Monday, September 5, 2011

Similar problems in K-12 and university management

It is interesting to see that many of the problems we are noticing in PPS (bloated administration, vague and wordy strategic plans, administrators who lack teaching experience) appeared first at the university level.

See this review of "Fall of the Faculty" from the WSJ:


Veteran Teacher said...

This book review reminds me of Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti mantra that we are running two districts, one the regular course of business and the other the "reform agenda."

This thinking was used to create an Office of Strategic Initiatives AND an Office of Teacher Effectiveness, both of which existed simultaneously for a lengthy period of time.

As a result you might have the Office of Student Services, Office of Strategic Initiatives AND the Office of Student Student Services all working on the same set of, for instance, counseling issues.

As you might imagine, 2/3 of this equation would have no practical experience to ground their work and were too arrogant to ask let alone listen to anyone who knew the material.

The duplication, sometimes triplication, of management services was not only dysfunctional, but created enormous inefficiencies, often generating end product entirely meaningless to practioneers in the field.

Expanded district wide, it helps to explain why despite an increasingly more senior teaching staff Pittsburgh gained no ground on the rest of the Commonwealth during the last six years.

Old Timer said...

Someone once said that "a committee of one gets things done." In Pittsburgh, that committee of one often began and ended with your building principal. What I had as building principals in the 80's and 90's defined what leadership was all about:

-your school was safer because your principal knew the kids and knew the communities.
-your kids had more in the way of books, facilities and equipment because your principal fought for you
-your kids learned more because your principal entrusted the instruction to your teachers, who also knew what your kids needed on an individual basis.
-your kids and your community had an advocate because many old school principals would fight for their needs (and some of the last members of the old guard telling Roosevelt "all about it" are stories of legend.)

Somehow, becoming ad administrator became a cottage industry, much like being a researcher or test writer. Wow, did teachers miss the boat on this gravy train!
Now, you have "data driven" instruction which is overseen by myriad administrators who spent little, if any time in a classroom.

What we have learned locally is that you could have been in the classroom for a couple of unsuccessful years, could have been a school psychologist or gym teacher...and somehow call the shots on just what makes for effective teaching. I feel empowered these days.

Anonymous said...

As of last Friday, it is rumored that Westinghouse students did not have schedules.
Can you imagine if that is/was true?
What a great alternative for the east end. PELA strikes again.

Anonymous said...

Understand that a "learning walk team"---you know, a team of individuals who were completely useless when they were teachers...if they were ever teachers at all---visited this past week for a couple of days and ripped the teachers and the school administration.
Uh, thanks.
What a joke this district's central administration is. In tough budgetary times when districts are being made to fire people, how do these individuals keep their jobs????

Joe the Barber said...

How NOT to start a school year:

-continually wrangle over just how the school will be made up: by gender or otherwise
-give your constituents little recourse: this school or one in the Hill which has an even more dubious reputation
-open the school year without schedules for a couple of weeks
-continue the school year with teachers being unable to have class they don't even know who belongs in their classes
-do a couple of all-day-long learning walks where you bash school administration and trash the teaching staff
-make threats about it all and say you'll be back in October.


If anyone needed an example of the types of people who work in central administration and their disconnect from the schools and the classrooms, this is it.
The teachers at Westinghouse should organize a mass walk out and make sure that media is there.

But it won't happen, as one needs to think about his career now...and the teachers have no union--despite paying over $800 a year in dues--to back it up.