Thursday, September 18, 2008

What should school leadership look like?

Today I am meeting with the AFT's Program and Policy Council and we began our day with this question. It was a valuable discussion because right now this question is being answered by everyone but teachers and our unions.

School leadership should include teachers as instructional leaders and it should include thoughtful and intentional collaboration.

Albert Einstein was credited with saying that we cannot simultaneously prepare for and prevent war. In the same way, teachers and educational support professionals cannot expect to carry out a sincere welcome and collaborative learning environment so that every student feels valued when we are drowning in the pervasive message that says we are not valued.

When people running school districts publicly state that education reform doesn't get anywhere when you cooperate with teachers, Like Washington, DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee said recently, I think we need to ask right back, "and how's it working for you to fight with teachers all the time?" Really. Where does that get you? And what does that do for students?

School leadership must start with collaboration, or it's not leadership; it's a military junta. We can be lead by leaders or we can be ruled by dictators, but we can't have both and I will not stand for people who do one thing but call it another for publicity sake.

So, what should school leadership look like?

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