Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Principal Quality Is A Major Factor Why Schools Struggle Academically.

When I was a student I used to buy Marvel comic books and "Archie" for my younger sister   One of the characters in the Archie comic book was the Riverdale high school Principal, Mr. Weatherbee. In the comic book Mr. Weatherbee was looked at as the instructional leader of the school and was highly respected for his integrity by both staff and students.

Mr. Weatherbee was a composite of the many old time and long-term educators who started out as a teacher for a decade or more and worked his way up to eventually become a Principal.  Mr. Weatherbee was educationally, .all knowing and mentored his staff. He was highly respected head of the school.

Fast forward to the present day New York City schools and few principals followed the path of Mr. Weatherbee.  Over 25% of the present day principals are graduates from the infamous "Leadership Academy" and until 2015, many graduates had minimal.classroom teaching experience and quite a few never achieved tenure as a teacher.  Even when Chancellor Carmen Farina changed the rules and required that educators have a minimum of seven years of school experience (from three and not necessarily in the classroom).  However, there were exceptions and people already in the program were grandfathered in   Therefore, a greater percentage of newly minted principals running their schools came from the "Leadership Academy".

These "Leadership Academy" principals, were accepted in the program based upon who they knew, not what they knew.  It was not uncommon that the teacher was accepted to the "Leadership Academy" by a recommendation of a Superintendent or a DOE official at Tweed.  The result was these principals didn't think of themselves as instructional leaders but as the CEO of their school.  Many practiced a top down management approach and collaboration with the school staff was seen as an inconvenience and a bar from implementing polices that the Principal wants to employ.

 These "Leadership Academy" principals were known to bully staff and were encouraged to run the school as they pleased by the DOE.  Is it any wonder that New York City has over half the State's 3020-a cases when New York City teachers make up only 30% of all teachers in New York State?
While there are many factors why schools struggle academically.  Poverty, segregation, teaching experience, and student discipline policies.  A major factor is also poor administration and the Principal. Maybe the new Chancellor will release the fatal flaw in improving academically struggling schools.  The poor quality of recently appointed principals from the "Leadership Academy".


Anonymous said...

I've been teaching for a very long time. In fact, I have been a NYC teacher longer than some of the newbie teachers at my school have been alive. I know what I am doing. I do not need some leadership academy principal telling me how to teach. This is why we need a change to our evaluation system. 2 observations is plenty for veteran. tenured teachers. We know our craft and want to be left alone as much as possible to focus on what we do best. i am sure that I am not the only teacher who feels this way.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will change until Granny retires. Three times she has teased us with that celebratory possibility. Though, even if she does go, if Buy Me Bill picks another female Klein, we’re just as screwed.

Anonymous said...

I know one woman who became a leadership academy principal. What she did before that she is a bar owner.
Yup. Bar owner becomes principal.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:55- she probably is a principal in district 27. Half of our staff are recovering (or not recovering) alcoholics.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but this sounds like a variation of the "teacher quality" argument, which we all know is false. Now there are some terrible admins- I had one-what a jerk! Anyway, a terrible admin can certainly be responsible for high teacher turnover. Any teacher working for a jerk will try to transfer as quickly as possible. A terrible admin could mess up the paperwork and do a poor job, but honestly, except in their own brains, I don't think they have enough say to really change a school.

Anonymous said...

How about the superintendents?

Many are unqualified 'diversity' hires.

I know three of them fairly closely. they are in over their heads and got the jobs to check off boxes and 'empower' 'underrepresented' communities.

Anonymous said...

My new AP is a failed hospitality and food service major. Studied in ireland. A few years in the classroom. Former principal hired her because her father constructed his home. Shes a tyrant. Principal now was a baby when i began teaching. One more year after this one and ill have thirty years. They are harrassing me big league. Im retiring when its my time to go. Im having them investigated by state for discrimination and hiring an out of license unit coordinator for running a district 75 program. I fly the dont tread on me flag. Good luck everyone. Revenge is sweet. Next will be the ny post, daily news, local community activists. Delinquent kids awol mugging and robbing innocents.

Anonymous said...

As bad as admins are this line of work comes down to one thing. The type of kid you have.

If the kids come from homes that care, you have a good school.

If kids don’t care, you have what you have in a lot of schools and it’s bad.

Bottom line. If people don’t care, nothing works.

We can window dress all we want.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until I am only 2-3 years away from retirement.

We have a women at my school who can retire at any time but has decided to wait a year or two.

She attends no meetings. Submits no unit plans or 'activity guides.'

She cares nothing about observations and just teaches from the heart without fear of this or that box circled on the Danielson's Disaster, er, rubric.

I want that peace of mind too. She is untouchable now and knows it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why anyone would stay in this job 30 years or more.

25 is the limit of human endurance, I would think.

I plan on going only until 20 years and then getting out.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Principal at my site does not know the academic policy. How can a principal not know about the academic policy?

Anonymous said...

I have 14 months to go till 30 years at 2% . A few more months till summer. The admins dont want me. The joke is on them. The dog and pony show i work at is called P256Q. The admins total supv experience is three years and they have no idea. They call themselves the cabinet. When the ap comes in to do her drive by observations i ask her if she is observing me in front of the class. I show her as much respect as she gives me. One day the bear will eat them.

Anonymous said...

The idea was to eliminate as many veteran teachers as possible. This was accomplished by appointing inept principles through a fast-tracked system called the "Principal's Academy". Most of these new principals lacked any background in education at all. This did not matter as the ultimate goal was to eliminate and discourage as many teachers from the system as they could; thus creating a transistory system. I take great pride in knowing that in 4 months and 3 days I will have beatened them at their own game and will get a full NYC DOE pension. I consider myself the exception to the rule. Overall the system is misrule and needs a massive overhaul starting with its principals. The seems to be the only job where failed managers are promoted rather than fired;makes no sense to me.....

Anonymous said...

Systemic age discrimination.

The billionaires are pulling the puppet strings.

The agenda? End the public school system. Make teaching a temp job. Create a HUGE, poorly educated underclass who will collect universal basic income and be happy.

The only way to fight back is through the legal system.

Do it!