FROM THE ASSOCIATED ADMINISTRATORS OF LOS ANGELES (Principals' Union) WEEKLY UPDATE - Week of June 2, 2008
AALA believes that it is the inherent responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools and the Local District Superintendents to promote innovation in all schools as well as holding all employees accountable for their performance. This being said, the question becomes why is the District creating separate divisions for these functions and only promoting innovation in a few selected schools?
One of the management dimensions included in the Stull Evaluation for all administrators is Initiative and Innovativeness. Therefore, one could surmise that creative problem solving is an administrative responsibility. Unfortunately, in recent years the emphasis in the District has been on one size fits all problem solving with individual creativity not particularly valued. AALA believes that problem solving is an ongoing need in all schools, and the solution to problems is based on the initiative and innovativeness of the staffs in the schools.
All District offices should be supporting and encouraging creativity.
AALA also believes that accountability is systemic. School communities must come together to assess schoolwide concerns. That is why the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation system is the best system for involving a school community in addressing student needs. It has been stated before, and we will state it again, that all High Priority Schools regardless of level should be accredited, and Local District offices should be supporting and monitoring the accreditation process in their schools.
There is no need to reinvent the accountability wheel when the WASC wheel already exists. All parents need to know that their children are attending an accredited school that is recognized as such by all colleges and universities.
The personal aspect of accountability exists through the Stull Evaluation for certificated personnel and the Personnel Commission’s classified evaluation system. If these systems were used appropriately for professional and personal growth, every employee would benefit. Unfortunately, evaluation systems have become necessary evils rather than instruments for positive professional growth. This attitude must change if true accountability is to take place. Professional growth should not be viewed as a negative.
School officials like to state that learning is life-long. Well, if it is, then evaluations should reflect the need for continual growth. Learning from experience is the key to educational success whether as a teacher or administrator, and creativity is the key to solving problems that arise from experiences.
If we carried current management thinking to extremes, we would have a Division of Creativity, Division of Critical Thinking, Division of Values, Division of Good Will, etc. Initiative, innovation, creativity, and accountability do not require a special division, branch or office, but they do require a commitment and incentives from senior staff to encourage all employees to use these attributes. All schools should be innovative, and all schools should be accountable. And, we could save millions of dollars by subtracting two added and unneeded divisions.