Columns

Another Teacher Who Cares About the Kids Gets Shafted


UPDATE: Ceresta Smith has gotten a temporary reprieve. Miami-Dade Public Schools administrators will not be asking the school board to suspend her today. Spokesman John Schuster says the school district is reviewing the matter.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is railroading another good, outspoken teacher. Today the school board will consider suspending Ceresta Smith without pay for 30 days, illustrating how the nation's fourth largest district silences critics.

Last year, the Miami Norland Senior High reading coach and other faculty members criticized the transfer of a colleague to another school. They succeeded in keeping the teacher at Norland, but Smith's well-intentioned efforts came at a price.

Smith emailed community leaders urging them to call superintendent Alberto Carvalho. She provided information about what a good job the teacher was doing, but at the same time included a file with the names of her peer's students and their FCAT test scores. It is a violation of school district policy to release information. She has asserted that she was unaware she had sent out the students' private data.


Her punishment comes on the heels of Norland receiving $20,000 in grant

funding from the Michael Jordan Foundation for a literacy program she

developed.


In light of that, Banana Republican thinks the school board should cut

Smith a break. She made an honest mistake, unlike other school board

employees who get to skate on much more serious offenses.


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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.