Re: "Behind Portland's dropout rate" Oregonian editorial board Jan 31, 2011
*First, drop your defenses.
*Second, publish all the data, even the embarrassing stuff.
*Third, build a district-wide strategy that is grounded in the individual relationships between adults and students.
In three imperative clauses, the Oregonian editorial board provides the Governor and reform-minded legislators with the answers to our public school debacle.
However, the sagacious editors have been too mild in their admonishment:
1. "Drop your defenses" is too vague. "Fire your lawyers" is more specific.
2. "Publish the data" can be preceded by "Fire the PR personnel."
3. The last (and most important) suggestion is the relationship-building strategy that recognizes that any traction in education begins with the"teacher-student" contact, where rubber meets the road.
Ironically, this strategy will best be accomplished by acting on the previous two suggestions. Without lawyers and PR spin, school administrators will be forced to hire competent and professional subordinates and the patronage appointments that create public employment hierarchies will self-destruct.
We currently have too many entrenched administrators who no doubt started careers with noble intentions but who are now caught up in maintaining the extravagant facades that many of our schools, through negligence and niavete, have become.
I observed such a facade at the largest public high school in Oregon (Westview HS) when I worked there. Voicing my concerns was unhealthy for my career: Oregon Education Association Fraud
All three of The Oregonian's suggestions fall under the umbrella of administrative oversight and accountability. Without those, the rest of reform is a smokescreen: Teaching in the Shadow of the Swoosh
(P.S. The master teachers with whom I have worked would be honored to serve with an administrator as humble and self-aware as Roosevelt's principal seems to be.)