Thursday, May 20, 2010

Evaluate Your Principal

Miss Eyre did at Life at the Morton School. And gave him/her a grade of "developing."

I used to ask my principal friends (yes, I had some) that if their teachers (and parents) could choose, would they choose you? It made them think. Now I have always maintained a key to school reform would be to have principals chosen that way but we will never see that happen.
(Believe it or not, the UFT actually once had that position but abandoned it very early on- the leadership never trusted the rank and file.)

I've maintained from personal observation and 40 years of stories that the percentage of lousy school administrators is way higher than that of lousy teachers, the focus of so much angst among the ed deform crowd. If people are serious about rooting out bad teachers, they must first give priority to rooting out the terrible level of administrators who go after teachers for just about any reason. Or those who are just plain incompetent.


Doesn't anyone scratch their heads as to why the very best teachers in the system are so fierce in defending teacher rights even if it means keeping a few bad apples? That's because they all know so many stories like the current Peter Lamphere tale at Bronx High School of Science.

Peter announced at the Delegate Assembly to stunned silence last week that he has been U-rated. Twice. Now Peter is a math teacher. One of the very best. How do I know? I met another young math teacher who was forced out at Bronx High and now has a job at one of the most prestigious gifted and talented schools in the city. Peter was her mentor (he looks like he's a kid himself - though at my age, everyone looks like a kid). She said he was the best of the best and that she learned more about teaching from him than any training she got.

So how does someone who is the "best of the best" face losing his job for "incompetence" and face potential rubber room isolation?

I told Joel Klein to his face at PEP meetings that allowing these political vendettas against teachers would so muddy the waters that he will have a terrible time getting rid of teachers who might deserve their fate because every single attack on teachers would be suspect.

And so it goes.

Anyone want to send me an evaluation of their principal? But play nice boys and girls. Let's not make it all negative. If you love your principal let us know too.

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Add-ons
Miss Eyre hears so many stories of awful principals that she will live with her current admin even with all the flaws. Also see Miss Eyre's superb post at her other beat at NYC Educator

"Stop Listening to the Teachers' Union! Listen to Parents!": Miss Eyre Agrees

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I had an interesting conversation with a leader of the pro-charter movement the other day and he actually agreed with me - in theory I guess because I don't see any signs that charter school principals would be chosen that way.

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