Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MNPS Disconnect

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 12:30 PM

There is a noticeable and important disconnect in the report released yesterday by the consulting firm helping Metro find a new public schools director. The report (pdf), based on interviews and surveys, lists MNPS strengths and weaknesses by stakeholder group (board, faculty, staff, parents, students). The disconnect concerns perceptions of the effectiveness of MNPS’s central administration. The board seems to think it's going quite well, to judge from this board-mentioned “strength” in the report:
"Strong administrators and cabinet."
Meanwhile, the report has MNPS faculty mentioning a number of “issues/concerns/challenges” that present a markedly different view of the central administration's effectiveness:
“Poor communication from central office to individual schools; unresponsive to questions.” “Lack of support for day-to-day teaching.” “Culture in which principals and teachers are discouraged from making decisions and solving problems unique to the needs of their specific schools.” “Improve relationships between parents and central office administrators.” “Need for district-wide training in diversity/cultural sensitivity.”
Teacher and principal frustration with the competence and efficiency of Bransford Avenue is hardly new, and perhaps the recent state-directed administrative shuffle will help. On the other hand, it’s hard to be a sunny optimist if the board is satisfied with central administration, especially given that most key curriculum posts in the reorganization are being filled from within.

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