Tag Archives: democratic governance

Governance in the School Trenches

peter dewitt 2My friend, Peter DeWitt, is a public elementary school principal in upstate New York. He is a thoughtful and caring person, and I think probably represents the best of his public school principal profession, and I think any of my teacher friends would be happy to have such a leader for their school.  He writes a daily blog for Education Week magazine online, and his pieces generally wrestle with trying to be a humanistic educational leader within a bureaucratic system of standardization, high-stakes testing, and other mandates and strictures from above.

In his recent blog piece, “Why Would Anyone Want to Be a School Leader?”, Peter writes…

School leadership is hard…especially now. There are point scales to contend with, evaluations based on test scores, and budget cuts that result in the lay-offs of teachers and administrative colleagues. Some leaders who have been in the position for a few years have seen cuts to programs, and have a constant need to find creativity in a very uncreative time… On top of that leaders have students living in extreme poverty, an increase in the students with social-emotional issues, and in some cases are expected to take on the role of parents to students…and their parents…

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Process is More Important than Content

An engraving of a Quaker meeting in Colonial America
Our fellow travelers on the conservative side of the political spectrum are generally great champions of the principle of liberty, though it seems they often advocate for applying this principle inconsistently in favor of the rich and powerful and their rights to use property and conduct business as they wish, even at the expense of the rest of us. Unfortunately, we on the progressive side are just as guilty of inconsistency in applying humanistic principles like the Golden Rule.

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