Great Moments In School Leadership

NYT’s Gootman writes-up the new high-payin’ charter school in New York City. But this jumped out at me:

Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, called the hefty salaries “a good experiment.” But she said that when teachers were not unionized, and most charter school teachers are not, their performance can be hampered by a lack of power in dealing with the principal. “What happens the first time a teacher says something like, ‘I don’t agree with you?’ ”

I’d like to think that something like a teachers’ contract could help an idiot manager who flips at the phrase “I don’t agree with you,” but I’m doubtful. Does anyone believe we can “contract” our way to effective leadership? There are some compelling arguments about why teachers should be unionized, but this isn’t one of them.

One Reply to “Great Moments In School Leadership”

  1. Andrew,

    No! NO! No!. Protecting someone for saying “I don’t agree with you,” is the main reason why I need a union contract. Being an old hippie-type guy with no mortgage, I don’t mind a salary schedule that places my state 47th, but I’ll never hand over my conscience to the boss without a fight. You yourself argue that schools imposed damaging policies on students before NCLB, and acknowledged that districts still do. In fact, faced with a loss of $100,000 dollars a year for the principle of “do no harm” to children, how many more sellouts would we get? (by the way, our second highest administrators don’t even get $100,000 per year, and my asst. principal gets paid 50 cents an hour for her athletic responsibilites, but I don’t think that anyone actually DECIDED to impose excessive test prep,narrow the curriculum, disrepect kids, and drive them out of school in order to protect their jobs; it was just a very human process that damaged kids in that predictable way.)

    Actually, I was going to respond to the Washington Post story on narrowing the curriculum, after deciding not to respond. I changed my mind driving home and listening to NPR Science Friday discussing the potential of mass interpersonal technology, and then the Obama coverage. Digital pioneers were proclaiming the benefit of social networking. I question the practicality of their goal of world peace in 30 years, but their hopefulness is relevent here. What is the potential for constructive dialogue in the edusphere and what can we do to maximize it?

    When I read Kevin’s post, I wondered what it would be like watching a ball game with you guys. Do you argue every call no matter how routine?

    Seriously, the protest against the reduction of the arts in schools stuck me as just a nice, hopeful story. Next, we might have rich kids going to poor schools – where they’ve really narrowed the curriculum – and together they could commit civil disobediance by violating school policies.

    Then I hyperlinked to a blog with that uplifting motto of not wanting to go through life drunk and stupid or whatever, and read an opinion similar to mine. The commenter was then called “stupid.” It is then argued that “often” means the “majority” of the time?

    Then there is a dispute over how much punching in the face is significant. Call me stupid, but daily I see my students metaphorically punched in the face. Since you don’t defend the destructive policies that I argue have been increased by NCLB, can we have a discussion about ways of reducing the abuse imposed on our children? Time in school has always been wasted,but the issue should be about ways of helping kids.

    Call me naive, or stupid, but as I booted up my computer I saw the effort to juice up Obama to go negative. I predict he’ll fight back, but not get dragged into the 90s partisanship and he won’t get into a fight over every little POSSIBLE disagreement. The American people want someone who is tough, but especially with education I think they will welcome an NCLB II that reduces the negativism that is being imposed into our childrens’ home away from home.

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