Dog Bites Man at Tweed
June 30th, 2008

The thin wall — more like a tissue curtain really — that separated the New York City school’s Leadership Academy from being a public agency now has disappeared entirely.

Last week, the Department of Education announced that the privately funded, city inspired program to train people to be principals in city public schools had been awarded the city contract — yes — to train people to be principals in city public schools. Three other places bid on the contract but, according to the Sun, the department would not disclose who they were. So now the academy wil get about $10 million of public money a year to inculcante prospective principals with the ideas of former GE chief executive Jack Welsh.

The results of this process were not exactly surprising.

In the April press release announcing the bidding, Klein was quoted as saying, “I congratulate the Leadership Academy for developing a system of principal training that so clearly benefits students.” As skoolboy, filing it for Eduwonkette, wrote. “The DOE had a competitive bidding process to award a contract to an organization that Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein had created and publicly supported over the past five years.”

Although the department has billed the academy as a success, other analyses have questioned the efficacy of the program. A review by the Post last fall found about half of the schools headed by Leadership Academy principals last year received grades of C, D or F in the school report cards issued in 2007. One quarter of all failing schools, had principals who went to the Leadership Academy. At the other end, 23 percent of all city schools got A’s — but only 15 percent of those led by Leadership Academy graduates got the top grade.

“Here’s where an independent research verification group, an idea that’s been batted around for the next iteration of mayoral control could play an important role,” wrote Insideschools.org this spring. ” It’s entirely possible that Leadership Academy grads are more skilled than other principals. But we just don’t know…. The DOE has an interest in making Leadership Academy principals look successful, so those principals might have received assistance in addition to the academy training. In addition, an independent research board might design an experiment that looked at variables other than test scores.”

And, while they’re at it, maybe they could tell us who those other three bidders were too.

By on June 30, 2008, 4:52 pm
In category: Education | 8 Comments »

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8 Responses to “Dog Bites Man at Tweed”

  1. David Cantor Says:
    June 30th, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Gail:
    If you really believe that what the LA does can be summed up as “inculcating…the ideas of… Jack Welch,” you haven’t met Sandra Stein. And since you report on public education in New York City, you ought to set that up.

    David Cantor
    Press Secretary
    NYC Dept of Education

  2. Joyce Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 10:27 am

    While I do not really understand the Jack Welch reference, it does seem to me that this article raises some points DOE should address. Perhaps Mr. Cantor can elucidate?

  3. gail Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    David,

    I’d be delighted to speak with Sandra Stein. While inculcate might be a bit strong, I thought it was generally accepted that the academy is based on Welch’s ideas and that much, though not all, of the controversy surrounding it stems from whether his business precepts really translate to a school setting. That, it seems, is something on which people of good will can disagree.

    Now as to who the other bidders were….?

  4. David M. Quintana Says:
    July 2nd, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Based upon Mr. Cantor’s reply at 11:34 pm, it’s nice (note to DOE: this is sarcasm) to see the vast DOE public relations machine is working overtime now to spin the public on yet another failed initiative of the Chancellor and the Mayor…In my opinion, the DOE’s sole motive under this administration has been to privatize the entire public school system, parents be damned…I feel the word inculcate might not be the right word either…A better word you could have used was propagandize, I think it’s more appropriate…

    And Mr. Cantor, I would love to meet Sandra Stein, too…But, I forgot the DOE doesn’t give parents the opportunity to speak to or meet with Tweed officials nor does the DOE allow parents input into their children’s education…DOE only pays us lip service…and lets us read the PR machine generated inaccuracies in the local newspapers that Mr Cantor and the other dozen high paid spinmeisters at Tweed are told to perform…

  5. Leonie Haimson Says:
    July 2nd, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Whether or not the Leadership Academy produces quality graduates and the news has featured enough horror stories to lead one to believe that at best, the result has been quite uneven, there is no dispute that this is a highly expensive operation when one estimates the cost per trainee. And one would have to be delusional to believe that the awarding of this contract was done through any sort of fair, competitive process.

    Question: does a five year contract mean that we are saddled with this highly expensive operation for this period of time or can the contract be cancelled by the next administration?

    Also, isnt this a clever way for Tweed to appear as though its shrunk the bureaucracy though theyve done nothing of the sort because it has put one of its signature operations offsite?

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