Sunday, November 06, 2011

The cost of "leadership" in the APS

Taxpayers pay APS' leadership team nearly two million dollars a year in salary alone. APS did not release the value of their benefits packages.

Taxpayers are paying ten thousand dollars a day for administrative decision making, in the hope that it will enable APS to successfully educate 80-90 thousand of the community's sons and daughters.

By any reasonable measure, they have failed as often as they have succeeded.

It raises legitimate questions regarding the money we spend on administration and the success it enables. Are we spending enough? If we had twice as many senior administrators, would we have any more success? If we had far less administration and more teaching, would that be better?

The theory upon which APS administration is built is;
there is an administrative solution for any problem; put enough administrators on a problem and it will get fixed.

They are completely unfazed by the abject absence of any empirical proof of their premise. Where is the school system graduating nearly all of its students, and using the all knowledge flows from on high model?

Education is like no other industry in that those with the greatest education, expertise and experience, have the least power in guiding their endeavor. They don't have a seat at the table where decisions are made despite their overwhelming qualification and right to be there.

Students have a seat, supposedly.

APS Supt Winston Brooks gathers together a couple of dozen students on a regular basis and "listens" to their advice.

He will tell you, it's invaluable.

It is, but only for its PR value;
building the impression that the leadership of the APS is actually communicating with interest holders.

A few of those exceptional students got together and wrote a letter to the editor, link. The letter itself speaks to their exceptional intellect and interest. It would be wonderful if all APS graduates were half as articulate.

The subject of the letter is nothing new; they believe they are entitled to a seat at the table where decisions are made that affect their interests. Brooks has them hoodwinked into thinking they have real input in his decision making process.

Shared decision making in the APS has never carried any weight. There has been every kind of decision making body set up, from student councils to school restructuring committees including teachers and parents. The bottom line has always been, the final decision on any decision lies with the site administrator. It is subject to neither question nor review.

Nothing APS does, ever, is intended to "prevent a site administrator from using their 'best judgment' in any situation". No matter what they decide, they're covered. Best judgment cannot be challenged.

APS hearing officer; Did you use your best judgment?

administrator; Yes I did.

... case closed.
The leadership of the APS has never really shared decision making power with teachers or anyone else. APS' teachers, who between them have more than a hundred thousand years of current experience in the classroom, have no real decision making power.

The leadership of the APS will not survey teachers, or anyone else who works with students face to face, and ask them what the problems are. They will not allow them to evaluate the administrative impact on their efforts. There is no such thing as meaningful subordinate administrative evaluation.

Administrators (and school board members) are largely unaccountable to anyone but each other.

Consider the current brouhaha over legislator and APS Administrator Sheryl Williams Stapleton. Winston Brooks thinks it's a great idea for the state's largest urban school district to have it's own paid lobbyist working on the floor of the House. Therefore, he has decided, he will not hold her accountable for violating school district policy while collecting her APS salary while she was legislating APS interests.

If this is the educational and ethical "leadership" that two million dollars a year buys, a question is begged;
Are we getting our money's worth?

photo Mark Bralley


Anonymous said...

Actually, site admin recieves almost as much contempt form APS towers as teachers do.
Brookes doesn't listen to them. He rants, raves, throws attitude and they do what he says, often w/o any input from site admin.
When site admin disagrees w/ the APS towers, then suddenly they have "help". AKA... someone to come and tear them apart and tell them why they are wrong.
Teachers are site admins "bitches"and site admin are the towers "bitches"and Tower admin is Brookes'"Bitches".
I don't use this word to be crude or shocking, I use it because the people are totally subservient to those above them, or else they will "suffer consequences"
There is no "team wörk"..just a lot of huff, puff and ego being thrown and high-paid positions being protected!

Michelle Meaders said...

Sheryl Williams Stapleton is not a lobbyist for APS; Joseph Escobedo is, according to APS.

Sheryl is busy at the legislature representing her district and being the Dem. whip, rounding up the votes.

ched macquigg said...

Joseph Escobedo is (one? of) APS' registered lobbyists. Anyone who lobbies for APS' interest is a lobbyist whether they are called a lobbyist or a legislator.

As for Williams Stapleton representing her district, she has not responded to a single one of several emails I have sent her over the years, as one of her constituents.

As a teacher, I found her equally unresponsive to my needs.

She did manage to get a State Fair Building named after herself.