Saturday, September 19, 2009
The Dirty Little Secret That The Media Refuses To Report. How Principal Quality Has Deteriorated Under Bloomberg & Klein
In the pre Bloomberg/Klein tenure almost all Principals rose through the teaching ranks and didn't forget their roots in the classroom. Sure, there were exceptions to this rule (my ex-Principal was one, more about him in another post) and some principals did forget their classroom roots. However, the vast majority of principals worked their way up the ranks. First, as a classroom teacher with over ten years of experience. Then as an Assistant Principal for five years with both administrative and classroom duties. Finally, after mastering both the classroom and the administrative functions, the person is now ready to become a Principal. Many of these Principals had long ago learned to collaborate with other people in the school to get things done. These lessons were never forgotten by the old Principals and any problems in the school were usually resolved in the school. Only those teachers accused of gross incompetence or criminal actions were removed from the school to face 3020-a charges. During these times the total amount of teachers removed from the school were usually less than a hundred throughout the City since removing a teacher from the school was a last resort because of the collateral damage done to the teacher's students and for maintaining staff morale in running a successful and smoothly-running school.
Under the Bloomberg/Klein tenure things have changed drastically. As the old Principals retired, or were forced out. New "Leadership Academy principals" took their place. Many of these "Leadership Academy principals" had limited classroom experience, some never even set foot into a classroom as a teacher! Further, these principals didn't know how to collaborate with heir staffs on what was best for the schools. Some of these "Leadership Academy principals" are in their 20's & early 30's and are not mature or experienced enough to handle the Principal's position but were given the position anyway. However, worst of all is that these "Leadership Academy principals" are taught that "it is your school and do whatever it takes to run it the way you see fit". The result has been a disaster to the parents, students, and teachers alike. No collaboration only domination when it comes to the school staff.
Joel Klein and his non-educators have given the principals complete control over the schools and that means that principals are allowed to remove teachers they do not want. These principals know that the DOE, despite the July 2, 2008 Rubber Room Agreement signed with the UFT, will not interfere with the Principal's decision to remove a teacher from the school. Furthermore, Tweed made it even easier by allowing the Principal to remove the teacher's salary from the school budget sixty days after the Principal removed the teacher. Finally, Tweed's use of the "fair student funding" formula encouraged principals to remove senior and highly paid teachers from the school's budget on trumped-up charges of misconduct or incompetence so that they can hire a "newbie teacher" to replace the reassigned teacher and still have enough money to use for other school functions. The result was an explosion of "rubber room" teachers (750) and the rise of the ATR population of 1,600 teachers.
The real problem in the City Public School System is that the quality of Principals are eroding as more and more inexperienced "Leadership Academy principals" take over schools and lack the necessary social skills to work with their staffs. The result is low school morale, staff mistrust, and quality teachers fleeing the schools. While the phony education reformers talk about quality teachers there is silence when it comes to the deterioration of the principals that run the schools.
For the "Leadership Academy principals" it is not about the children, its about their control over the schools. "Children Last" continues.