Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let's talk about school

It's been a while since I've mentioned the kids school. Things have been relatively smooth despite a couple of rather large bumps, and the second term began this week, so things always improve with a new term, new classes, and new opportunities.

The principal resigned yesterday. That will make something like 4 principals in 6 years. Why yes, there IS a problem with the school. I believe I've mentioned that a few thousand times. This particular principal was a nice guy, quiet, soft spoken, friendly and liked by the students. Well, that's the problem right there. He's not there to be liked. He's there to be the commander in chief of the school. And he wasn't that great at that role. He really never got the whole discipline issue, he certainly didn't get that the SpEd department was running amok and not following federal mandates, and he didn't do so well with communication with parents. As a matter of fact, he spent a lot of time avoiding communication with parents, which was detrimental to his success at the school.

His tenure review was this year, and I have the feeling his resignation came because he wasn't going to be offered tenure. I don't know that for a fact, it's really just a feeling. But I know that I was part of a parent team asked to evaluate him, and the evaluations were not rave reviews across the board. I also know that some teachers, especially in the special programs weren't overly enthralled with him either.

Of course this comes at a terribly difficult time. The schools are kinda broke and they can't offer the huge salaries that we've paid in the past. Additionally, as long as the Stuperintendent of Schools Jeffrey Young is around leeching money from the school making the biggest salary in the freaking state, we're not going to get a candidate that will make the correct types of changes the school needs. Mr Young is so focussed on the touchy-feeley, politically correct leadership of our school that he doesn't see the real problems as they are. He's not involved in the day to day running of the school, nor does he actually understand the issues that the students have to deal with. He is unaware of the bullying, the violence, the stealing, and the harassment that certain kids (not mine, thank goodness) go through. Nor is he ready to acknowledge that the school's academics are twirling around the drain, especially with the less abled kids. As long as he has enough kids going into IVY colleges, he doesn't care about the rest of the kids struggling to get through their classes and into state colleges.

So we've got monitary problems in the school system, limiting the amount a new principal can be offered. We've got a superintendent that will be looking for the wrong kind of person to manage the school, and we have kids who are suffering because they do not have steady leadership due to the constant turnover.

This is NOT a way to run the school.

And it pisses me off no end that I just KNOW there won't be a change that I'll be happy with. Four years ago, both high school principal positions were open. I had high hopes that we would get someone good, because we were holding a nationwide search and our city school system has a good reputation, although mostly based on past and not recent successes. When the new hires were announced, the most salient fact about both of them was that they were both gay. Like that freaking matters. But to our superintendent, that IS what matters. He replaced a much loved middle school principal with a reviled moron because said moron was black. It had nothing to do with experience (the moron was a PE teacher) or talent (he appeared on the local news right after he was hired for the attrocious treatment of certain students who he made crawl down the hallways as punishment). The guy was SO bad I pulled the Girl out of that school and moved her to another middle school with a delightfully appropriate principal (also gay) who was hired well before the superintendent came to stay.

I've heard that at least 4 elementary school principals are also leaving. We've had a revolving door of principals for years, especially in the elementary schools. That speaks of a school system that isn't managed well. People don't leave executive level jobs, especially in this economic climate, unless they're totally miserable at their jobs. I have to believe that this must be the case here, since it's been an ongoing problem since Mr Young arrived.

And please God, we won't renew his contract again.

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