arbor Public School District). Thank you Angry.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

AALC is a public school.

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

An issue has been that board doesn't always have enough pull. When third party management is too close to the Dean, many may feel that there isn't enough mediation, no teacher-support other than the voice of parents... So we worry about oversight, who represents the staff... etc. With no union, who tends to their voice? I'm still learning this process myself... will get someone on this who can explain the hiring - firing process for "EyeHeartA2". Yes "apples", MEP scares the crap out of people.... And yes, Why DO we even need a third party, as per "hank"'s question.... The next question will then be why would anyone work without a union in the first place... hmmmmm and so comes on the next big topic of discussion I imagine.......... :)


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Parents ,please stay on top of this. I suspect this is just the beginning of what is coming in the future. The word for profit doesn't sit well with me.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

So are the consulting firms that Ann Arbor Public Schools hires to recruit administrators, Chris.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

MEP Services is FOR-PROFIT.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

Where did you see that word? Certainly not in this article, which is about a NON-PROFIT school.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Maybe somebody can describe the hiring and firing process at the public school and compare it to AALC? Assuming the MEA is part of the process, maybe they could explain who is the MEA accountable to and why that is better than this system?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7 p.m.

So, Chris, are you saying they are not involved in the firing as well? Or are you just leaving out that part? BTW, I happen to know for a fact union members at the very least sit on interview teams, but don't let the facts get in the way. I was wonder how much further it went.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

You assume incorrectly. The MEA isn't part of the hiring process. What's that line from Bad News Bear about "ass u me"ing anything?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

Yes, somehow I thought the process was as you described.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Well, we know that teachers at non-charter schools can run field trips for one race only, yell at the kids who point out that it's wrong, and get rewarded with a promotion.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

We chose to send both our kids to AALC and are glad we did. It is a supportive community that values kids' individuality. It's not perfect. Communication in particular needs work. But the teachers at AALC go out of their way to know their kids and families. It's a small, tight community with high expectations of the kids' behavior towards each other.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Neither at public, private nor charter schools to parents really get to choose the teachers.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 6:32 a.m.

Isn't it interesting, Dr. E? Some cite the private sector as the ideal. In that part of the economy, customers do not get to choose the employees at the factory. Children are clearly widgets. Teachers are factory workers, and parents are consumers. Or are you advocating a more communistic ground-up approach? Thank you for any clarification you might provide here.

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Some great comments, and some ill-informed ones, as usual... For those of you not involved, please remember that you know nothing about the child, nothing about the teacher and nothing about the incident which even the parents of this child feel has been blown out of proportion. The board will hopefully come to a decision on this that steers this school in the right direction and instills some confidence back into the process.. We, the parents are making our voices clear to the board and the interm Dean. AALC needs some help in many ways and we've gone through a lot over the past couple of years. No, the parents don't often like the "business plan", and the board feels helpless at times, so it is not ideal, believe me. But we love our school, and we love our teachers and we want the best for our kids. We WANT to stay, so we're all trying to work together for better communication and protection on all fronts. Please support us by not jumping to conclusions and making assumptions based on hearsay. There are a lot of great things about Charters, and the not so great things are keeping us in limbo right now. This sucks while we hang on a string, that's for sure. You can really help by staying involved in your schools, and letting your voices be heard where it really makes a difference........


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

I can't speak for the current version of AALC but back in 2001, my son attended this school and received an excellent education. After years of struggling in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, he entered 8th grade 3 grades behind per MEAP scores and left ready to excel at high school and went on to graduate from college. If your child is not a round peg that the Ann Arbor Public Schools are geared to teach, try a smaller charter school, they are much better at teaching the square pegs of the world.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 6:27 a.m.

Oh, Terri, absolutely! There you go! What more does one need?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

No one said that all charter schools are better. discgolfgeek suggested that if your kid isn't getting the education they need in a public school, a smaller charter school might fit the bill. And IME, discgolfgeek is right. Our son had a terrible experience in our neighborhood public school. AALC is a really great fit for him and his sister is excelling there, as well. The communication issues are a big problem, but show me a school without any problems and...well, you can't. So, there you go.

Tony Livingston

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

So all charter schools are better? That is a huge generalization and leap of faith. My kids went to a charter school and fell behind as did many other kids there. There are many different charter schools with many different strengths and weaknesses.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

Now that is just plain nonsense. Everybody knows it is impossible to get a decent education from a charter school. Don't you read the comments in jeese

Kara H

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

You all are making a lot of assumptions based on very little information. The 3rd party management firm can have various levels of involvement based on how a school wants to use their services. In the case of the Dean selection, the Board is responsible for defining the hiring process, which would typically include criteria development with parents, staff and students; possibly screening questions and criteria provided by the Board; and subsequently interviews by the Board and likely a hiring committee made of of parents and staff. I would expect that MEP will post the job, collect resumes and eventually handle the hiring paperwork, insurance, etc. I very much doubt that MEP are evil overlords but rather a contracted service provider with contractual responsibilities but a limited scope of authority. I think this is a mostly the result of communication issue between the AALC Board and community rather than an indictment of the entire charter school system.

