Ten Signs Your Child Is in a Failing School District This article says it all!!! Click the link and see how many of these apply to Region One…scary! 1

Ten Signs Your Child Is in a Failing School District


Click on above link for full story.

But as I see it, we suffer from FIVE of the ten. But the beat goes on…make sure you read the full story by clicking the link above.

2. Teachers are overwhelmed with requests for data– Any time teachers are spending more time providing data for the bean counters in administration, it is a good indication that your school has gone astray. Most of that data is supplied through the use of one practice standardized test after another. In recent years, the situation has grown worse with many school districts adding costly practice tests given multiple times during the year. These not only take away from instructional time, but they also strip the children of any love of learning and they provide overly generous fees to the testing companies. What is worse, the expensive practice tests, whether students do well on them or not, provide no guarantee of success on the high stakes test at the end of the school year.

5. The message is tightly controlled, eliminating constructive criticism– At one time, the top administrators in public school districts were invariably educators who worked their way through the system, spending years in the classroom before going into administration. Nowadays, many top administrators have only spent three years or less in the classroom and are more like CEOs and executive vice presidents than educators. This had led to a culture shift with an overemphasis on public relations. Anyone in the school district or in the community who dares to question a decision is accused of trying to “hurt the children” or “attack teachers.” When administrators surround themselves with yes-men and strictly control the message, it makes it much more likely that mistakes are going to be made, at a cost to the children and to the taxpayers.

6. School Board members serve as rubber stamps– Over the past few decades, the role of boards of education has changed dramatically. In many communities, the board of education acts more like the board of directors of a Fortune 500 company, rubber stamping whatever the superintendent or top administrator does without question. That is not what voters expect when they elect school board members. Obviously, you do not want to have board members looking over administrators’ shoulders every minute of every day, but when the board of education places blind trust in anyone it increases the odds that something disastrous will happen. One of the major criticisms lodged against board members is that they “have an agenda,” as if that is something bad. If the agenda is to stop out-of-control spending, or place more emphasis on education, what is wrong with that? When boards serve as rubber stamps for any administrator, they are effectively taking away local control of our school districts.

7,. The community is not involved in its schools- In many school districts, the community is kept at arm’s length until it is time to pass another bond issue or tax levy increase. Or the community involvement is restricted to a carefully selected group of business and civic leaders or the spouses of those leaders. A successful school district is one in which the involvement is organic and comes from all segments of the community, not just the ones who are needed when it comes time to ask for money. In some school districts, the community is asked for its input and then guided to give the input the administrators are seeking so they can say whatever initiative they have has the support of the community. That is not community involvement; that is pure spin.

8. The district is top heavy with administrators- While there is certainly a need to have strong, capable administrators directing a school district, administration tends to grow far more than is necessary, using funds that could be spent much better in the classroom. Rule of thumb, the more executive directors of anything that you have, the more problems your school district is going to have.

One comment

  1. This article, it seems to me is right on target. And you’re right that a number of these signs exist in our local six towns and at the regional level as well. Given the make-up of our district overall, our schools should be schools that are recognized as schools of excellence. The sad commentary here is that many of them are schools of excellence. However, it appears that most local administrators and most board members too, spend all their time doing the bidding of the superintendent who first priority doesn’t seem to be progressive education for our kids and thinking outside the box to accomplish innovative learning, but instead promoting her own image, while handing off many of her administrative tasks to others. That attitude doesn’t promote local administrators to be creative in what happens in his/her school. When great things do happen it is on the initiative of others. Think about how many times the top educational leader actually focuses on education in the public forum – her board report, which ironically is the same for every district, rarely speaks to educational matters nor does she for that fact. That should change.

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