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Principals become students of military leaders, execs


Ohanian Comment: Ohmygod. Here's a good example of education press acquiescence to industry public relations examined in recently posted Columbia Journalism Review article . This account is little more than a barely warmed-up press release.

Looking to corporate and military-style strategies as models for school leadership? Let's see: Yesterday a federal judge sentenced the 63-year-old ex-CEO of WorldCom to 25 years in prison on Wednesday for orchestrating the $11 billion accounting fraud that toppled the telecommunications firm three years ago. And shall we detail the events at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib?

Read more about the National Center of Education and the Economy in Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? It is no surprise to see NCEE joining the corporate chorus dumping on school leadership--and making a few bucks off their criticism. Those dollars come right out of taxpayers' pockets.

Surely such a shift in school policy deserves more than paraphrasing a press release.


by Kimberly Atkins

Principals from the state's neediest districts will become pupils this summer, learning how to use business and military-style strategies to help their school kids boost their grades and MCAS scores.

The new two-year urban school leadership program, run by the National Center of Education and the Economy's Institute for School Leaders, will launch in Massachusetts to boost principals' managerial and instructional skills.

``Our researchers looked hard (at) principals, and concluded that they were, on a whole, very poorly trained,'' said NCEE president Marc Tucker, who will join state Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll and Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey at the State House this morning to announce the program.

``We looked for sectors in the economy that were doing a better job as leaders and managers, and we found them in the military and in business,'' Tucker said.

The program will use leadership and instructional models used by CEOs and military commanders to help principals run schools more effectively. But the program is not designed to turn schools into boot camps.

``What we are trying to do is help principals work with people in the administration in their school districts (to) greatly improve the achievement of kids,'' he said.

In total, 84 principals will participate in the intensive program, including all principals in Holyoke, of the state's most underperforming districts. Others from Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lowell, Springfield and Pittsfield will also participate.

Those who complete the program will leave with 24 credits they can apply to the 60-credit educational leadership Ph.D. program at Lesley University.

``There is a huge incentive here,'' said DOE spokeswoman Heidi Perlman. ``This is a great opportunity for school leaders, and we think it's an important step in Massachusetts.''

The training program, which has an annual cost of about $541,000, will be funded by the state.

— Kimberly Atkins
Boston Herald

2005-07-14

http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=93742

MA


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