Leaders — NOT the ones you see and hear about in the news but the kind that I saw in action last week at a local high school. There are men and women in the trenches of real school reform that should give us all reason for hope. These are leaders that embrace solutions.
First step – open your arms wide. Take in the community. Connect.
School principals have a responsibility to “work with the teachers … and serve our kids and their families” (to quote another common person). These are the people that make real reform happen. They have the responsibility to improve education for every student but they don’t always have the power, control, and freedom to do it. This is why “we” need to better define the governing roles in our education system.
The principal IS the most important person in the hierarchy of school administration – in my opinion. And in too many cases that I have witnessed, they aren’t being treated as such or allowed the time to do their jobs effectively.
So last week having witnessed a principal working to develop community partnerships by first stressing that the focus is the students was uplifting. And watching him acknowledge through actions and words that it will take teachers, counselors, other staff, and the community to create opportunities for students should serve as a reminder that it is this philosophy of practice that policy and funding should support.
I hope readers out there won’t be fooled again by the language (messaging) associated with the re-writing of No Child Left Behind (called ESEA, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act). When you hear the words “restore local control,” ask; “how exactly?”
When principals embrace positive change and have education laws supporting them, great things will happen!