This week the West Bend Education Association issued a statement about high school teacher Tanya Lohr who had been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with “the circulation of a petition outlining staff concerns with the Galileo testing system.”
Lohr, according to the WBEA, spoke to West Bend High School “Principal Bill Greymont about her concerns in her role as a union representative.”
School Board President Randy Marquardt said the administration contacted him about the situation.
“It sounds to me like certain employees are choosing what their job is or not,” he said. “The board sets standards and curriculum and a teacher is hired to teach that standard and curriculum for a certain class. We invested in the Galileo system because it is a way to track and help develop test questions that are aligned with a standard to teach students in the course. All of that ties together in the big picture of what they’re supposed to be learning and how they’re progressing toward their ACT scores and it’s a valuable tool for the teacher to use so they’re on task.”
Teachers in the West Bend School District have expressed concern the Galileo system does not align with the curriculum.
Marquardt said, if that’s the case then “they’re not using it correctly.”
“It’s my understanding there’s a world of questions out there that they can select from,” he said. “They can write their own and submit them and have them looked at by others and make sure it’s aligned and on point; this isn’t something we dreamed up, it’s a product that’s out on the marketplace.”
The West Bend School District adopted the Galileo testing system two years ago. “I know the system is used across the country but I can’t tell you how many districts have it,” he said.
“This system replaced a different testing system we purchased during my first term on the board. There were issues with connecting it with other tests and that’s why we made the switch but one of the big selling points was the ability to create the testing mechanisms and develop the questions from the library of previous reviewed questions.”
Marquardt said the Galileo system was going to be a tool that would help teachers.
“Now it sounds like certain people didn’t like it and weren’t going to participate in it and join in the training or learn how to use it and basically they’re not doing their job,” he said.
Questioned whether teacher reviews and pay increases were tied in with how well students performed using the Galileo testing system, Marquardt said, “As far as the compensation system, the testing is a very small part of it but it’s a valid part because otherwise what is their job.”
Marquardt confirmed the board will be reviewing the Galileo testing system.
He confirmed he did receive a call about Lohr but that was a “Human Resources decision.”
“If this is a case of someone not doing their job then there are only two choices, they either improve and start performing the duties they were hired to do or they can quit or be fired,” he said. “You don’t get to choose what your job is at that level.”
The WBEA said it is conducting, “an immediate investigation by the WBEA, Region 7, and WEAC legal as they raise serious questions about the legality of the employer’s actions.”
More information, according to Marquardt, is expected to be relayed to the School Board during an upcoming closed session with the superintendent.