Try and say Principal Preparation Program fast 3 times (I will wait while you complete this task…).
This blog is not just a tongue twister. It goes way deeper than that. It’s also a well-thought out review of a new Illinois Law called the School Leader Reform Act.
The blog is actually a thrown together half-baked commentary on what is wrong with the programs that supposedly prepare school administrators to lead their teachers and students.
The School Leader Reform Act is an attempt by the untrustworthy crooked politicians of Illinois to fix the way principals are selected and trained.
I’m okay with that.
The article from which I stole this blog says the two most important factors that influence student success are quality teaching and quality school leadership.
I say let’s get rid of tenure and work on improving principals.
The crooked politicians won’t address tenure?
Okay, color me not surprised (after all, the next election is always just around the corner… and the next one… and so on… and on…).
Then let’s fix the principals (like they are all broken).
The new law wants to prepare principals to be instructional leaders. Great idea.
It also wants colleges to make their school administration programs to be more challenging. As opposed to revenue sources for their education departments. Again, great idea.
Another aspect of the law is to allow an alternative pathway to principal endorsement through nonprofit entities. Okay, this might just work. As always, there is more than one way to skin a cat (although why you would want to I’ll never know).
Let’s start cranking out new and improved principals.
With that being said, I do have a couple of concerns with the law.
One is they want each principal candidate to participate in a month long residency program. My complaint… a month isn’t long enough.
But neither is a year or five years.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, completely prepares you to be a school principal.
The closest thing might be Marine boot camp, but that’s about it.
Admittedly, a month is better than nothing… but not by much.
The other thing that bothers me is the law requires that no more than one-third of coursework in a preparation program can be taught by part-time adjunct faculty.
I think this is idiotic.
I know the politicians want full-time faculty members to be teaching the courses, but I think it should be just the opposite.
Most (if not all) courses should be taught by practicing principals and superintendents.
Or at the very least retirees who have worked in administration within the last 5 years.
I can make the argument that I can learn more from a well-versed administrator in an hour than I can from a professor in a classroom in a semester (no offense professors).
But at least the politicians seem to be heading in the right direction.
Which is nice.
And unusual for Illinois.
I wonder when they will pass a law call Political Leader Reform Act?
Now that’s legislation I could really support.