Sunday, July 18, 2010

Indiana's Resources and Questionable Programs

We certainly do need good ideas and good people to work on Indiana schools but the question here is a good one.   Why is IDOE partnering with private colleges (or now the Governor's outsourcing to Utah) when we have a fine higher education system to work with?  Will this be another high-speed, low-experience program that puts people in systems they don't understand?  Almost certainly, oh....and, Bennett's wife happens to have a new job at this particular private college.  Just sayin'

The Indiana Department of Education announced recently that a small, local university was awarded half a million dollars to develop a principal leadership academy focused on using data and research to improve school performance. There is no doubt that effective leadership is fundamental to a school change process. And, if I were to survey the leadership programs already in existence in Indiana, I would learn that they already address the "innovative " elements cited in the Indianapolis Star story. So, then, I have to wonder: Why is the IDOE is giving money to start one program when multiple programs with the same focus already exist in abundance?

Current programs already teach the elements of leadership. These include best practices in teaching and teacher evaluation, data decision-making, conflict resolution, change processes, and supervision of employees. These are the basics of accredited programs.

Given the additional cuts in funding to schools, it is unclear how the IDOE can justify the promotion of one program (with the funding that accompanies it) that duplicates efforts already in existence at universities across the state. It is also unclear how this program is anchored in the research on effective leadership preparation. Finally, while school districts are cutting faculty and closing schools, parents and others should be asking about the use of state resources at this critical time.


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