Friday, April 8, 2011

Rejoinder - Cathleen P. Black Is Out as New York City Schools Chancellor

Rejoinder - Cathleen P. Black Is Out as New York City Schools Chancellor

Is anyone surprised by this? We seem to continue to view non-educators as the new trend in educational leadership in America. Why is it that we take non-educators and place them into high ranking leadership roles within school districts. While superintendents/chancellors must possess a high degree of knowledge with respect to education law and finance, equally if not more important is the knowledge in what is quality instruction.

As a superintendent/chancellor the main job is to ensure quality achievement for all students. In order to do that the leader must steeped in educational pedagogy and have a deep understanding of what quality instruction looks like. They must be versed on the latest educational research, professional development, and be able to establish and sustain quality relationships with the educators that make up the district.

We have watched as other “education reformers” have come into American school districts with the mentality that they are going to bring about drastic change. While this is admirable, approach matters. In order to move forward student achievement, one begs the question isn’t it about the teachers? Isn’t it about the principals? The superintendent/chancellors must be able to know what traits quality principals possess. They must be able to serve as matchmakers to ensure that the right principals are in the right schools and the right teachers are in the right positions.

Former Chancellor Rhee of Washington DC public school and former Chancellor Cathleen P. Black New York public school came into their positions with a bang and left with a bang. Have any of the changes that either Chancellor made brought about substantial gains in student achievement, elimination of the achievement gap, better teaching and learning throughout the district? Quality educational leaders build a system of schools that will stand and continue to grow long after that leader has left.

When the leaders don’t have a basic understanding of quality teaching and learning, how are they to be successful? It’s time to ensure that we have superintendents/chancellors that are steeped in educational pedagogy, that are experienced education leaders, and that have strong business and financial acumen. These are the individuals we need to bring about the quality reform to our schools!

Guest writer:
Dr. Nee Schouweiler

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