Monday, January 13, 2014

The Perks of Leadership Academy--No Muss, No Fuss

By now you've doubtless read about the champion principal from PS 106. I'm told that not only does she wander in to work whenever she sees fit, but that she's also never taught a day in her life. You just go to that Leadership Academy and boom! Instant principal. Better than minute rice. And far more lucrative. Why bother teaching for 22 years when you can make more than any teacher does far more quickly?

Bloomberg didn't think teaching was necessary to be principal. Perhaps he didn't know the expression principal is short for principal teacher. More likely, he didn't care and knowing would have changed nothing. I don't know much about Carmen Farina but I've read she taught over 20 years. Would a person like that believe in these instant principals? It's hard to imagine she would.

Of course, these days, instant principals shouldn't be anything that surprises us. We have TFA, which trains teachers in just a few weeks, and our genius government somehow decided that makes them highly qualified. So why shouldn't we be celebrating this principal? After all, she really knows how to throw a party.

And apparently, this nonsense has been going on for years. Even as Bloomberg and his minions carped endlessly about the perfidy of unionized teachers, he did nothing about conditions at this school. Nor did Klein or Walcott. Nor did that woman, what's-her-name, who stumbled about in the chancellor's office for a few weeks. Hey, didn't she also have no background whatsoever in education? That was Bloomberg's way. It's John King's way too, since to him, parents and teachers are special interests. Only billionaires know what's good for working parents, I suppose.

Anyway, kudos to Susan Edelman at the Post for getting this out there. I can't imagine this is going to be a great week for the instant principal at PS 106. I wonder if this will teach people that experience matters. In a world where merit pay, after failing for over a hundred years, is the most innovative thing the Governor of New York can come up with, I'm not overly optimistic.
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