About

I am the mother of two great kids in the district.

LastDayofSchool2014

This will be my eighth year as an AAPS parent; my family moved to Ann Arbor specifically when our eldest child was poised to begin kindergarten in order to provide our children with a diverse and energetic environment.  After growing up in three states*, from the suburbs of New York City to the suburbs of Los Angeles, and attending ten different schools between kindergarten and twelfth grade, I was fiercely determined to find One Great Place to raise my family. (*Should I include summers spent with my father in Florida?)

In running for school board, I am dedicated to keeping Ann Arbor a great place to raise your family.

I am certified as a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Michigan, with a master’s degree in reading education from Wayne State. My original teaching certification came from California, but I moved to Michigan two weeks after I finished student teaching because my now-husband had been working as an engineer for one of the Big 3 for a year and a half by then.  We had met while students at UC Berkeley, where I majored in psychology.

In running for school board, I am dedicated to bringing my knowledge of best educational practices as well as my intelligence and creativity to solving problems.

After spending years as a stay-at-home mother, I re-entered the workforce in the middle of the recession as a substitute teacher in AAPS. During my five years there, I took on many roles and saw how administrative decisions that often ignored not-so-minor-details affected the day-to-day functioning of schools. Too often expedience trumps best educational practices.

In running for school board, I am dedicated considering the consequences of our decisions. I will not drink the kool-aid, jump on the bandwagon, or various other overused metaphors that indicate being sold a bill of goods that will Fix Something. Kids come first, but too often those in charge cannot see the trees for the forest.

I know; it is shocking that I did not major in English. However, I did score in the 98th percentile of the verbal SATs.

In running for school board, I am dedicated to assuring that the district never gives standardized test scores more credence than they deserve.

The most frequent question that people ask me is why I would run for school board. The idea never would have entered my mind until one string of egregious nearly-comedic errors. One of the pertinent facts here is that AAPS limits substitute teachers to 140 days of work per year. Another pertinent fact is that substitute teachers are not employees, but were long ago outsourced to an agency. So, once upon a time there was a teacher who was removed from the classroom in early December, about a third of the way through the school year. In a normal year, the district might have followed their policies and hired a new teacher for the classroom, but it was a harsh year among many harsh years so they did not want to hire someone only to turn around and lay them (and many others) off six months later. The principal honored me by allowing me to take over as the long-term sub for the rest of the year, but I had already worked so many days up to that point that I would have had to take five weeks off to fit in with the 140-day limit. The class was already in bad shape from their first months of school, I had already been in there for two weeks, and five weeks would have been so far from “best practice” that I would label it educational malfeasance. It was suggested that I could just work anyway, without getting paid for it. As a dedicated professional, how could I not? I already loved those kids. I could already see a positive change. You do what you have to do, but I was completely shocked that it was actually a violation of federal labor law, even for subcontracted non-employees. For a while, I absolutely pondered a lawsuit but while I could have won back pay (times two, for damages) I was not sure a mere lawsuit could prod the fundamental institutional change that was and is required.

In running for school board, I am dedicated to providing an ethical compass to proceedings, because when it comes to educating our children “expedience” is a dirty word.

 

 

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One thought on “About

  1. Pingback: “About” | Deirdre Piper for AA BOE

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