Thursday, March 10, 2011

Opinion on the superintendent role: is the job description at fault?

It's time to change Seattle schools superintendent's job, Seattle Times
Everyone knows the pattern, particularly in urban districts. Superintendents' average tenure is about 3 ½ years, and by that measure Goodloe-Johnson's departure is right on schedule.

To break that pattern we will have to change more than the person, we'll need to change the job.

Expecting too much of a superintendent is part of the problem, Crosscut
Problems arise […] when people start talking as though this were an opportunity for change, a chance to reverse all or some of the educational policies and programs put in place by departing Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

What’s wrong with that? Well, even though there are some things lots of us would like to change, it buys into the belief (and typical behavior) of school boards that the next superintendent will be a “white knight” or “superman” whose policies will fix everything, close the achievement gap, increase high school graduation — everything!

Supply vs. Demand: Rock Star Superintendents, Huffington Post
They command six-figure salaries, often with annual bonuses and car allowances. (Generous health care and pension plans are a given.) Sometimes their employers also foot the bill for their life insurance policies.

There are very few of them, for their skill set is rare. They must be savvy politicians and managers. They must be obsessed with constant improvement.

They'll be under the bright lights of the media, so the camera shy need not apply.

No, we're not talking rock stars, pro athletes or even pro coaches.

We're talking school superintendents. Especially those of large urban districts that have struggled from time immemorial. The original rock star superintendent was Rudy Crew, who asked for -- and got -- a contract from the Miami Dade school system in 2004 that paid him upwards of $500,000 a year. He defended his salary by saying, "I think people are really hungry for leadership. We shouldn't underestimate the value of this kind of leadership. This is public servancy with highly developed skills."

No comments:

Post a Comment