Posts tagged "principal power"
July 27, 2012
One thing that district and charter schools have in common is a need for strong principals.
That’s what James Merriman, a lead advocate for the city’s charter sector, told Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform commission on Thursday.
“Charter schools understand and public school leaders understand that a successful school culture is ultimately the responsibility first and foremost of a school leader,” said Merriman, who leads the New York City Charter School Center.
“But here’s the tricky part,” he said. “We don’t have enough of them. We don’t have enough of them in the charter sector; we don’t have enough of them in the public schools.”
The Bloomberg administration tackled principal preparation in one of its earliest education initiatives, a training program called the Leadership Academy. But the program’s graduates have ranged in quality, with some leading successful schools and others being criticized for creating dysfunctional work environments. The program has shrunk over time, and in January, a top Department of Education official told a group of principals who are affiliated with Teachers College’s Cahn Fellows program that the city has not succeeded at maintaining uniformly strong principal quality .
The problem of where to find strong school leaders is more acute in the charter sector, where principal turnover is five times higher than in district schools.
Merriman told the commission he had no concrete solutions for boosting principal quality. But he believes that an annual principal training program that his organization runs, which begins next week, could at least begin to chip away at the problem. (more…)
September 15, 2009
A talk to principals yesterday by one of the earliest supporters of the Bloomberg administration’s school reforms raised a question: Would Bloomberg’s changes to the public schools survive under a new mayor?
The change that most concerns the supporter, William Ouchi, a management professor of UCLA, is the administration’s effort to push power away from a central school system and into the hands of principals.
In a talk to principals gathered at LaGuardia High School in Manhattan, Ouchi warned that other school districts have seen gains eroded when a new administration re-centralizes authority. He said he hopes that would not happen in New York. “The DNA of this idea will continue to circulate,” he said.
But speaking privately before the address, he confessed concern. “The problem is sustaining the governance,” he told GothamSchools. “I’m really scared that at the end of 12 years, the next person could wash it all away.”
Ouchi, who served as an adviser to Chancellor Joel Klein in 2002, hinges his argument for principal empowerment on a slightly different argument than Klein has provided. He focuses on a factor known as “total student load” or TSL, the number of students that each teacher is responsible for educating. His research, including a new book published this month, concludes that decentralization in New York City has led to a significant decline in TSL. (more…)