Green says as a candidate, he is more than a teacher | RecordCourier.com
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Green says as a candidate, he is more than a teacher

by Merrie Leininger, staff writer

Randy Green says he wants voters to consider him as a citizen, a parent and someone who wants to contribute to his community as a member of the Douglas County School Board.

Green, who has taught at Douglas High School for the past 23 years, says he doesn’t want to be considered as a teacher representative and, despite what the school district says, he believes there isn’t a conflict of interest for a teacher to sit on the school board.

“As a government teacher, I’m afraid when the government writes laws to protect people from their own ignorance. If the elective body clearly has a problem with a teacher on the school board, the easiest way to find that out is at the ballot box,” Green said.

Green maintains he has a right to run for the board despite a Nevada statute that says no one with an interest in any contract the school board considers may sit on the board.

“I believe it is unconstitutional because when you look at other ethics laws, they allow those people with conflicts to abstain. I don’t believe my vote is critically important – my input may have a lot more impact than my vote,” Green said. “If people are afraid of me getting in there and right away raising the terms of my contract, they need to talk to somebody who has known me over the last 23 years.”

Green maintains that he should not be considered any differently than board members who have spouses who work for the district, because the statute says “any” interest in a contract.

Green applied to fill the vacancy that John Raker was appointed to in December 1998. At that time, the board’s conclusion was a teacher cannot sit on a school board. Since that time, Green has attended and spoken at many school board meetings.

He said he could continue to address the board in that way, but he thinks the best way for him to contribute his expertise in education is to be a board member.

“I think the way I can contribute is in the policies that they are trying to develop. I am part of that daily in the classroom. It gives me a direct view of the policies. I was on the DAC committee which wrote those competencies,” Green said. “I feel because teachers have questions about those competencies, those concerns have fallen on deaf ears or have been criticized for the timing of the complaints. This has lead me to believe the board would benefit, before they make a decision, from the perspective of the people who will put these policies in place.”

Green, whose wife, Karen, is also a DCSD teacher, has two grown children who went through the district. He said the schools have many positive, even great, facets, but he has grave concerns about the direction the district is heading.

Green spent much of the summer visiting family in Texas, where he witnessed a school system that was in a state of disrepair because teachers are required to teach students only how to pass tests.

“Teachers (in Texas) are leaving because the most important area of learning – quality instruction – is being done in a superficial way,” Green said. “We are moving in that direction and asking teachers to participate in that and call it learning. It is going to drive a lot of teachers away. In exit interviews, 19 percent of teachers in Texas said they left because of the system. That concerns me. I don’t think we can replace quality instruction.”

Green said a way to avoid that problem is to install a better supervision and review program for teachers. Currently, he said, an administrator visits a classroom for a total of 20 minutes a year, or a teacher can write down their own goals at the start of the year and then confirm to an administrator they met their goals.

“There are a very small number of teachers who aren’t performing in the classroom, but they end up hurting the credibility of the professionals with the passion to teach,” Green said.

Green said he reached a “low point” when a supervisor defended a teacher Green thought was clearly incompetent.

“That says the children’s time doesn’t matter. Where teachers used to have fun talking about how bad those teachers were, I just don’t find it humorous anymore. It allows critics of what we are doing to have validation,” Green said.

Green suggested letting in students on the review process.

“Every student who has been in one of those classrooms knows it. Students have no input whatsoever. Working with 12th graders, I have moved my decisions about how I teach over the past 23 years by what the students tell me. They know how they learn the best. Why shut down that source of critical information. We really missed the boat on that,” he said.