Tom Field Principal Ousted Here, Then in D.C., Tells Washington Post She Did Nothing Wrong

RoslynCarterDISD.jpg
Roslyn Carter
In November The News broke the news that Roslyn Carter, the principal at Tom Field Elementary, took teaching to the test a little too far -- at least, according to Dallas Independent School District investigators. Acting on anonymous tips, the district says it discovered that Carter told her third-grade science, social studies and music teachers to teach nothing but math and reading; the kids still got science, social studies and music grades, sure, only they weren't, you know, real. Field was an exemplary school, all right, but at quite the cost.

Hard to say whether Carter was actually fired from the DISD, since it's district policy not to discuss personnel matters. But a few weeks ago she turned up in D.C. as the newly hired principal of an elementary school there. Which didn't sit well with The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss, who asked D.C. Public Schools officials whether they properly vetted Carter's track record here. In the end, they said: No, we did not. And so Carter was fired before she ever began.

This morning, Strauss follows up with a piece in which Carter's Dallas attorney, Jesse Hoffman, insists she did nothing wrong while at DISD and that this was all just one big "misunderstanding." Hoffman's convoluted explanation has to do with how the four third-grade teachers at Field divvied up math, reading, science and social studies; a decision to "to 'integrate' their assigned subjects throughout the year"; and mistakes made when scores were entered into GradeSpeed. Writes Hoffman in the explanation provided to The Post:
"The conclusions about an unbalanced curriculum sprung in large part from a misunderstanding of the third grade's 'integrated' curriculum. While neither third grade Reading/Social Studies teacher claimed to have ignored a topic, both insinuated that they devoted less time than they should have to Social Studies. Of course the integrated teaching style was instituted at the request of these same teachers, and they had already begun the year by successfully integrating both of their assigned subjects equally and without issue.

In any event, the witnesses relied on by the District's investigator all offered roughly the same deposition testimony to attorneys; they either had no personal knowledge of wrongdoing by Carter, or they had mischaracterized perfectly acceptable behavior as wrongdoing. These allegations never resulted in criminal charges or even a formal termination, but the experience alone was enough to destroy the career of an accomplished Dallas based educator."
Read the whole thing here.
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18 comments
Jennyavalso94
Jennyavalso94

im in tom w field elementary and poor ms carter she was a good principal 1 hour off gym it was cool not now now it is 30 minutes

Retired Texas Teacher
Retired Texas Teacher

The Washinton Post article does not make it sound like she was victimized. Her letter's lawyer makes it sound like she was the victim. The fact is people complained about it. She was investigated and TERMINATED. She appealed her termination. At some point in time, she resigned. We don't know what happened from the time she received her termination letter and to the time she or her lawyer agreed to or submitted a resignation letter.

The facts speak for themselves. She broke several policies and was terminated. Ask any parent about Ms. Carter and they'll say, oh, they won't speak. They are probably still too afraid of her.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Until our public school mandated testing fixation is tempered with the reality of what testing can really show, such disasters will continue. Within the past 24 hours Dr. Diane Ravitch has published a very solid critique of "Finnish Lessons" by Pasi Sahlberg that includes the following paragraph on testing: (from: http://www.nybooks.com/article... )

"Testing can provide useful information, showing students and teachers what is and is not being learned, and scores can be used to diagnose learning problems. But bad things happen when tests become too consequential for students, teachers, and schools, such as narrowing the curriculum only to what is tested or cheating or lowering standards to inflate scores. In response to the federal and state pressure to raise test scores, school districts across the nation have been reducing the time available for the arts, physical education, history, civics, and other nontested subjects. This will not improve education and is certain to damage its quality."

This is what we see happening.  When she wrote this Dr. Ravitch just did not see the potential for also reducing the time available for math, reading, science and social studies as happened at Tom Field Elementary due to the tyrany of the test.

Reader199876
Reader199876

Whatever happened to neutral reporting?  Here's a link to the Post article with the full statement by Carter's attorney (http://dmn.beloblog.com/cgi-bi....  The explanation is not "convoluted" at all.  It actually sounds like a couple of third grade teachers got themselves into hot water and then did everything they could to shift the blame to their boss.  She went through a nightmare clearing her name, and then moved to DC to start over.  None of this suggests the devious side story this reporter is suggesting.

cliffhanger
cliffhanger

Do it at your school, you get fired. Do it for a whole district, and you get a cushy new job in Georgia.

FormerDISDTeacher
FormerDISDTeacher

When I taught at Hope Medrano Elementary the Principal Mr. Weir did the same thing to third grade. No science or social studies for the last four months of school. English and Math only in to prep for TAKS. This was just a few years ago. This is endemic in the system. 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Change a few words and Sandusky comes to mind .

 In any event, the witnesses relied on by the District's investigator all offered roughly the same deposition testimony to attorneys; they either had no personal knowledge of wrongdoing by Carter, or they had mischaracterized perfectly acceptable behavior as wrongdoing.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Wow, talk about the biggest pile of bullsch i've ever heard...

Ricky Hollywood
Ricky Hollywood

"I'm sorry if all the subterfuge, sketchy record keeping, and evidence made you think I was doing something wrong because, you know, I totally wasn't."

Teacher4629
Teacher4629

How many principals do we have to burn before we just acknowledge that the state mandated focus on benchmarks and testing is the real problem.  If you actually read the Washington Post article, it sounds like this Principal was badly victimized.  There were a couple of bad teachers in the third grade, they got yelled at by their boss for ignoring their duties, and then they retaliated by filing an anonymous complaint against her.  Its just too easy to paint a principal as a a bad guy when the state passes down mandates that make the principal look like a bad guy.  If you don't want principals teaching to the test, stop passing law requiring them to teach to the test.

Another Retired Teacher
Another Retired Teacher

Reader199876, I don't think Ms. Carter cleared her name. She was investigated, terminated and placed on "Administrative Leave" in August 2011. Many people that work at Tom Field and the ones that left during her assignment do NOT think highly of her. Some of her employees complained about her prior to this incident. Some were "Riffed"  and at least 5 others resigned by October 2008.

In three short years, at least 20 teachers and staff resigned, retired, or transferred to other schools under her leadership and Field is a small school. This includes custodial and cafeteria staff, counselor, parent liaison, teacher assistants and yes, teachers. 

The parents stopped attending school functions. The PTA is non-existent at the school at this time. In my opinion, she did not make the parents, predominantly Hispanic, feel welcome; they were afraid of her, in my opinion, as were many staff members.

You can not paint Ms. Carter as a victim. Karma...

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Oh, please.

These bad 3rd grade teachers apparently "retaliated" by filing a pretty accurate complaint bc the district didn't buy the principal's explanations.

It is NOT easy to paint a principal as a bad guy; the principals have way more power than teachers.

The anonymous whistleblowers did the kids a favor.If the principal couldn't stand the testing pressure without taking it out on the kids she had no business being a principal.

It looks like karma agrees.

real reader
real reader

um, your link was what RW already had in his last sentence. " Read the whole thing here." 

just some guy
just some guy

I don't understand what you're talking about.  Did a teacher get in trouble for independent thinking?  It looks like the article is about a principal who got in trouble because her teachers stopped teaching the subjects she had asked them to teach.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Maybe you need to get a better understanding on just how micro managed schools are .This kind of independent thinking by a Third grade teacher wouldn't be tolerated be very easy to expose  and swiftly dealt with.

Reader199876
Reader199876

 Ok... so follow that link.  However you get there, you should read the real article.  It's significantly different from the report offered about it here.

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