A Friend

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

Yes, but an issue has been that board doesn't always have enough pull. When third party management is too close to the Dean, many may feel that there isn't enough mediation.. Where is the oversight, who represents the teaching staff... etc. With no union, who tends to their voice? I'm still learning this process... ;)


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

Third party resource managers select the teachers and the dean. The board of directors have no jurisdiction and can't evaluate the dean. My,my is all I can say.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Talk about a contradiction in terms. " One of the assets charter schools have is a lot of parental input." "The question is how do we harness that?" The word harness has a ring of suppression to it.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

Angry Moderate, I think that "hank" has a point.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

No, actually, "harness parental input" is a perfectly fine phrase unless you're a negative person looking for a reason to complain.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Sorry parents, if you opt to have your children educated by a profit-worshiping organization, you don't have anything to say about its business decisions. I wonder how much money is paid to this "third-party" human resource provider.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 6:23 a.m.

No, Mike D. I think it has been amply demonstrated that managers have no impact whatsoever on anything they manage. The results of a manager's decisions fall squarely on the shoulders of those they manage, whether they have any input, recourse or not. Transparency in matters of public education is unimportant when it comes to management, but essential when it comes to employees. Them that's got shall get; them that's not shall lose.

Mike D.

Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 12:39 a.m.

@Angry Moderate: MEP manages the teachers. You don't think that impacts teaching?

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Chris - the comment was about children "educated by a profit-worshiping organization." MEP does not educate children. They were talking about this school, which is non-profit. Besides that, your criticism has nothing to do with charter schools. The AAPS hires private, for-profit consultants to recruit superintendents and study the achievement gap all time.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

Angry Moderate, the SCHOOL is non-profit. MEP Services is a FOR-PROFIT company. One of the complaints about these third-party service providers is the lack of transparency about how much money they make from these non-profit charter schools. The charter school has to release its budget, like other public schools, but with services off-loaded to a third-party company, there is NO way to know how much of the tax money went into costs associated with running the charter and how much was profit for the third-party firm. The charter school "budget" may simply be a line-item payment to the firm, with no detail behind it (or required).


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

You mean like the say we get in public education (see 2am board of education decisions).


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

AALC isn't for-profit. But don't let facts get in your way.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

It's a non-profit school.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

You have to love the continuity of this charter school. Third party human resource mangers select who will teach at this school. The selection in public schools starts with applications being screened at the superintendent's office. These applications are forwarded to the school needing a new teacher. A group consisting of teachers,parents, and the principal conduct the interview and make their selection. Funny, the people doing the interviewing actually work at and with the members of the school community. Why do charter schools need to contract and pay these human resource companies when public schools can accomplish the task in-house?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

Or they start off sifting through and finding all the sons, daughters, nieces, nephews of current employees......

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Ironic complaint, given that local school districts spend hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring private consultants to interview superintendent candidates.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

You know, people should back the child. I doubt that this was the only thing that happened..

Paul Childs

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

I have had a child in Wendy Nagle's class in the past. She is wonderful with children and I would find it easier to believe that pigs could fly than for this wonderful teacher to deliberately cause harm to a child. AALC lost a wonderful teacher when they foolishly let her go.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Ann23, do you know who reported the incident to the child's parents?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

@craigjjs I understand what you're getting at but, the child's parents weren't there when it happened (I'm making what I think is a safe assumption) and they are not the ones responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of all the kids in the school and they are not the ones who will be held accountable for anything the teacher does in the future.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

You know, the child's parents back the teacher. That should tell you something about what happened.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

And on what do you base that, cette?

Usual Suspect

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

"She said her kids are being taught that no matter how connected they are to their teacher, no matter how talented that teacher is, that teacher still can be taken away." As I was reading this sentence, I was hoping it was going to end with, "That teacher still must not drop books on students heads," which would have been a great lesson for the students, but alas, it didn't.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

Our Republican legislators are hoping it would be this easy to fire any teacher any time. That's why they hate unions.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

The problem with unions is that to often they are a safety net for the lazy and useless. Therefore, it is difficult for people with a strong work ethic to EVER embrace them. Perhaps if they DID take a stand against their useless, drunk, drug using dues paying idiots at times, some of us may not despise them so much. Now, liberal Ann Arbor, go ahead and begin to tear me apart for this statement, it will only make my anti union convictions stronger!! The unions have outlived their usefulness as they became corrupt and to powerful.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Correction: [Tight-fisted people] are hoping it would be this easy to fire [committed] teachers [when their salaries rose above entry level]

Usual Suspect

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Correction: [Reasonable people] are hoping it would be this easy to fire [ineffective] teachers [when necessary]

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

Ah, like when you go to Walmart and get minimum wage service, likewise with 'charter schools' you get management on the cheap, no accountability and it's a hoot how EMU washes its hand of the situation.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

James: Huh?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

The difference is that with a charter school, you can vote with your wallet. In public schools, bad teachers continue to teach because you have no other choice. Monopolies are a bad thing with corporations and the government. Ever hear of rubber rooms? Look it up sometime.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Promptly firing a teacher who dropped a book on a child's head is bad service?

mike gatti

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

Great little system they have there. Shame that little dog pulled away the curtain and Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the rest of us got a glimpse at the great and powerful...well we really don't know who is accountable do we?