Parents Blast Intern Program

Toledoblade.com, Sep. 29

A member of the African-American Parents Association, a Toledo Public Schools watchdog group, last night reiterated her call that a long-standing program that evaluates new teachers be abolished.

“It is taking up money that could very well be spent elsewhere,” said Twila Page, secretary of the group and a frequent school district critic. “It has no redeeming value, and it can be terminated at any time.”

The Urban Coalition, a network of district watchdog groups that includes the African-American Parents Association, called for eliminating the program in its campaigns against the district’s tax levies last year. Ms. Page addressed the Toledo Board of Education at its meeting last night.

The intern program has received national acclaim but was criticized locally.

Gloria Sturdivant, a teacher not hired after participating in the plan, sued the district, seeking another hearing on her employment. In reversing a lower-court ruling, Ohio’s 6th District Court of Appeals ruled in June she should have a court hearing. The hearing is scheduled for November.

Her husband, Tyrone Sturdivant, also asked that the program be terminated.

The program, dubbed The Toledo Plan, assigns an experienced teacher to new teachers in the district. After a number of classroom visits and evaluations, the veteran teacher makes a recommendation on whether the new teacher should be hired to the intern board of review, which is made up of five teachers and four administrators.

Ms. Page claims the program has a history of eliminating minority teachers.

David Welch, school board president, said that isn’t true. “My belief is that there is no racial bias with the termination of teachers.”

Superintendant Eugene Sanders said the program should not be ended. “We are looking at the pros and the cons,” he said. “There are some who think its time has passed. Personally, I think it has merit.”

An outside evaluation of the program is planned. It was not completed by the beginning of the school year, as the school board and administration had wanted.

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