Edison PTSA Calls For Principal's Removal
TULSA, Oklahoma - Two days after students staged a walkout at Edison, parents are wanting action.
The PTSA has been meeting for several weeks to come up with a plan to move Edison forward. However, they feel that the principal at Edison should be left behind.
"Right now, I kind of have a bucket of empty promises and we need meaningful action to reassure our community,” said Ronda Falkensten, Edison PTSA President.
It's been more than a month since a video surfaced of a teacher throwing a desk across a classroom and since then, parents have held a private meeting with teachers. Teachers have stood up in front of the board, and students have walked out of the classroom.
“Our teachers have very low morale, there’s high turnover, they kind of work in fear and intimidation,” said Falkensten, "there are issues like state funding, that we can't address, but there are several other issues at Edison that can be addressed."
Falkensten said that many teachers have come to her saying they've been feeling a lot of pressure from the administration because of the large class sizes, increased workload, and low pay, but many of them fear they will lose their jobs if they speak up.
"They fear retaliation, being switched to another school without due process,” said Falkensten. “We had a teacher right after winter break that was transferred. The students who were in that class didn't know why the parents never got a letter explaining things, it just happened.”
Falkensten said teachers also feel like their every move is being watched.
“Just yesterday our substitute principal took screenshots of Facebook posts to a closed group and went and asked teachers about them which in itself is intimidating," said Falkensten.
Several parents, including Falkensten, have been meeting with the school to come up with a plan to move forward, but they feel Edison would be better off without Principal Dixie Speer.
"Unfortunately, the trust with the principal is broken and we don’t think that can be rebuilt,” said Falkensten, “we know they can remove her, and she is just better suited elsewhere in our opinion."
Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said they've been taking the concerns very seriously and goes on to say, "these are absolutely solvable problems. We are confident that with the continued support and engagement of our teachers, students, school leaders, PTSA, and TCTA, we can - and will - get to a place of positive and productive resolution.”
"Edison is a great school, it has strong traditions, it has a history of academic rigor,” said Falkenstein, "right now it’s kind of broken and we need quick action to show our community that we are hearing you, we are making changes and to reassure them that we can get back on track and back to those strong traditions."
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 20th.
Parents, Teachers, and Students said they will be back again demanding action be taken to move Edison Forward.
Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist released this statement:
We are taking the concerns that our students, teachers, and parents have raised seriously and working urgently with the TCTA, Edison teachers, and the Edison leadership team to develop both immediate and long-term action steps and solutions.
Edison is an exceptional school and continues to be a shining star in our district and in our state. It is nationally ranked as a top school by US News and World Report, is home to our district's only AP Capstone program, features many successful fine art and athletic programs, and has a talented team of educators who are committed to bright futures for all students. The Edison community is also grappling with significant challenges around teacher retention and training, school culture and student behavior. These challenges are not unique to Edison, Tulsa Public Schools, or to other Oklahoma school districts - but the good news is that these are absolutely solvable problems. We are confident that with the continued support and engagement of our teachers, students, school leaders, PTSA, and TCTA, we can - and will - get to a place of positive and productive resolution.