Friday, July 7, 2017

John Thompson: We must diagnose the OKCPS dysfunction (and fix it) - NonDoc

We must diagnose the OKCPS dysfunction (and fix it) - NonDoc:

We must diagnose the OKCPS dysfunction (and fix it)

OKCPS dysfunction


American Federation of Teachers president Ed Allen is correct in describing the controversy over the proposed closing of North Highland Elementary School as an example of the longstanding “dysfunction” that has plagued the district’s central office.
The Daily Oklahoman’s Tim Willert reports that Allen doesn’t put all of the blame on the superintendent, but “if the district functioned properly ‘it wouldn’t have come to this crisis point of just blowing up.’” In a system like the OKCPS, “things don’t work correctly and there are a lot of moving parts that can bring dysfunction.”

Personal agendas punctuate past

Frequent readers will be relieved to learn that I will not get back on my soapbox regarding the folly of trying to mandate that the same testable material be taught in the same way across our diverse district. In this post, I’m making a narrower point.
Historically, the OKCPS administrative culture has not dared focus on the big picture questions about the best ways to provide meaningful teaching and learning in all schools. Our past fosters a culture that spawns one individual agenda after another, with central office administrators promoting their personal policy preferences and then protecting the simplistic “silver bullets” that resulted.
Sixteen years ago, it looked like the OKCPS was on the verge of a new era. MAPS for Kids promised site-based management. The central office was to be realigned so that it supported schools. The reorganization was an effort to “flatten” the bureaucracy in a way that, hopefully, would spur “distributive leadership.” Our oft-repeated mantra was: “None of us, alone, are as smart as all of us are together.”
In the first planning sessions, however, I saw the same pattern. Community and education We must diagnose the OKCPS dysfunction (and fix it) - NonDoc:

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