Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reformist Principal Gone, Obstructionist Teacher Reinstated

Who's responsible for running a school, the teachers or the principal?

I know it's heresy for a teacher to say, but I want principals to run a school. If they do something stupid, there are ways to address it. And a good leader will solicit ideas and opinions from his (or her--see the previous blog post, directly below this one) staff anyway. But "The Buck Stops Here", and I want principals to run their schools. Of course, I also want principals held responsible if, while running their schools, they run them into the ground. I don't want a "Dance of the Lemons" for administrators any more than I want one for teachers.

Apparently, my ideal little world would crash head-first into reality in LA Mummified, where the following has happened:

Under intense pressure from the teachers union, Los Angeles Unified School District officials reversed themselves Friday and agreed to reinstate a teacher who was transferred from Crenshaw High for allegedly blocking reform efforts by the school administration.

History teacher Alex Caputo-Pearl had been the union's chapter chairman at Crenshaw until his transfer to Emerson Middle School in late August, just before the start of the school year.

He will return to his old job at Crenshaw High by the beginning of the spring semester in February, if not sooner, according to the agreement worked out between the union and the school district...

Schools Supt. Roy Romer had accused the teacher of driving out a highly regarded principal, Charles Didinger, at a time when Crenshaw was struggling to regain its long-term accreditation.

Didinger had said he left the school primarily for health reasons, but had been worn down by constant haggling with teachers — largely meaning Caputo-Pearl, who represented the teaching staff...

"Through the negotiations, I think the district came to a realization that what they did and the way they went about doing it was less than fair and equitable, and having the district come to that conclusion is a good thing. We are ecstatic," the union president said...

Still, school board member David Tokofsky was hesitant to join the backslapping. He noted that Crenshaw is up for re-accreditation in February after having lost it in 2005. The accreditation was restored last February, but only for one year — essentially putting the school on probation.

The school has a temporary accreditation and, by mutual agreement, this Caputo-Pearl person is allowed to return and continue obstructing needed reforms. Is it any wonder that that district is known as a cesspool in California education circles?

1 comment:

rightwingprof said...

Yes, there's nothing more useless or annoying than a "hands-off" or "consensus-driven" manager, coordinator, whatever. I mean, everybody else does his job, except for a "hands-off" manager who does exactly nothing.