For years I have been writing about Superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s open disdain toward teachers and he has shrugged it off.

 

Vitti admitted that he considered teachers little more than easily replaceable “widgets.”

Teachers aren’t widgets, they are caring professionals who sacrifice much. Shame on the superintendent for thinking they were any less.

Now that there is a teacher shortage suddenly Vitti has changed his tune

I don’t believe it; circumstances have changed. During the downturn anybody with a diploma on the wall was willing to try teaching; now it takes a special sort to show up. Fewer and fewer are doing so.

Because of Vitt’s open disdain toward teachers and what they do, he is partly responsible for our shortage but he doesn’t take ownership of that.

How many careers have ended prematurely because of his leadership? How many teachers left the district to go to other ones where they were appreciated? How many people retired early to get away from him?

I don’t believe it for a second, and one of the way I can tell is by his use of the word widget. The district has sent truckloads of cash to an outfit called the New Teacher Project. They are the superintendent’s favorite source for data collection and consultation. Well, the project’s guiding principle is called the “widget effect,” which basically says you can fire teachers to succeed. Well, friends, birds of a feather flock together.

I ask School Board members: How can we have a leader who only cares about teachers when he has to or when he has no other choice and has driven teachers away, why do you still allow him to lead?

We are never going to reach our potential as long as we marginalize and disrespect teachers, or as long as we have a leader who only appreciates them when he is forced to.

A leopard can’t change its spots, and I can’t imagine the superintendent’s real opinion about teachers has changed either.

Chris Guerrieri, teacher, Jacksonville