Our previous Newsletter Blogs focused on the issue of confidential letters of reference and the potential they have to destroy teachers’ careers, with no accountability for admin endorsing their own agenda. An ISR POLL shows 77% of international educators support ending the use of confidential references. The question becomes: How can we now effect the needed change?
Various solutions grace our Blogs. One idea does allow for confidential letters but with the caveat that these letters become publicly accessible after one year. Another Blog participant advised that an administrator who hasn’t the guts nor integrity to give a teacher a copy of their reference letter shouldn’t be allowed to give it to anyone else. Thinking outside the box, a teacher reported that she asks for a non-confidential letter of reference well in advance of asking for the confidential one. She then includes the non-confidential letter with the resume to counteract any unforeseen effects of a confidential letter.
Changing the status quo of any institution always takes time. For example, when ISR first posted the International Educators’ Bill of Rights in 2008 no recruiting agency would endorse it. Today the International Educators’ Bill of Rights, with or without endorsement, has prompted many schools to raise their standards or fail to attract candidates. Members regularly write to report success with administrators who actively improve their school policies to comply with standards set by the International Educators’ Bill of Rights. In the same manner, we at ISR believe secretive confidential letters of reference can be phased out with time and effort on the part of international educators.
Towards this end, ISR encourages you to email your recruiter to demand a stop to confidential references. Most industries, or at least those operating in a transparent and politically correct world, have abandoned the practice of secrecy in references. International education, which regularly espouses the need to embrace the 21st century, has yet to follow suit.
To get you started, we’ve provided recruiting agency contact information here and a sample letter you can copy/paste, add to, alter, or use as a basis to create your own letter.
I recently participated in the International Schools Review Survey concerning confidential letters of reference. Over 77% of participants favored doing away with confidential letters of reference. You can view the Survey results and attached Blog by clicking this link: ISR POLL
I feel the practice of confidential letters reference pose a very real concern to international educators as careers have been destroyed by unethical directors with their own agendas. Such instance are outlined on the ISR blog I have referenced above.
Certainly, back-stabbing letters of reference take place in a small minority of situations, but one such victim is one-too-many. I encourage you to examine the practice of confidential references and take steps to end it.
I look forward to hearing from you and learning your opinion on this topic and what steps you can take to end the archaic practice of secretive confidential letters of reference.