In response to the post “Who Really is Not Getting the Job Done,” and subsequent posts, a reader writes:
“I am not sure Cain is right in all cases when he says teachers want great leadership. High school teachers especially have earned a reputation for seeking isolation. I have specialized in turning around highly dysfunctional high schools, and many of those teachers have not craved leadership. They wanted to be left alone and blamed the dysfunction on those kids. I am not talking about one or two teachers in a dysfunctional school with that attitude; I am talking about almost all of them. The teachers viewed themselves as experts in the field. In fact, they viewed themselves as such experts that they rejected the best practices of the field, even the works of Marzano and Bloom. Not much fun for the principal brought in to pull the school out of the ditch.
The first question you get is, “why not get ‘buy in?’”
“Buy in,” is great, especially if you are moving towards a new curriculum, or a new program. But getting “buy in” to have teachers adhere to best practices accepted by the field of education? This level of “buy in” expectation is over the line. It’s like getting a quote from a plumber, and he tells you, “By the way, I know we have codes and expected standards for good plumbing, but I don’t really go by those standards because I don’t agree with them. I have been doing it this other way for years and it has been working just fine for me so far.”
Would you hire this plumber? If you had hired him and then he told you this, would you stand for it?
Principals that work at all schools face this attitude to some extent. For principals working in highly dysfunctional high schools I think you will find this is a very common teacher philosophy. By the way, Cain is right about leadership. Dysfunctional high schools have this attitude running rampant and the high schools get dysfunctional because plenty of principals, superintendents, and school boards have allowed it to happen. Trying to straighten the mess out is the challenge of a lifetime.”
All right Lead Your School Readers, this reader just raised the bar for comments. What are you going to do about it?
Think. Work. Achieve.
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