Thursday, May 10, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Monday, May 7, 2012
I can understand their pain a bit, having been there. Back pre-Archambault, Paul and I preferred one candidate by far in a superintendent search, and the board accepted none of the candidates and reopened the search. Then back pre-Crawford, Paul picked the new superintendent dead last out of three, going so far as to say to himself "over my dead body." Paul continues to say "I told you so" about that one.
There was some talk tonight about combining all the vetting committees into one giant committee. I can tell you from experience that teachers who might be as vocal as can be with parents won't open up in front of administrators. I have no idea why parents and teachers were on the same committee this time; it seems like a recipe for disaster. A safe prediction might be that it would lead to Us v. Those Damned Administrators, and so it did. My only consolation is that I'm not on the BoE, and Paul, sleeping soundly, doesn't know what he's walking into. He'll have to pick up a copy of the Cortland Standard tomorrow afternoon, since nobody else bothers to cover Dryden meetings anymore. I give Chris Gibbons kudos for a reasoned and earnest response to some very angry remarks. Yeesh.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The New York State School Board Association is all irked because there are no school board members on the commission, but to be perfectly honest, school board members don't know anything more about education than bank board presidents do. Instead, the governor has larded his commission with the sort of people who become quickly bored with school life, get out, and establish a nonprofit so that they can talk pie-in-the-sky till the cows come home about how much better schools could be.
What's really needed are principals, who can talk about how the state's current reporting requirements force them to spend days out of each month juggling data instead of observing teachers or dealing with student problems. Maybe a superintendent or two to explain once and for all why the legislature's Good Ideas translate into lost dollars and diminished programs, and how spending 1/10 of the school year testing or grading limits student-teacher interaction and the possibility of learning.
I might include somebody from upstate to speak to the idea that establishing charter schools in small communities merely siphons needed dollars from struggling public schools, and to tell why consolidation is such anathema to people whose identities are tied to a school, a post office, and sometimes a tiny library.
But I don't think this is a real commission. I think it is sleight of hand—look over here at this cool bunch of people while back here I do what I want.
There are people on this commission whom I truly admire: Geoffrey Canada! Michael Rebell! But I think they were chosen not to act, but to talk, and I think the time for talking is probably over.