Tuesday, August 23, 2005

44 D.C. Principals New To Their Jobs; Percentage Misleading 

Dion Haynes reports today that 44 D.C. principals will be new to their jobs this year, which he claims represents about 1/3 of all such positions in the City. The tone of the article is that Superintendent Janey is fulfilling his promise to rid they system of underperforming school leaders.

Of the 44 appointments, 23 are people hired from other school systems or an outside principal training program called New Leaders for New Schools.

The number of vacancies was about twice as high as last year, officials said. Six of the openings resulted from resignations, six from dismissals, 13 from retirements and the remainder from promotions or leaves of absence, Janey said.
The school system is patting itself on the back because in contrast to previous years all of these positions have been filled before the start of the school year. Talk about low expectations.

But the article is wrong. The 44 replacements come from traditional public schools. Missing is how many charter school principals have been replaced. And is it too much to ask what is happening regarding school leaders in the private schools which have accepted vouchers?

The educational landscape in the nation's capital is complex and confusing. Its way past the time that we should accept an article such as this that pretends that nothing has changed since the 1950's.

For example, at least 6 new charter schools have been approved to open in September. Did they ever find a facility? If the answer is no then what alternatives are there for the families who have already enrolled their kids there? What about the 600 students who had to find a new school to attend when SouthEast Academy was shut-down?

If the Washington Post doesn't have the resources to properly cover local education then they need to hire more reporters. But we have certainly gone way beyond the point where 44 new principals represent 1/3 of all schools. It does not.

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