Saturday, February 02, 2008

Fire the School Principals, Save Money !

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I wrote the following in response to some local idiots who were going to save money by getting rid of the principals and other administrators.

About 85% of your education tax dollar goes to pay teachers' salaries and benefits. Very little is left over for books, supplies, and administrators.

A great deal of time the administrators are working with students who have become such a problem in the classrooms that they have been kicked out by the teachers. The also deal with the parents of these students....and the the cops and the lawyers.

When not so occupied, they deal with broken stuff around the facilities, and getting downtown or the District office to send someone out to fix it. After that they attend to WASC (recertification) meetings at least every six years for an entire year. Ah yes, settling disputes within departments among teachers, or between departments among teachers, that's another fun activity.

Somewhere in here they look into building new facilities and getting funding, and getting out the vote. How about a PTSA meeting each month, and God knows how many athletic events, band concerts, and art exhibits they attend? Miss any of these and at least one parent or student will either be crushed or angry or both.

As a teacher of 30 years I actually went most of the way through the process of getting an admin credential, having worked with at least a couple who did an excellent job. It pays a lot more than teaching, and that was appealing.

Then, one day during my internship at Balboa High School in SF, I found myself on patrol. My job was to find students wandering in the halls and escort them back to class. I came across three kids and began tailing them. As it was summer school, I had no way of knowing who they were (1500 plus students), so the strategy was to simply tail them until I could meet up with security (I had radioed them), and they would handle the physical details.

One of the kids asked me, "Why should I go back to class?"

I explained: " if you go to class and do well you might get into college. If you get into college and do well, you might get to do the extra 1.5 years and become a teacher. If you do three years as a teacher, you might be able to get into a program that makes you an administrator. If you get to be an administrator, you will get paid $85,000/10 month plus plus(longer than teachers)school year to walk behind kids and tell them to get back into class! It's not a hard job, once you get to that level."

Once I finished my little speech, I knew I was never going to be an administrator. 20% of being a leader is changing bedpans, for sure, for sure.

If you are going to dump the administrators, then please plan on building holding cells, and hiring burly bouncers to take the disruptive little darlings out of the classes as needed and store them until their parent(s)/guardian picks them up.

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