PAUSD BOE's latest faux paux a real shocker
Original post made by RWE, South of Midtown, on Mar 17, 2007
Only Gail Price - having in the past proved herself as our BOE's wisest member - was against the appointment happening the way it did. She predicted that the current negative impact on staf moreal would occur, and it has.
Although the current appointee is a very competent and well-liked individual, and probably qualified to do the job, there were many equally talented - maybe more talented - persons in this district available for that position. Yet, the position was not "opened up" for general application. It was a back room deal approved by the board to keep the administrator in the district, as he was in danger of being recruited away from PAUSD by another district.
One can understand PAUSD not wanting to lose a key administrator, but at what cost - especially if there is equally viable talent available in the system.
What is it about the nature of *basic* human relations in organizations that the majority of the PAUSD BOE doesn't understand. There is a serious need to get a clue about this, or at the very least take some sensitivity and basic training in personnel relations.
As a result of the BOE's faux paux, the new appointee will now be compelled to spend the next 6-12 months mending administrative fences - using energy that would not otherwise have had to be spent, *only* because the BOE engaged the hiring process the way it did.
Many administrators in the system are hopping mad over the way this went down; they're incredulous that such a thing could happen just a few months after other acts of poor organizational transparency and administrative bumbling cuased a near outright revolt by PAUSD administrators.
In all this, its *very* worrying to think about the relative competence of this BOE to competently choose a new PAUSD superintendant.
This latest faux paux is one more reason why Boards of Education should probably have their structures drastically changed, or be eliminated altogether. BOE's politicize the education process, period. They are becoming increasingly irrelevant to education, and the professionals (teachers and site administrators) who spend every day working face-to-face with our kids.
I would like someone to show me what good has come from having a BOE. Do we really need this unnecessary intermediary between the professionals that teach our kids? Do we need the superintendents they hire, who themselves live primarily in the political realm?
Why don't we consider alternate administrative structures for our schools, comprised of the very professionals that teach out kids, with appropriate milestones in place to reward performance, or punish the lack of it?
Instead, we have BOE's, elected bodies who politicize every aspect of education; who are largely dependent on and captive to the superintendents that they hire (who themselves are largely political in their function). This is a highly inefficient way to operate our schools, where children's futures are at stake.
Is there an alternate way to manage our schools? If not, we're going to have to begin insisting that BOE's begin to listen to the professionals that teach our children, and further insist that they stop the back room shenanigans and political meddling that creates organizational and *educational* inefficiencies.
Many people I've spoken to in the last few days - teachers, parents, adminstrators, and some others are fed up with this behavior.
How many of our tax dollars are going to be expended (wasted) as a newly appointed admistrator (one who - in the end - is a very competent fellow, and highly respected) has to spend time repairing personnel damage that would otherwise have been devoted to getting the job done - all because our BOE (with the seeming exception of only one) still hasn't gotten the message that transparency in government is the best way to go.
This is a *very* disappointing turn of events - one that will have more parents, teachers, and adminsitrators watching carefully as the board goes about choosing a new superintendent.
Just in case the BOE hasn't gotten the message, I'll repeat it. We're looking for an administrator who will NOT destablize this district with back room political shenanigans; we're looking for an administrator that honors diversity (it goes without saying); we're looking for an administrator that knows how to effectively work WITH, LEARN FROM and more than occaasionally be willing to DEFER TO the working teachers and administrators (professionals) that teach our kids, face-to-face, every day; we're looking for an adminstrator that has *proven* innovative chops working *within* district constraints, as well as seeking *innovative* inter-district efficiencies.
This city's demographic is a demanding one. In fact, the nature of the demographoc itself, where it came from, where it's been - combined with the hard-working dedication of teachers and site adminsitratrors is what makes this district great.
The BOE and top administrative brass are *mandated* to husband that greatness, and not toy with it, or mess it up.
Thiings better start to turn around on the BOE side (I'm especially disappointed in Barb Mitchell in her support of this recent process), or there is going to be a large reaction in the upcoming BOE elections, with a real price to pay down the road for any BOE member that has further political aspirations here.
The PAUSD and City budgets may be separate, but the schools are unavoidably connected to our city's financial and scial well-being. The BOE needs to start recognizing this, and stop acting like it's in junior high school, about to begin study on life's important lessons.
We expect mature, sensitive, professionally insightful, non-manipulative, transparent, and humble wisdom coming from our BOE members; we expect them to realize that they are NOT the real experts in education, but husbanders of the potential of those who are - teachers and site administrators; we expect that they will work hard at NOT being so chummy with school superintendants, and work with the lattter in trust, but in personal and professional arm's length; we expect that they will be able to work without a kind of "needy approval" of the administrators that they are supposed to be managing.
We expect that they will figure out ways to constantly remind themselves of the above "lessons", or be remembered for lack of doing so at crucial times in each one of their professional electoral futures (if any so intend).
Lastly, we want to thank Gail Price for having the guts and wisdom to say and do the right thinig yet again. If BOE's were mostly made up of pepople with Ms. Price' qualities, I would gladly endorse their continued existence.