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[Susan notes: Carrying this writer's suggestion one step further, imagine the repercussions of requiring classroom experience from superintendents.]

Published in New York Times
07/04/2004

To the editor

Re "Klein Says He Has Ousted 45 Principals" (news article, June 29):



Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein's decision to dismiss principals for poor performance must be seen in institutional context. The newer, and presumably better, principals who will assume control of the respective institutions do not teach! The logic of having principals in schools where they have never taught (and won't be required to teach) escapes me.



The same logic would put a general in charge of an army having never been a foot soldier in that army.



The Department of Education says, "No role in the system is more important than that of principal." Yet it is the very nature of the role that needs to be addressed every bit as much as the quality of the people filling it. The teaching and learning process have unique problems depending on a variety of circumstances. To have a better understanding of that process and the circumstances, principals should be required to do a bit of teaching.



Larry Hoffner


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