Saturday, January 17, 2015

The DREAM: We are all cause in the matter

Monday is Martin Luther King Day, a day of honor and celebration.  And while progress has been made in society,  it is a day that reminds us how far we are from his dream.  From the murder and incarceration of so many young African American men to the income and and opportunity gap that still exists. We are confronted daily by what is not right with America when it comes to race.

The slogan Black Lives Matter reflects both a cry for help, as well as a call to action.  No longer can we, as Americans, afford to say that the movement Martin Luther King started was for the times, and we are in a different place in our history so we no longer worry about equity and equality - we are not.  No longer can we leave it up to others to advocate for what is right.  It is not only our right, but our responsibility to be a part of the solution. While we have all been endowed by the "...Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", these don't automatically happen.  We must be fully engaged in securing these rights, for all men, women, and children.

As we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King, how are you being a cause in the matter?  Are you only celebrating the past, or are you contributing to changing the future? Thoughts?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Leadership Challenge: Quelling the Churn in School Principals

Systemic change in public education requires high performing schools and districts, where all levels of leadership are well developed.  Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges facing public school systems  across the country is the incredible turnover of school site leadership.  In fact, a recent report by School Leaders' Network, Churn: The High Cost of Principal Turnover, documented a recidivism rate of 25%.  One quarter of all principals leave their positions each year.

For more than a decade, districts have applied a number of strategies to recruit, hire, retain, and develop school leaders as part of their human capital initiatives.   Many of these efforts have been studied extensively, and have served as seminal work to current efforts that will hopefully begin to quell the loss of site level leaders.  And one of the learnings is that there is no single approach that will address all of the challenges.  It will require a well integrated, sustained, and comprehensive strategy that is well defined, articulated, resourced, and supported.

One District that has worked hard to address its leadership challenge in a comprehensive way is the Denver Public Schools.  Through its new leadership programs it hopes to not only reduce its turnover in site administrator.  Partnerships with local universities, residency programs, as well as more aggressive recruitment and retention efforts, have been institutionalized as formal strategies.  Read more...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Unrest in the Cities

Good Morning,

The protests taking place across the U.S. today remind me somewhat of the civil rights protests that took place when I was a high school student during the 1960's. Some of you are old enough to remember those days...some are not. However, having lived all the years in between, I also sense that there is once again a great bridge of fear and mistrust to cross if we are to begin the conversation. 
Many more years of racial and cultural disconnect have taken us to a different place. At the root of it all is the belief system held by many that some matter less than others. In this case it is people of color...mainly African-American. But it could just as well be a case of gender, disability, and/or class. For this time and at this place, I quote Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York...
"People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives."

Dr. Kenneth R. Magdaleno is the Executive Director of the  Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR),  Associate Professor, Department Chair of Educational Leadership, and Associate Director, Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership California State University, Fresno

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