I mean I had 7 principals within 11 years at Lynwood High during one stretch. Who in the world believes that this kind of turnover is ever going to reap genuinely awesome results for anyone? However, Lynwood used to be an anomaly. Nowadays, this kind of “off with their heads” mentality is hardly uncommon.
In fact, it’s even legislated. (i.e. 2 years to turn around a low performing school or you are bounced).
Schools all over the country are changing administrative regimes at ridiculous rates. And look, let’s be honest, I’m a fan of a good head chopping. Cutting people loose who deserve to be cut loose doesn’t ruffle my feathers at all. But setting unrealistic expectations and then being hyper-quick to pull the trigger upsets the apple cart in a way that is probably more destructive in the long term than giving people a bit more of a leash to see if they can figure out some solutions to some very complex problems.
How many new principals started within the past few weeks? They don’t know the staff, they don’t know the facilities, they don’t know the existing culture and they don’t even know which is the right key they ought to use when they want to enter the boys’ bathroom on the first floor by the PE locker rooms.
But the test scores they know. And the test scores are what is going to determine their fate. And so they go about plugging in “pull the fire alarm” solutions right away to up the bubble tests at the expense of everything else. Problem is that teachers, schools and kids everywhere are becoming desensitized to all the change and nowadays, the new peeps pack less punch. “Heck, this guy/gal who is full of fire and brimstone” will be gone in 24 months anyway. I mean I liked ____________ (insert previous principal’s name) and no, I didn’t like ____________ (insert pre-previous principal’s name) but now the new guy/gal is really just yet another bowling pin.
With constant regime change comes constant “focus change”, “plan change”, “action change” and “priority change”.
And when you change too much, you end up never really changing at all.
Here’s to the merry-go-round of America’s principals… a dysfunctional loop created by politicians who don’t seem to know the first thing about how schools run or what they truly need.