Friday, May 29, 2009

The real consequences of misguided leadership.

There used to be a time when offering high salaries brought the best and brightest to your company. With all things being equal, the prospective candidate for a position within your organization could consider things like compensation as a determining factor. However, things have clearly gotten out of control.

The mentality of many public agencies is to automatically assume that higher pay means a higher set of qualifications being brought into service to advocate for an agency's priorities. Sadly, when everyone offers obscene wages to their leaders, while retaining a board that doesn't understand the work these "leaders" do, there is a disaster just waiting to happen. That disaster is now devouring us.

What happened to the days when a candidate for superintendent wanted to lead a school district and be a part of its community? What happened to developing a reputation as a great place to work and attracting stellar candidates that want to be involved in cutting edge work and the provision of exceptional services? What happened to developing leadership from within an organization and investing in our community resources, like employees? There doesn't appear to be any real concern for leaving a constructive and positive legacy. We recruit random outsiders that rave about the random success of their respective organizations... organizations they appear to be in a hurry to leave.

These days it is all too common for "leaders" to move between organizations and demand high salaries under the pretense of perceived success. As we survey the industrial and commercial landscape in search for a representative sample of what this strategy has created, one cannot help but take notice of the innumerable casualties and countless programs that have withered under the pressure of misguided leadership.

When a "leader" tells our community that no meaningful research exists to support the assertion that five half days of kindergarten each week is better than two full days and one half day and then protects half day programming at Madrona and Maplewood, what conclusions must this community draw?

Why slash half day programming everywhere else? If it works at Madrona and Maplewood, why doesn't it work everywhere else? If it doesn't make any difference everywhere else, why protect the programs at Madrona and Maplewood? Perhaps the answer has more to do with the inclination toward vocal dissent among those parents than any real educational objectives.


Anonymous said...

Mark. You're dead on with this issue. The board and Nick bow down to the vocal groups. That is why there has been extra transportation costs to support those choice schools (finally being made equal with the new budget cuts) The vocal groups are the reason that Maplewood's library isn't being touched, even though their librarian teaches fewer sections than a librarian in one of the 4 unlucky schools. The district is too short sighted (or stupid) to realize that counting the number of students instead of the sections (classes) being taught gives a more acurate assessment to the library needs of a building. They're too stupid to see that Maplewood's librarian teaches fewer sections than one of the supposedly smaller schools. The middle school part of the LMS contract does not require sections (classes) to be taught because middle school LMS services use a different model. If they looked at the K-6 students instead of the K-8, Maplewood should have been in the 4. Yet that goes unnoticed, or brushed under the rug, hoping that no one notices? Do you think for one second the parents at Maplewood or Madrona would sit by and watch their library services cut in half? It's much easier to target the "working class " schools because their parents (as a whole) don't have the luxury of time to be educated on the issues. Many of the parents at the "other" schools are working two jobs to make ends meet. There's no time left to advocate for their children. But, does that mean their children are less important? Should their children receive less services than any other student in the district? The district thinks so and their budget decisions clearly demonstrate this. The district keeps saying that the library cuts are being made to the 4 smallest schools. What determines a school's size???? BOUNDARIES!! Five years ago the boundaries were re-drawn. My school received NOT ONE new student as a result. Two schools have been closed, and NOT ONE student is coming to our school that is nearby. Instead, the district chooses to load them into an already big school(Terrace Park). This is just another example of the equity of education in the Edmonds School District. district. Let me go pay my taxes noW

Anonymous said...

Madrona and Maplewood are the ESD version of private schools. If services are cut at those two schools, district officials are worried students would be pulled and put in private schools. Therefore loosing state money ESD receives for each student. A public institution should not let $$$ dictate how a certain class of families with money are treated. Let them move on, they are taking advantage of the ESD. Otherwise let them join the rest of the real world and be in your neighborhood schools, where your kids live.

Concerned said...

Hear hear to the first 2 commenters. But don't take my word for it. Check out the demographics for Maplewood and Madrona.

Now compare that with the district as a whole. We also have schools that are skewed toward the other end of the demographic spectrum. Whose needs are better served among those schools? There is definitely not equitable opportunity to attend Maplewood or Madrona.

I was pleased to hear the district address equitable opportunities at the community mtg in regards to fund raising (district wide v. for a particular school), however, that doesn't go far enough. The district has a long way to go in addressing issues of equity within schools, and between schools.

That should be a post in its own right.

All of our families are not being represented or heard. All of our students are not being served equitably. The disparities seen here, in the comments, and in the state data is the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know the criteria for how students are selected to attend either Madrona or Maplewood. If, indeed, there is a waiting list at either school, it would be enlightening to know how students are truly selected. If a student is put on the list in numbered order I wouldn't have a problem. But if students are being selected out of order and there is intervention on the part of the district or parents, then I would also suspect that the district is behind an attempt to create unequal schools. For all its ill-repute, the NCLB law does have an acronym that meaningfully states what's at the heart of the matter--"No child left behind." Unfortunately, there are those in education who have no problem leaving others behind.
I am ashamed that our local district and state legislature have not realized that our children are the future.
Shame on the high salaries. Shame on the employees who take advantage for themselves in their daily work.
I learned several years ago that teaching was the greatest calling.
Move over and let us do the work. The ones who really know why we work in education.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Don't just look at the test results, look at the racial profile for these schools. Nick and Marla are protecting a little enclave of white supremacy.

Anonymous said...

you people are are seriously uninformed. What I see in these postings are comments filled with hate and spite. You really have NO idea what Madrona and Maplewood families deal with in their daily lives. I am sure I will get some hateful responses to my posting because that is what happens on this blog. First, get your information straight before you start trash talking about people you don't know. Secondly, name calling shows your ignorance. I won't be comming back to this blog. I don't need your kind of "bias" telling me that everyone who doesn't agree with you are "stupid"

Richard Reuther said...

The too-long response was posted as a comment here.