1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm focusing on keeping the machinery running

Did I just say that? Indeed I did - to a group of students. How shameful.

Herein lies the danger to any educational endeavor: inverting ends and means. Clearly excellent teaching, challenging students, wisdom, knowledge, a passion for truth...these are the ends of education. Yet in our bureacratized age, administrative realities tend toward the subordination of everything else. To steal the title from one of the Terminator films, it is the "rise of the machines."

How can a school be designed wherein the necessity of administrative functions is done (and done well) while at the same time keeping the real focus on education?

Shared Leadership 

Where is it written that there must be only one head of the school and that this person alone is the principal leader? Why not have two or three leaders who share administrative responsibilities, while at the same time focusing on key areas?

Why not a CEO, CFO and CPO? Say what? Yes, executive, financial and pedagogical "operations." Such a division of labor might prevent the abstraction that principals often face: they get removed from the classroom and within 90 days forget what it is to teach and to relate to students in the classroom. Their imaginations run wild with "what can be done," but this is only in their minds, not in reality. A sense of unreality permeates the entire school. Division and sabotage are the results.

There has to be a better way.  Maintaining machinery is not the proper vocation of a teacher.

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