A letter from Craig Toensing former Connecticut State Board Of Education chair 2

Our present superintendent was a good grade school principal. So good that when I was the State Board chair I had her, Cornwall principal Bill Oris and then superintendent Muff Maskovsky come to Hartford and present to the State Board of Education on how to run a successful grade school. Then she was hired as the Region One superintendent. There was a book written by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull and published in 1969 entitled “The Peter Principle”. The principle holds that members of an organization will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence. In Region One we have examples of the principle at work. I was still active in education when  she was chosen as the new superintendent. There were some who thought that the hire might not make sense because she had never been a high school principal and the lack of that experience might hinder her effectiveness. That opinion turns out to have been prescient. Under the leadership of the superintendent, the education leader of the Region, the high school is floundering. Many students are doing poorly in the classroom and on state tests. In the last three years two principals have resigned within days of the start of the new school year.The Region administrators have little concept of the basic management principle that if one is given the responsibility for a task they must also be given the authority to carry it out. It is little wonder that the high school experiences defections given the heavy hands laid on by Region administrators. Administrators to whom the concept “Be a leader not a boss” is alien. Unfortunately some members of the Region One board and the ABC Committee are also good examples of the Peter Principle at work. They don’t seem to know that the superintendent works for them, and not the other way around, and they shirk the associated responsibility. These are the folks who got us into this mess and it would be naive to think they have the ability to get us out. Keep exercising your right to vote. It is an expression that democracy allows to be heard.

Craig Toensing

2 comments

  1. What a reasoned, thoughtful and accurate statement of FACTS! Maybe, just maybe, someone on the Region One Board and/or ABC Committee will see this post and the reality in this assessment and stop burying their collective heads in the sand!

  2. This is a great letter with the facts stated! Clearly the public knows more than the board thinks since most public opinions that have been stated run right along the lines of this letter.

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