Irony…Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Some Freedom Of Action

From Toledo:

The Toledo Public Schools teachers’ union president wants to take the district’s lowest-performing school, remove the principal, and let teachers supervise themselves.

“Our proposal is that there would be no administrators and it will be totally teacher-led,” said Francine Lawrence, Toledo Federation of Teachers president…

…The idea has several hurdles, including state law that requires administrative leadership in schools and the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel union’s contract that states there will be a principal in every school…

…David McClellan, president of the principal’s union, said he hasn’t seen Ms. Lawrence’s written proposal.

“I have heard she presented something to the board and that it is totally in opposition to our contract,” Mr. McClellan said.

“It is a very obvious violation of our agreement, and we are not going to let that happen.”

Ms. Lawrence said her goal is to increase student achievement.

This amusing impasse aside, it’s worth noting that Lawrence’s plan seems to have some elements to help get around this issue although decisonmaking and execution can be a challenge under this model.

Update: Mike A. is on this, too, and on board…

4 Replies to “Irony…Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Some Freedom Of Action”

  1. I would like to know more about Ms. Lawrence’s rationale that includes the connection between student learning and eliminating the principal.

    I can’t quote a source, but I’ve heard that teachers are one of the greatest factors determining a student’s success. Every principal I have had as a teacher has been a support person (so I can successfully do my job), has held high standards for me, and has supported me in my professional pursuit. I’m wondering, besides considering budgetary needs, why a school would want to eliminate this support system in a “boss”.

  2. I teach in a school in New York that has recently been flooded with new administrators, two of whom (superintendent and director of curriculum and instruction) have less than five years teaching experience. They have been talking about increasing student achievement and getting students more involved, which I find odd seeing as they have been in the district for less than a year and already have a master plan for how they are going to “fix the mediocre teachers.” It seems to me that they may actually want to give the teachers more freedom, allow them to use new technologies and attend more conferences, rather than have them submit daily lesson plans. I am curious to see how this all works out, if I had to guess, it will work, because after all, who knows the students better, the principle, or the teacher?

  3. The school system I am with now is trying out a Saturday school system which will eliminate zero grades for students at the middle and high school level. The administrator are the ones who came up with the idea. And I feel that it will work given the fact that it puts pressure on the parents and the students to keep up with things. Which will equal achievement! Yes, it will mean more work for the admin and teachers but if the principals are willing to put in the time, so am I! Your admin is your support staff, trust them. To the teacher in New York, don’t fear change! Who knows the new blood can offer fresh ideas without the bitterness of being in the classroom for 10-20 already. Trust them, they are your backbone!

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