Principals have been in the news quite a bit the last month and we here at SBSB have perused and aggregated the latest news stories of principals and ask the question, "What does it take?"
We thought this to be quite interesting question as we read in the New York Post just moment ago how Principal of William Cullen Bryant High School, Namita Dwarka (check out this blog devoted to her!), in Queens allegedly falsely labeled as not proficient in English so they will get extra time on their exams and ostensibly make Ms Dwarka look better. This is the same Namita Dwarka who had issues back in October (here and here). Heck, on the WCB High website, Dwarka is quoted as saying;
"As we embark on our 'Relentless Quest for Excellence,' it is my vision that we work collaboratively in a warm, safe teaching and learning environment"Meanwhile in the Bronx, a student is dead, another in jail, two families are devastated, all because Principal of IS 177, Delise Jones, was empowered, disempowered, or just didn't care to give the boy being bullied and the suspect in the murder case a safety transfer. According to the Post, Jones told the father the day before the murder;
"the school year was almost over and it was too late to do anything."This coming from a woman that a state audit said;
"...should be re‐-evaluated . . . If necessary, changes should be made, or a mentor principal could be assigned to the school in order to model the qualities of an effective instructional leader.”Of course, Greta Hawkins and her anti-Americanism is in the news again. This time threatening pre-K teachers with insubordination if 4 year olds sang the "Star Spangled Banner," (Someone should notify some tea baggers) and claiming she has "protection," of a higher source.
Principal, Antonio K’Tori, of PS 15 in Queens who has been accused of sexual harassment in the past is now apparently set his sights on older, male, Jewish teachers and banished one to the closet.
And lastly we have Judy Henry of Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School pissing off the parents. Henry is accused of;
"misallocation of funds that were assigned to extracurricular activities," and, among other concerns, "exhibiting unprofessional conduct towards students."
So what does it take? We can look at Annie Schmutz Seifullah of the Robert Wagner Secondary School of Arts and Technology and Jennifer Rogers of PS 29 in College Point as just two of the quite few examples of a principal being held accountable. Or are they the exceptions to the rule? The old scuttlebutt is that anything short of murdering someone a principal will just be promoted.
Beat a kid? Get shuffled to a cushy desk job. Lie? Hey, that qualifies for a 9-3 job at Tweed with summers off. Steal monies? Hey, why not become a principal trainer. You can train close personal friends. Doctor official records? How about representing the DOE at conventions in Las Vegas with all expenses paid.
But, if you are a teacher, things are different.
Accused of corporal punishment? Summary execution in the yard with commentary from FOX NEWS. Short changed the cashier in the school cafeteria? Next day front page of the Post and Yoav Gonan tracking down your 3rd grade girlfriend to dig up dirt. Fart incorrectly? Called down to the 84th precinct where a cavity search is performed on you and then transferred to Central Booking for 3 days.
This blaming of the teachers and teachers unions for all that ails education must cease at once.
Think of teachers as waiters at a fine restaurant. We don't get to choose the menu. We don't pick the ingredients. No, those jobs are up to the owners and the chefs at the restaurants. But like a waiter, when there is a fly in the soup who gets blamed? Yep, you guessed it.
Just like when Commander Riker (Damn! I must stop these Star Trek analogies!) was given the powers of the Q, Captain Picard knew it right away, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
We are living through Imperial principalships(sp?)now and we have just scratched the surface of the corruption and incompetency of NYCDOE principals. There is without a doubt much more and much more despicable scandals to come. There needs to be a Nixon like scandal to bring balance back to the force of the DOE (Dang! Star Wars analogy!).
Look for it. It will be a doozy!