What’s perceived as a face-saving proposal by a superintendent of schools who flunked an English literacy exam was soundly rejected by district officials, who decided not to offer new jobs to 17 bilingual teachers on unpaid leave for failing a similar test.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Superintendent Wilfredo T. Laboy of the Lawrence, Mass., school district admitted flunking the Communications and Literacy Skills Test – not once, but three times.
The stunning admission follows his June suspension of the teachers who failed a state-required oral English fluency test. The educators are not allowed back in the classroom until they pass.
Amid the furor ignited by the apparent hypocrisy, Laboy proposed rehiring the teachers to alternative jobs like substitutes or teachers aides, reports the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune. Several school leaders accused Laboy of trying to cover for his own failings.
Following a two-hour secret meeting last night, the district’s school committee opted against Laboy’s plan, reports the Lawrence paper.
“I think at this point we’ll renew our offer of unpaid leave,” school attorney Naomi Stonberg told the Eagle-Tribune. “If they don’t take it, we will probably have to institute dismissal proceedings.”
Gov. Mitt Romney has given Laboy, who is a native Puerto Rican, one more chance to pass the test by December before taking action, via the state Board of Education, to remove him.
The written exam Laboy failed assesses fundamental reading and writing skills expected of all entry-level teachers, including vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, spelling and capitalization.
According to the paper, Laboy blames his failures on a deficiency in grammar and punctuation.
“If you’re not an English teacher, you don’t look at the rules on a regular basis,” Laboy said. ”It bothers me because I’m trying to understand the congruence of what I do here every day and this stupid test. That’s what, emotionally, I’m so upset about.”
Laboy is the highest-paid city employee, taking in $156,560 a year, according to the Eagle-Tribune.
Fearing a lawsuit, school committee members won’t divulge the details of Laboy’s rehiring proposal.
The lawyer representing the teachers on leave has pledged to take the matter to court.