International Academy (Bloomfield Hills, MI): Lynne Gibson MUST STEP DOWN.
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Several involved parties have tried to bring concerns surrounding the QIA Project to the attention of the Joint Steering Committee, but feel they have been largely ignored. These concerns include inconsistencies and lack of transparency regarding funding, legitimacy of licensing of the school, issues with retaliatory behavior, and drafting and execution of contracts. This is a call to action for the Bloomfield Hills School Board to rectify the unfair treatment of teachers and involved parties by those in charge of the QIA Project. Specifically, the community asks that Lynne Gibson step down from her position as a direct consequence of her involvement in the QIA Project.
Meetings to Attend:
Waterford: 6 pm, February 21, 2019 board meeting at Waterford Township Auditorium (5200 Civic Center Drive, Waterford)
Avondale: 7 pm, February 25, 2019 board meeting at Administration Offices (2940 Waukegan, Auburn Hills)
Clawson: 7 pm, February 25, 2019 board meeting at Clawson Middle School (150 John M Street, Clawson)
West Bloomfield: 7 pm, February 25, 2019 board meeting at West Bloomfield High School (4925 Orchard Lk Rd, West Bloomfield)
Birmingham: 7 pm, February 26, 2019 board meeting at Administration Center (31301 Evergreen, Beverly Hills)
Troy: 7 pm, February 26, 2019 board meeting at Services Building (4420 Livernois, Troy)
IA Joint Steering Committee: 6 pm, March 4, 2019, IA East (1291 Torpey Dr, Troy)
Berkley: 7 pm, March 4, 2019 study session at Administrative Offices (14501 Talbot, Oak Park)
Huron Valley: 7 pm, March 4, 2019 board meeting at Lakeland High School (1630 Bogie Lk Rd, White Lake)
South Lyon: 7 pm, March 4, 2019 board meeting at Administration Building (345 South Warren, South Lyon)
Rochester: 7 pm, March 11, 2019 board meeting at Administration Center (501 W University, Rochester)
State Board of Education: 9:30 am, March 12, 2019 at Ladislaus B. Dombrowski Board Room John A. Hannah Building, Fourth Flo or 608 West Allegan Street Lansing, Michigan
Lake Orion: 7 pm, March 13, 2019 board meeting at Administration Building (315 N Lapeer Street, Lake Orion)
Royal Oak: 6 pm, March 14, 2019 board meeting at Administrative Office (800 DeVillen, Royal Oak)
Comments by Steve Eschrich (Mr. E):
"To address some concerns raised by a couple students, I actually agree that the community needs to know more in order to make informed decisions. First of all, please understand there was 7 months between the first conversation about QIA and my departure. Only on 6/23, after I had definitively committed and left the IA, was the possibility of me needing to "go on leave" (instead of technically remaining an employee of IA/Birmingham) even raised. Not until August, after I helped hire my replacement, did this become a reality. Then, to my knowledge, at no time during my entire 2 1/4 years in China, was there ever a position for me to return to in Birmingham (and I inquired strenuously). With no other income source, nor job prospects (especially if I had to be concerned about a bad rec from Okma), I had very little choice but to return to China. If I signed his outrageous contract proposal (addressing almost none of my grievances and asserting I had to 'work all evenings and weekends as needed for no additional compensation'), I would have been bound to that. It's my understanding that Okma tried to pull the same thing ('your contract isn't ready; we'll take of it in China') on Another IA teacher (who was able to technically remain an employee of his/her district); but he/she refused to return based on my experience, and remained employed at the IA. I had no such opportunity. I never contacted an attorney until my permanent return in Jan 2017. The Joint Steering Committee was informed of these concerns in writing in Nov 2016, and and directly in early 2017. They never requested any evidence besides proof of the apartment I was promised. Furthermore, please note, I am not alone. At least 5, but maybe 7 other US citizens, and one Canadian citizen, felt compelled to make similar grievances about various frauds, contract breaches, etc. (ultimately going on strike) resulting in 1) Search Associates refusing to continue recruiting new teachers for QIA, 2) the Chinese Education Ministry forbidding QIA from recruiting new students, and 3) the IBO refusing to grant QIA authorization, effectively dooming the school. If it is hard to imagine that investors' primary concern would simply be to reduce costs at any expense, a QIA colleague (an IA grad who speaks Chinese) confirmed it was stated openly as his primary concern. After I definitively refused to participate further in what I felt were fraudulent marketing endeavors, and demanded what I was owed, and demanded guidance on how to address a grave asbestos risk to students, it became clear I was a target. I (we) have volumes of evidence to support our claims, including what appears to be a retroactive attempt to defame me to create "cause" for termination, to avoid paying owed compensation, severance, etc. We have presented a fair amount of this proof to BH administration, and we're utterly disdained over the past two years! Only once reformers were elected to the school board, did it seem we might finally have a chance for an honest investigation. Still furthermore, please await accounts of other local educators, if the Board commits to protect them against retaliation, to share their perceptions of unethical practices at the IA since its inception. I hope this addresses some concerns about why I would have accepted things and kept going back. At nearly 60, I believe I had no other viable choice. And I hope Okma/Gibson share their side of the story, as most faculty at the IA, and all faculty in China know the truth, if asked. To those of you who are offering support, I thank you sincerely, and hope you remember the absolute imperative I placed on honesty. And remember someone's famous quote: "All it takes for evil to prevail, is for good men (people) to do nothing! Peace" - Steve Eschrich (Mr. E)
"It gives me strength and hope that some students find the courage - actually risking something - to take a stand for what they believe is right. The IB character trait I valued above all others was always "Principled." Some will remember the words above my whiteboard: "Dishonesty is Cowardice!" I am certainly flawed, and perhaps, in my efforts to relate or be funny, may have made missteps; but I have never done anything consciously wrong! I may stand alone Monday, especially as others rightfully fear retribution; but I WILL speak my truth, and represent others who have been wronged! I deeply appreciate and respect those with the courage to be honest, and to take a stand for their principles!" - Steve Eschrich (Mr. E)
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