In a case that has caught local attention, the Mequon- Thiensville School district placed Mrs. Krista Lesiecki, a math teacher in the district for 18 years, on administrative leave earlier in the year, and recommended her termination.
While the details are sketchy on what actually happened, the one fact that is indisputable, is that it was a single disagreement between Mrs. Lesiecki and one student and her parents.
The Superintendent of Mequon-Thiensville, Dr. Demond Means(yes, that Dr. Means), sent a letter to the community that included no details, but did include this line.
In the letter, the district's superintendent said, "When alleged behavior is egregious in nature, swift and immediate action from our administration is necessary."Let's be perfectly clear here:
Never once has she been accused of threatening the students safety or any physical harm. It appears to be a personality/philosophy disagreement between teacher and student. Mrs. Lesiecki even requested for all hearings/meetings to take place in open session so the public would know exactly what was done and said. Which does not seem to fit the "egregious" label that was quickly placed upon her.
Since Mequon-Thiensville and Dr. Means have made their point perfectly clear that a public institution of learning is no place to have philosophical/personality disagreements, it is interesting to me that they are allowing Dr. Means as commissioner of the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program(the Republican takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools bill), and he accepted.
For those of us scoring at home, lets dig a little deeper.
* Republicans in Wisconsin have cut more money from public education than any other state in the country. Apparently not Egregious.
* The GOP legislators provided Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee with a 30 page “K-12 Omnibus Motion,” and gave them approximately one hour to review it before starting debate at 8:15pm and passing the motion in its entirety at almost 2am. Not a single item in this bill, that was rammed through the middle of the night, was raised a campaign issue in the last election. Apparently also not egregious.
* In this bill, Rep. Kooyenga(R-drinks alot) and Sen. Darling, have given the power to County Executive Chris Abele the power to take over the Milwaukee Public Schools and hand them over to unaccountable charter schools. (Must read post on the bill here). None of the three have a single education credential between them(Abele did not even finish college) and yet they are trumping the elected school board members in the MPS. Apparently also NOT egregious.
* While poverty continues to increase in Wisconsin, and Milwaukee being rated the worst city in America for African Americans, while County Executive Abele has focused on gaining power and breaking unions. Apparently also not Egregious.
None of these facts bother Dr. Means as much as one conversation between teacher/parent/student gone bad. With a public education friend like that ..... Mrs Lesiecki did have plenty of support from other means though, including a facebook support group over 2000 members strong.
Now it appears that Mrs. Lesiecki has decided to put this horrible chapter in her distinguished career behind her, and has agreed to a settlement with the district.
A longtime Homestead High School math teacher who faced a Monday disciplinary hearing over an alleged interaction with a student and her parents is stepping down under a settlement reached with the Mequon-Thiensville School District on Friday.
Krista Lesiecki will remain on paid leave through the end of the 2015-'16 school year, after which "her employment with the district will conclude," Lesiecki and the district said in a joint statement issued Friday afternoon.
While I wish Mrs. Lesiecki well in her future endeavors, I would recommend that we as a public education community get together and discuss what is and is not egregious in relating to our schools and education system these days in WI.