Friday, February 13, 2009

Not Really Technology Related today...

     I was really saddened to read about the North Tonawanda Common Council member/teacher who had such a negative view of the school district he both represented and taught in.  You can read the original article here.
     Calling attention to a problem and helping to find solutions to a problem are vastly different things.  He referred to himself as a lightning rod, and I’m surprised that he would pick a metaphor dealing with light as I saw no revelation in his comments, only shadows.
     Sometimes the most vocal folks among us see themselves as leaders, or trailblazers, or martyrs calling attention to problems.  The unfortunate thing is that those same people are never part of the solution, in fact, they seem to revel in the fact that they’ve identified a problem out loud that no one is surprised to hear about.
His declaration that he “has a pulpit and wants to say ‘something is wrong here’” was ostentatious at best and clearly showed the public that he has little regard for his constituents or their children.
I’m also concerned that anyone in that district would take anything he said seriously, as he seemed to base his opinions on an observation that the district was in decline and cited only a ranking from Business First that indicated “the high school was in the bottom half” compared to other high schools.  Business First’s rankings, while widely touted in the area as the barometer for school success, are much like the nation’s AYP and NCLB goals and sometimes represent snapshots of information that may or may not paint a school or district in its’ most positive light.  Data is meant to be objective, but when broken apart and reformatted with a particular frame can cause data to appear more positive or negative depending on that frame.  It’s a poor basis for deciding to give up on your students.
     The people that live in that district and especially the children that attend school in that district deserve leadership that has their best interests at heart, not a “lightning rod” rogue who only has the capacity to identify problems, not help find a solution for them.
     I don’t think his intended message was “the district is too poor for me and my family to continue living and working here,” but it’s hard not to see that message from what was written.  Perhaps the district would be better off without him.
     I do agree with his assertion that the district is chock full of teachers that are “incredibly talented and dedicated.”  Those talented and dedicated teachers deserve someone in a leadership position that can say those words without setting him or herself above and apart with a graceless sense of entitlement that comes off as nothing more than a pompous and arrogant ball of hot air. 

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