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."
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