Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Headless Horseman

I've mentioned on more than one occasion that one of the real problems of higher education is  bloated and over-paid administrations. From Marc Bousquet comes the news that some high schools are doing away with their administrations in an attempt to democratize school governance. This tactic and/or strategy needs to be implemented more widely.

It's not just that administrators are grossly overpaid, have used their power to increase the number of administrators at the expense of educators, and generally louse up the joint; it's that they are more interested in showing the necessity of administration by introducing all manner of badly thought ought blueprints for the future, which don't work and cause the rest of endless agony. It's also that they are just so damned bad at administering. Seriously, I know of various ad hoc faculty who are waiting to find out if they will teach next semester when their current semester ends in three weeks because the administrator hasn't contacted them. Even worse, when asked directly when it might please the king do deign and tell his vassals when he and or she will make the decision no definite answer is forth coming.

This state of uncertainty, as you might imagine, means that morale is low as the semester draws to a close and that there will be only limited time to prepare for next semester's courses. Indeed, the deadline, so I am told, for ordering next semester's books was November 1.

Think about that if you would.

This situation and others like it are whats missing in the discussion of educational reform: The very real harm caused by increasing the power and authority of administrators over educators. If Arne Duncan and President Obama want to do something positive, as opposed to doing something because something needs to be done, they should work on re-balancing the power differential between administrators and educators.

I said this before and I'll say it again, all you educational reformer professionals tell us how you  plan on giving educators as educators a seat at the table when the discussion turns to reforming schools? Until administrators and know-nothing do-gooders, like Bill Gates, are forced to include educators in the process of reform, nothing beneficial is going to come of it.

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