Wednesday, May 05, 2010

State audit: 6 JCPS schools should replace principal, council or teachers

This from Toni Konz at C-J:
Six of Jefferson County’s lowest-performing public schools should replace their principal, their site-based council or both, according to the results of state-wide leadership audits released Tuesday.

The audits, obtained by The Courier-Journal in response to an open-records request, also say that four of those schools replace at least half of their teachers to turn around their low academic achievement.

The findings are the product of leadership assessments — a result of a new law that prescribes an intervention system for the state’s lowest performing schools — that were conducted earlier this spring by auditors who spent a week at each school, collecting test data, interviewing faculty and staff, observing teachers and speaking with parents and students.

The auditors determined that the principals at Western Middle, Frost Middle, Valley High and Fern Creek High schools “do not have the capacity or capability to continue their roles and responsibilities” at the schools...


Anonymous said...

Are parents being interviewed as to their fitness to be a parent? They are the very foundation for their child's beginning education, and if they fail as the first teacher, it is very hard for others to catch that child up. Put the true blame where it belongs on the foundation. A few children can escape this foundation but not the majority. The parents need to be educated first.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing to use a group of former educators as auditors whose only qualification is that they meet requirements to be classified as a former teacher, school-based administrator, district-based administrator, college faculty member (not necessarily in education in that one auditor is a retired music professor), or parent if the purpose of the audit is to provide a "general" picture of school improvement needs. It is quite a stretch for the Kentucky Department of Education to allow these individuals to make a decision with respect to whether or not the principal of a school should be fired.

Richard, you need to do some investigative reporting on this one. How many of the auditors themselves have a personal track record of producing high student performance in a school or district over time? Were any of the auditors dismissed from school district positions (or resigned or retired) due to a lack of students' academic performance while they were responsible for same? Something smells here regarding the "credibility" of the decision makers.

If some of the fired principals (or superintendents) challenge the
audit team's decision in court, KDE is going to be very embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

Amen, parents need to be educated. So how are they to become educated about the workings of the public school system? How are they to become educated about standards and assessments, response to intervention, special education, and understanding assessemnt results if they are lucky enough to see them? Whose responsibility is it to teach parents the knowledge that only school personnel is in posession/control of? Show me a school or a district that has a comprehensive parent training program that teaches parents about the way schools do business and then you can start to blame the parents. Schools are the keepers of this information. Not the parents. So back up, you aren't off the hook just yet.

Anonymous said...

I certainly would frown on the repacement of a Site Based Decision Council. This is little more than an attempt to subvert the democratic process.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous regarding the audit process - it is a process that is tried and true. It is based on the SISI document. As a former auditor, I can say without a doubt that you can absolutely spend a week at a school and know/see what the problems are, typically because the school/district have ignored the SISI document for years. Auditors told JCPS school board members that they would do well to read this district audit and ones from years past because they cite the same issues year after year, meaning that the school board and superintendent have ignored these reports. The only difference with this audit process is that there are finally some conseqences to the district/board inaction and the media is doing a better job of engaging the attention of the general public about it.

Richard Day said...

School audits in one form or another have been around for a while - as have parents, school councils and SISI documents.

What's new is that Kentucky is now ratcheting up the heat in response to the national trend. I can't remember a time when a school audit produced a recommendation to remove principals and teachers. That's what new; high-stakes assessment has just graduated to high-stakes school audits.

I don't know how one would fairly assess the assessors. And what if they could? So long as the auditors follow procedures I don't know what recourse a canned principal would have. Folks who have never worked in schools govern them all the time - on councils and boards.

Anonymous said...

...regarding the audit process...I, too, served as an auditor and decided not to participate further in a process that included non-qualified individuals making decisions regarding a school's effectiveness. One auditor was so incompetent that the chair of the group could not use any of her written materials to compose the audit report.

Richard notes: "...I don't know how one would fairly assess the assessors..." A good place to begin would be to require that auditors demonstrate with data that they have been part of a school/district that has demonstrated "over time" the ability to create and/or sustain student achievement on a variety of acceptable indicators (e.g., CATS, ACT, advanced placement exams, drop out rates, etc.).