I’ve written plenty in the past few months about Kentucky’s 10 Persistently Low-Achieving Schools and how some adults in the system seem to be in denial that there is anything really wrong in their schools. Just search the blog with the keyword phrase “Low-Achieving School” to find that.
Some of those whining educators have friends in the legislature. So it was inevitable. When Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday provided an update briefing on June 14, 2010 to the legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Education on what is happening in those 10 schools, he got pushback from those legislators who always seem quick to defend the schools against all.
During that legislative exercise, several legislators made comments that could have been interpreted to be mostly just excuses for continuing to do nothing with the staff in our failing schools.
For example, Rep. Charles Miller, D-Louisville, embarked on a rambling discussion of all the reasons why he questioned the process that was going to lead to replacement of teachers and principals in his district.
At one point, Miller made this interesting comment:
“You need to have discipline in a school before you can teach, and we’re not – actually that’s not one of our main focuses. We’re saying let’s replace the principal.”
Miller’s implication was that someone other than the principal is responsible for discipline in the school, so replacing a principal doesn’t address the discipline issue.
Is Miller right? Who is supposed to maintain discipline in a school?
Regarding each district’s code of acceptable behavior and discipline, the STUDENT DISCIPLINE GUIDELINES 2008 says:
“…each school principal shall be responsible for administration and implementation within each school.”
So, Miller’s rambling didn’t expose anything wrong on Holliday’s part. Instead, it just provided more ammunition that a lot of people involved in the education process (Miller is a retired principal) are simply in denial that we have come to the point where some tough, but badly needed accountability finally must be implemented. Some of those people in denial don’t seem to have a very good handle on what is really going on, but they are spouting off, anyway.
By the way, a few days ago Commissioner Holliday put out a rather outstanding discussion concerning his experience during the Interim Joint Education Committee meeting. I think he hit the nail squarely on the head in this letter, and I strongly encourage reading it. You see, as the commissioner writes, it’s time to “Focus on Kids’ Futures, Not Adult Comfort.”