Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hey Teacher, Leave That Blog Alone

The Education Intelligence Agency has the story:

EIA Blog Under Scrutiny by Tribal Charter School Board. The following item appeared in the October 17 EIA Communiqué:

"Charter for Chippewas Goes Union. The Michigan Education Association has won a union representation election for the 33 teachers at the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting Anishnabe charter school in Sault Ste. Marie. The school is located on the reservation of the Chippewa Tribe. Bahweting is a high-achieving school, but also high-spending. With funding from state, federal and tribal sources, the school spends about $15,000 per student."

The next day, I updated the story on the EIA blog, Intercepts. And on October 20, my blog entry noted that MEA had filed an unfair labor practices complaint against school officials, because they announced they would "freeze Bureau of Indian Affairs funding that provides more than half of the school's operating budget" and Tribal Chairman Aaron Payment "threatened to let the school's charter expire at the end of the year, and then open a new, non-union charter school next year, in which the teachers would be tribal employees on loan to the school."

The October 20 item caught the eye of people involved in the story, on both sides, and for the past three weeks they have "adopted" that portion of the blog as a sort of bulletin board to argue their positions. As I write these lines, there are 233 anonymous comments on the Bahweting page.

Evidently school and tribal officials have gotten wind of the blog, and are under the mistaken impression that it was created by teachers at the Bahweting school. A well-placed source tells EIA that the board is threatening retribution against anyone "who set up the blog," to include the loss of his or her job.

These efforts would be either funny or pathetic if it weren't for the fact that there are teachers who are understandably fearful of losing what might otherwise be considered an attractive job. I encourage Bahweting's teachers to continue posting on their adopted blog. There is absolutely no way for school or tribal officials to learn your identity, should you wish to remain anonymous.

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