Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making it Easier to Demote Seattle Principals

The Seattle Times ran a story today on an amendment to a bill in the State Legislature that would change the rules on demoting public school principals in Seattle.

Currently, the District is required to show "probable cause" to demote a principal. The amendment to the Race To The Top bill, if passed, would reduce that requirement to "valid reason".

The principals, of course, are opposed. The District is apparently also opposed.

Here is one of the more ironic exerpts from the article:
In Seattle, Jennifer Wiley, Franklin High principal and president of Seattle's principals association, says Carlyle's proposal isn't needed because the district already has the tools it needs to demote principals.

"If the tools aren't being used, then the responsibility lies with the leadership," she said.

While principals don't shy away from increased accountability, she said, they also need to have appropriate resources, supports and authority, which they have lacked in Seattle.

And accountability without support, she said, would deter strong leaders from working in schools that need good leadership the most.

Of course, this is exactly what the teachers are saying.

6 comments:

emeraldkity said...

I was on the hiring committee for Ms. Wiley when she entered the district as principal @ Summit and while I agree the district should assign more rights along with the responsibility of being the head administrator in a building ( and not be so quick to hire someone that wasn't ready for that position)- it is a very ironic statement for her to make.

HIndsight is 20/20 I guess.

agibean said...

Would you be willing to share what your problem was with Ms. Wiley at Summit? I have a nephew who was in the 9-12 program there and just couldn't say enough about her. From what I recall (it's been almost 8 years), she went out of her way more than once to help him find his way after a difficult middle school experience. His wasn't a unique experience either. He stayed in touch with her for a number of years.

wseadawg said...

See this Longview, WA example of scapegoating and making it easier to fire people. When there are no more public schools in 20 years, except in the wealthiest, walled-in neighborhoods, we can look to this example as to how it began.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/
2011127963_apwaprincipalforcedout.html

seattle citizen said...

Here's another article from the Olympia News about this. There are federal grants available, large ones, for districts that choose to accept them for "poorly performing schools." These grants are contingent on district (school) choosing one of four pathways:
all staff removed;
principal removed;
charter instituted (can't here);
and one other that I forget.

Sort of like RTTT: "Here's federal money, but you have to do it our way."

The article says that there are two elementaries and one high school in Seattle that would be eligible.

http://www.olympianews.org/2010/02/17/a-gift-horse-a-trojan-horse-or-a-windfall-the-feds-are-giving-out-new-grants-to-improve-the-state%E2%80%99s-lowest-performing-schools/

emeraldkity said...

I like Jennie don't get me wrong- I think she has a lot of energy and she began a great steel drum program @ Summit.

But at the time- I did not think that she was the right person for the job- she had never been a principal before ( she had been vice principal in the Shoreline district), she was really more interested in a comprehensive high school, and IMO Summit needed a much more experienced principal to be its advocate in the district.

She left when the job @ Franklin opened up, which she had interviewed for at the same time- which is fine as that is where she was better suited- but as a parent who had weathered attempts to dismantle Summit ( and alternatives in general), by the district- it was unfortunate timing.

The ironic comment- was regarding how a particular teacher was handled.
This teacher could have been reassigned or dealt with in another way, had documentation been provided, but it was pretty messy, and after Ms. Wiley had left.

There are other things as well, but as she seems to have hit her stride, it isn't worth commenting on, because they could be explained as too much too fast for someone in a new job.

Charlie Mas said...

Why doesn't the legislature propose a similar amendment for teachers?