Idle Threats

There’s been a lot of conversation centering on Governor Spitzer’s “Contract for Excellence” wherein superintendents, boards, and principals will be held accountable for taking action and raising student achievement. But only if you’re a school that’s deemed needy financially, as compared to “successful” schools, to warrant an increase in foundation aid of at least 10%. We are and we do.

Does the governor’s office, or the public in general really think I’m not accountable now? I’m a public school administrator. Here’s who I’m currently held accountable by:

  1. 467 students
  2. 467+ parents and guardians
  3. 60 teachers
  4. 2 union presidents
  5. 20 support staff personnel
  6. 1 superintendent
  7. 1 business official
  8. 7 Board of Education members
  9. 2500 community members and taxpayers
  10. 3 administrative colleagues
  11. 3 members of my own family
  12. 1 me.

And the governor and his accountability through the contract for excellence are supposed to worry me? Two thoughts: if someone, including an official at State Ed has a good idea that will help my school improve, bring it on and I’ll give it a try,  no “contract for excellence” necessary AND if anyone wants to remove me because I neither get every student to attend school every day, pass every Regents exam with a 65% nor graduate, they darn sure better have someone better to replace me.

Why? Because this is my school district, where I live, shop, pay taxes, and educate my children. I don’t need the threat of removal to do my job nor do I find it motivational. This contract assumes the worst of me and I resent it.

  1. Re: The main post

    I’m glad that you feel responsible to all of those 3500+ community members and that you don’t need additional motivation/accountability to pursue your job to the utmost. Unfortunately, not all principals are as competent or as intrinsically motivated. Surely you understand that the same public to which you feel beholden might want to put measures in place to make sure that the principals in all public schools measure up to some basic standards.

    If you disagree with the types of standards that are established, perhaps it would be better to have a school choice system that would allow parents to decide whether the school is meeting their child’s needs. Such a system would provide a much more robust method of accountability without requiring the same blanket standards for every principal or teacher.

    Re: Michelle-“I personally believe every politician ought to have to spend time teaching before they pass legislation regarding education.”

    This seems like an unreasonable requirement, don’t you think? Following the same logic, would a politician have to have worked as a coal miner, soldier, financial analyst, pilot, telephone operator, astronaut, firefighter, police officer, etc. if she wanted to pass legislation dealing with any of those jobs/industries? If not, why should education be the sole industry worthy of such a restriction? If anything, most people have more familiarity with teaching than with other fields.

  2. Pingback: G-Town Talks » The 111th Carnival of Education

  3. Well said, Kimberly. For some reason, state- and federal-level politicians forget about that little accountability tool we’ve been using for a couple of centuries now, called the school board. They make policies that reflect local community expectations and hire the appropriate people to follow through with those policies.

    Somebody say amen.

  4. Kim,
    You are right on. I have never thought of being held accountable in those terms but it makes sense. Who better to hold us accountable than the people that we serve.
    Also, I noticed that on your list you were last. Good leaders always put everyone else first (hows that for a contridactory statement). I assume that was intentional?


  5. I agree whole heartedly. They are driving excellent people such as yourself away due to these “toxic” plans. I personally believe every politician ought to have to spend time teaching before they pass legislation regarding education.

  6. What I wonder — as this accountability movement continues, and the atmosphere for teachers and principals becomes more and more toxic — who do all these politicians think will want to teach? Will want to be principals?

  7. Perfectly said! I couldn’t agree more.
    You’re an asset to the Gowanda schools and community and we appreciate all you’re doing to make a positive difference in our schools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *