I don’t care if you are a news reporter or an opinion columnist: if you write for a newspaper, your first priority is getting your facts correct.
And yet, once again, the Star-Ledger’s editorial board just makes stuff up:
Especially in larger districts like Newark, which lose hundreds of students each year and therefore need fewer teachers, seniority is a major impediment to a school’s ability to hang on to the best people.
We see the repercussions every time a standout teacher gets a pink slip – like the “Teacher of the Year” for the Sacramento City Unified School District, or New Jersey’s own Christina Passwater, an award-winning literacy teacher at Whittier Elementary School in Camden. [emphasis mine]
Is it true? Was an award-winning teacher really let go by the Camden City Public Schools? When I first read this, it didn’t smell right; claims that seniority ends the careers of dedicated teachers quite often turn out to be exaggerated when you start looking at the facts.
So I did what Tom Moran, head of the S-L’s Editorial Board, should have done before he put this into print: I checked out the truth of the claim.
It took maybe a total of 15 minutes of my time. I emailed the offices of the NJEA (of which I am a member) and asked if they could find out if Passwater was still teaching in Camden. A few back-and-forths later, I learned the truth:
Christina Passwater is currently teaching in Camden, and is looking forward to teaching there again next year. The Star-Ledger editorial page got her story completely wrong.