'Cage-Busting Leadership': 5 myths vs. facts

 

 

MYTH:

Leaders are only allowed to do what federal law specifically permits.

FACT:

When it comes to federal law, as Council of the Great City Schools executive director Michael Casserly notes, "Unless something is otherwise prohibited by some provision in the statute or under the General Education Provisions Act, it's actually allowed." For district and state leaders, this means that silence is a license to lead.

 

MYTH:

Today's educational leadership training programs cover all of the material necessary to lead a successful school or system.

FACT:

According to pollster Public Agenda, 72 percent of superintendents and 67 percent of principals report that "typical leadership programs in graduate schools of education are out of touch with the realities of what it takes to run today's school district." ... Courses emphasize compliance with regulations while giving short shrift to helping leaders learn to utilize data or technology.

 

MYTH:

It is impossible for school leaders to implement reforms without new dollars.

FACT:

School and system leaders have a wealth of opportunities to use limited talent, tools, time, and resources to promote great teaching and learning — if they look for them and have the will to act on them. The fact is, the most innovative organizations tend to be cash-poor start-ups that rely on moxie, creativity, and elbow grease.

 

MYTH:

Good school leadership is about coaching, mentoring, and developing whomever you've got.

FACT:

Coaching and cajoling mediocre teachers is important and essential work, but it's wrong to suggest that good leaders should do this ad infinitum. Cage-busters coach and cajole as long as they think it makes sense for the school, system, and students — and work to briskly replace teachers when that is no longer the case.

 

MYTH:

All collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are egregiously restrictive.

FACT:

The majority of CBAs in K–12 actually include much room to maneuver. According to analysis of CBAs in the 50 largest US school districts, while one-third of the contract provisions examined were clearly restrictive, half were ambiguous or silent when it came to key personnel policy questions.

 


Cage-Busting Leadership

by Frederick M. Hess
#cagebusting
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Frederick M.
Hess

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Teacher quality 2.0: Toward a new era in education reform

Please join AEI for a conversation among several contributors to the new volume “Teacher Quality 2.0: Toward a New Era in Education Reform” (Harvard Education Press, 2014), edited by Frederick M. Hess and Michael Q. McShane. Panelists will discuss the intersection of teacher-quality policy and innovation, exploring roadblocks and possibilities.

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