BY BUDDY NEVINS
That bleating you hear is from public school principals and their labor organization Executive Director Lisa Maxwell.
Maxwell is everywhere , whining that the school system dared, dared to consider firing 11 principals.
She is threatening legal action.
Well, Lisa, I’ve got a different take.
I say, It’s About Time!
It’s about time that principals are held accountable for their job performance like almost every other person in the workforce.
It’s about time that the school system got rid of deadwood.
Is it inconceivable that out of 200-plus principals, 11 of them are not doing their job? Twenty five? More?
No. They all deserve to be retained, according to Maxwell and the principals.
Threats In The Past
This is the very same principals’ organization that in September 2012 resisted a proposal that principals account for the hours they worked.
“Accurate reporting and documentation of employees’ attendance is a fundamental necessity in any payroll and timekeeping system,” warned Chief Auditor Pat Reilly on September 6. Reilly said he was following Superintendent Robert Runcie’s orders.
Maxwell threatened that such documentation would result in “canceling all after school programs! It sets a dangerous precedent for Mr. Riley’s(sic) department to be encroaching in the administrative chair of commands….”
Translation: The principals want to be immune from oversight.
This latest controversy started because Runcie was hired to change the way Broward Schools do business. He’s doing it.
The change includes making sure that school employees are accountable.
Accountable to their supervisors.
Accountable to the school system’s customers – parents and students.
Principals are now evaluated on criteria that include a teacher and student satisfaction survey and the total number of complaints about them to their supervisors in the Area Offices.
Since one of the major complaints about the school system is that bureaucrats are not responsive to the public, it’s a step in the right direction
Maybe the evaluation forms have to be fined tuned.
But the idea of including parents and students in the evaluations is a good thing.
Principals are upset about this. At least one principal called a meeting of her faculty to ream out teachers for giving her a bad evaluation.
The world is changing, folks.
Taxpayers are demanding that school employees improve their performance. That includes principals, too.
Principals should be happy about getting rid of 11 potential bad eggs.
Instead, they are acting like a bunch of union goons with their stonewalling and threats.
I got some advise for principals.
Start acting like professionals and you’ll be treated like professionals…if you do the job we are paying you to do.
URGENT NOTIFICATION – UPDATE MARCH 12, 2013
As of today, BPAA has been contacted by 11 principals who have indicated that they have been notified that they will not be returning to their schools next year and due to the fact that they are low or poor performing based upon a new set of criteria the totality of which is their VAM score, the answer to a single question on the teacher and student customer satisfaction survey, and based upon the total number of complaints relating to them or the school that were logged in at the Area Office this year. There are five more principals who may also have been so notified but that has not been confirmed by our organization.
We have referred these individuals to our legal counsel and we are preparing to defend them in court as well as before the School Board as we firmly believe that their due process rights have been violated by the district, as well as their reputations unduly harmed due to the use of untested, subjective and nonsensical data.
As of 5:00 pm we have not heard anything from the District Office as to what other principals might expect, whether they have completed their notification of principals etc. Neither have they explained to the individuals who have been notified exactly what they can expect in terms of the conditions of their employment such as pay. Since there are currently few to no vacancies in the District as a principal, these individuals will have to wait until their current job is advertised, and then filled which will create vacancies elsewhere in the district creating any possible jobs for them to apply. We all know that the process of advertising and filling a principal position can take several months at least. Chances are very good that assuming that any of these principals could be hired as a principal at another school after having been told they are low/poor performing by the very same individuals who will be involved in deciding which principals will be hired throughout the district – that they won’t be appointed until after their current contract expires. If they choose to take their chances and apply as a principal as oppose to opting for the other choice they were given – accept a demotion to an assistant principal, then where will they assigned? How will they be assigned? There are so many aspects to this decision that have never been thought out, and if they have been, they certainly have not been communicated to the individuals who have been told they no longer run a school. Even in the years where people were most fearful about their job security, the district did not treat human beings in this horrendously thoughtless manner.
There is no excuse for this level of incompetence, and we have recommended to the District that they withdraw these findings and admit that this whole idea was a mistake, and handled badly to say the least. We have then told them that if they believe we have low performing principals in the district , then they should use the BASA instrument and process that is already in place which guarantees their due process rights, gives people a clear understanding of the expectations and allows them a chance to improve and if they don’t , then the district can take these kinds of actions.
Although I loath to repeat rumors, I understand from reliable sources that the District may now be saying that there is no list, and that there never was a list. This would be an irreparable mistake as evidence of such a ranking list does exist, and has been shown to Board members. BPAA submitted a freedom of information request today, asking for the list and all information pertaining to how people were ranked and what criteria was used. Principal’s names have been shared with elected officials and have been described as low performing without ever notifying those individuals. The principals who have been actually told they are not returning are but a fraction of the total names on that list. There were first and second year princpals and retirees who were deemed poor performers and they have no idea that they were categorized as such because they did not receive a visit from their director. Rest assured that if the district attempts to tamper or destroy evidence, we will be asking the State’s Attorney to investigate, they need to acknowledge what they have done, take responsibility for their mistake and correct it, not dig themselves a deeper hole.
We understand that the Superintendent and Dr. Blackburn may be calling a meeting of the principals in the district later this week in an effort to explain themselves. Let’s hope they see the error of their ways and see the light. We will be asking the Board to intervene as this issue has gone on too long without any, let alone adequate communication out to the principals. It is a travesty to have people waiting, thinking they may be on a list, not knowing – this is simply inhumane.
Know that your organization is doing everything we can to support all principals and seeing that your rights are protected. Unfortunately this issue has been mishandled by the district to the point now that it is out of control. Yet another blunder. Not sure how principals can ever trust the District staff who were involved in creating this fiasco again. We need the district to deliver a workable solution NOW!
Executive Director BPAA