|Yesterday, as local parent groups at 37 schools, gathered signatures on petitions calling for more limited assessment tests, CPS announced that new principals are going to trained by private companies, basically as test pushers.|
The board has handed out lucrative contracts to politically-connected New Leaders for New Schools and Teach For America (TFA) to train Chicago principal candidates.
Local school councils, who by law have the power to hire new principals, will now be limited to selecting those who have been trained by these two corporate "reform" groups. One can only imagine what's on the new Five-Step Principal Quality Strategy training table. The Sun-Times report gives us a clue.
Anyone aiming to take the helm of a school will have to prove a knack for dealing with parents who are upset or breaking up a student fight in the hall and other routine situations, Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said.Yes, "dealing with parents." If there was ever a motto to be inscribed in Latin over the front door at Clark Street., this is it. Or maybe something like -- Parentes Sunt Stulti (Parents Are Fools)
As one would expect, no mention is made of the role of principals as teacher supporters, modelers of good teaching, trust builders, power sharers, or community leaders. That's the kind of principal preparation we were doing at UIC and other schools of education back in the early days of school reform, when LSCs had some real power and the principalship was gradually being liberated from the backwardness of white-only political patronage.
But under mayoral control, the clock is being turned back and principals are once again being rapidly rotated and sent out as anti-union enforcers for City Hall and the corporate school reformers. They are now going to be evaluated and paid not as professionals, but on the bonus system, like a sales manager, with the product being standardized test scores. The bonus money is coming from private sources and the power philanthropists with half of the criteria for these bonuses based on higher student test scores.
It's hard to believe that principals and their association will let all this go down without a peep. Shame on them if they do.