There's been some talk on Inside Ed that the budget reforms aren't respectful of the principals, or that the staffing cuts at North Avenue aren't respectful of the people who work there. I'm not sure respect is the issue here. It seems though, that respect means different things to different people.
Respect is one of the buzzwords of the moment. At work we have training in how to be respectful of co-workers. I listened to a fascinating interview with some BCPSS students on violence at the CEM website here. I was struck that they saw a major source of friction as being acts of disrespect. In this context respect is more about fearing someone than holding them in high regard.
From my point of view, and I know this sounds trite, respect (the high regard kind) is earned, not instituted. Rules for actions that are related to saving your neck or your job don't equal respect. Rules from above about politeness (no name calling, no interrupting or yelling, etc) can make the environment less hostile, but that politeness doesn't mean there's respect involved.
In that light here's my reaction to the idea that we should be respectful of those who's jobs are being shook up by changes in the BCPSS. The implication is that the changes should be slower and more careful so that feelings aren't hurt. In nine years I have never once heard a respectful statement from a teacher about "North Ave." I've heard polite statements, less polite statements and lots of silence, but never a comment about how much North Ave. helps in the classroom or in any other way. Since my interaction with North Ave. is limited I have no reason to argue with them about how they should feel towards North Ave. I have also gotten the impression from these same teachers that North Ave. doesn't respect them. This usually has something to do with training that they don't find beneficial or paperwork that they don't think is necessary. From my position of outside looking in, I don't think that there's currently much respect between North Ave. and the teachers, so it's doubtful that systemic changes are going to make it worse.
If Dr. Alonso can change things in North Ave. and schools enough, maybe the two parties can start with a clean slate and develop respect. I'm afraid careful, evolutionary changes that seem safer will never have enough momentum to changes these entrenched feelings.