Sunday, September 26, 2010

Don't hold back; tell me how you really feel.

So, I blasted off a response to a comment blaming all education problems on ineffective teachers. That comment was in response to this article from the Baltimore Sun:

I won't disagree that ineffective teachers are a problem, but in my experience over 8 schools and 11 years with my three kids (yes we've had to switch schools several times for various reasons), the bigger problem is incompetent principals. Maybe they aren't so much incompetent, as driven by other factors than providing an excellent education for every student at their school. They reward teachers, not for doing a good job of teaching, but because they don't speak badly about the principal. They shun involved parents because they want to be 100% in charge and never have to justify a decision to anyone. Teachers who make demands or raise hard questions or ask for administrative support are pushed out. Those are usually excellent teachers.

Bad teachers do hurt a classroom of kids for one year. In my experience the biggest issue is inexperience and in the course of a year they get markedly better. Bad principals, on the other hand, affect every classroom for multiple years. Only a very good and strong teacher can be effective with a bad administration. Bad principals hurt vastly more students than bad teachers.

Oh, and in the city there is a union that represents administrators. Plus, with all the political connection they make, they are nearly impossible to fire. How many years have people been fussing about City's principal before he left?


  1. Every word of your latest post is true. It is the elephant in the room. AAA hired almost 70 new principals this year;many young and inexperienced. Some will develop well. Others are already disasters. Many of the candidates on the pre-approved list from North Avenue could not write a resume, spell, punctuate, or articulate a coherent thought in an interview. But they were sent to schools to be interviewed. What does that tell you? In private industry, one error on a resume would knock you out of the running.Multiple errors? Oh,my.

  2. Hmm... Interesting take on my post. You were thinking about new principals being hired, and my experiences are about principals that were here long before AAA started working. I can't comment on new principals hired through different tracks - I have no experience. On the other hand, I'll take an eager, but not too skilled principal over some of the political machines that I have had experience with, any day.


I love comments. Ads, on the other hand, will be deleted.