“All of these initiatives we are doing, we all agree that there are benefits to the children. We all agree that these are good things,” said MOE Minister Dr. Dale Jenkins in his response to the letter of concern endorsed by nearly all of the teachers and principals in the public school system.
Asked if he had addressed the concerns raised by 121 school teachers and principals in an eight-page letter to him in September 2022 that alleges the new initiatives he started were not aligned with Education Masterplan, poorly planned, and not well communicated, among other complaints, Minister Jenkins said that he had.
“The problem was, in the minds of some of the principals, I didn’t involve them in the decision-making,” said Jenkins. Asked whether they should be involved, Jenkins said, “Yes and no, basically these are not new systems. These are not new things I just found out about. I’ve used them for over 15 to 20 years, and they are really good systems.”
The letter of complaint that was signed by over 121 teachers and principals said that the new initiatives implemented by Minister Jenkins were done without adequate preparation, limited training, and lack of involvement from teachers, principals, and parents such as the new grading system, the new reading program, the new scheduling and others related to the new initiatives.
Minister Jenkins said that the initiatives were not new and that they’ve been investigated for years. “I said, what are we waiting for? Why are we always reading about these things? I know this system, and I’ve worked with it,” Jenkins said of his decision to move forward on the initiatives.
The complaints, said Jenkins, stemmed from a reluctance to do new things. “We are asking people to do things they’ve never done before. I understand the reluctance, but I said I will not let another year go by for our kids to suffer. They deserve better.”
Minister Jenkins decided to forge ahead with the initiatives. “I knew the material. And I said we were not going to wait. There is no reason to wait. I know your system, it works.”
Aiming to implement the new programs this year, Minister Jenkins said that not all the portals of the electronic grading system will be up this year, but parents and students will be able to see the report cards.
Jenkins admitted that the complaint letter may have also been caused by stress of “too much, too soon, too fast.”
“I can understand that, but I disagree with them. We had a very frank meeting, and we decided at that meeting we all agree that these are good initiatives and we will get it done,” reported Minister Jenkins of the outcome of the meeting to resolve the complaints.