Sequoyah, OKLAHOMA (TWP)
Veteran Sequoyah High School history teacher Ingrid Ketcher was fired after twenty-nine years of service with the district. In that time, Ketcher, a six-time teacher-of-the-year winner, nevertheless, failed to report mandated data and test scores and maintain records of required tests she had given, thereby screwing any chances for her students’ future success.
Principal Suwayne Eddy said that a recent clearing of file cabinets to make room for new cheap ones purchased from a school board member’s brother’s company revealed that Ketcher’s files included units on important periods in history, research, writing prompts, and other fluff but were “totally lacking in many years of mandated EOI practice tests, scores, plans for remediation, and department-correlated objectives matched to multiple-choice items from the state standards packet test set.”
At the board meeting immediately following the announcement of Ketcher’s dismissal, more than 200 of her past students showed up to testify in her defense. They included laborers, lawyers, doctors, truck drivers, secretaries, CEOs, dog rescue operators, two Hollywood actors, and the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
CEO of a major marketing firm from Tulsa, Rochelle Townsend said, “I don’t give a damn what’s in her filing cabinet or what tests she was supposed to give us. She taught me how to think, read, and reason about the world past, present, and future.”
State Education Department Officer of Standards and Procedures, Stan Ignatow spoke in defense of the school board’s decision to fire Ketcher. “Everyone knows that effective teaching begins with assessment, continues with assessment, and ends with assessment. Hard-working people in our professional building have wasted more time than they ever spent in any classroom in order to come up with tests that assess exactly what needs to be going on in that classroom. Mrs. Ketcher sadly did not capitalize on this valuable information.”
Superintendent Eddy added, “Mrs. Ketcher’s non-compliance in relation to reporting testing data and then storing it properly cannot be overlooked. That filing cabinet was state of the art and glossy–a very shiny black. What was so wrong with putting some required bullshit information in it? ”
Chief John Sixkiller, who leads the largest Native American tribe in the U.S., said that he graduated from Sequoyah High School at a time when the only tests they took were ones designed by the teachers within their individual classrooms. “We earned our grades in Mrs. Davis’s classroom. She knew what we needed to learn and delivered. If I had to go to school nowadays with some teaching-testing automaton whose lessons some idiot in the state capitol put together, I’d be sporting three teeth and holding a cardboard sign with “help” misspelled on it down at the street corner.”
Because of the “troubling findings” in Ketcher’s filing cabinet, a special cabinet inspector was brought in for a school-wide cabinet investigation. However, in protest, Ketcher’s colleagues emptied their filing cabinets onto the schools’ circle drive, doused them with the assistant principal’s bottle of Canoe, and allowed budding student arsonists to start the bonfire with lighters, smoke bombs, gunpowder, methane gas, and grenades they had on hand.
The lone dissenting board member questioned how Ketcher appeared to achieve so much success with her students, despite the charges against her. School board president Charles Camp quelled her concerns by saying, “I imagine some sort of witchcraft or Cherokee hoo-doo voodoo was involved.”
One block from the education service center, this reporter stopped to speak to a man holding a “Can u hellp?” sign. When asked about his high school experience, he said, “I’ve fallen on hard times. But I did have the highest recorded score on the state’s history exam.” He grinned so large one of his three remaining teeth fell out.