Google+ Badge

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Adding More Administrators Won't Improve Schools

It's important to audit the time and money spent on those who do not directly serve students in school. Yes, there needs to be a few individuals that oversee schools systems, but in general, most people who work in schools should be directly tied to service to students.

Ways to reduce the need for administrators include the following:
  • Institute more hybrid roles where educators both lead and teach with each other. The hybrid roles serves to uplift service to students and create greater leadership opportunity and mentoring for all.
  • Ensure that existing leadership is mostly placed in schools with regular contact with students and the daily efforts to successfully run a school building. When administrators are distanced from the day-to-day workings of a school, there's the potential that they will lose sight of what is happening at school. Many administrators can play the dual role of leading curriculum areas and helping to manage a school building.
  • Streamline and simplify evaluation systems. An evaluation system should serve educators well with respect to elevating their craft and service to students. However, an evaluation system should not be an end in itself. Evaluation systems, when streamlined, are both effective and simple to implement.
  • Be transparent about costs, and enlist the support of all stakeholders when it comes to making the tough decisions about where to spend money and where not to spend money.
  • Spend money wisely. For example sometimes hiring one full time teacher with strong experience is worth more money than hiring lots of inexperienced part-time staff. It's important to think deeply about who you are hiring and why--to simply hire at the lowest cost often does not service students well. These decisions are important when it comes to student care and service.
I have been watching our local school committee debate and make tough decisions with regard to running a school system with a chosen budget cap. As I listen to their discussion, I find myself thinking about each decision from my point of view. Of course I believe that teachers should receive fair salaries and significant autonomy, mastery, and purpose on the job. I also believe that there should be less administrators and more educators and paraeducators who provide direct service to students. I believe that inclusive teams of all stakeholders should make the important decisions related to schools with lead time and care, and I believe that all roles need to be audited with regard to hours and service to students. I believe that a role audit will identify ways to better serve students and modernize our teaching/learning communities. 

My team is currently re-looking at the way we use time too to better our efforts. We have a new scheduling idea that we'll discuss in the coming weeks as one way to improve our efforts to teach students well. It's important to continually spiral our work ahead, and that spiral takes good dialogue, research, and some responsible risk too. Onward.