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The Sacrificial Lamb

From the Examiner:

A former military officer with 30 years of service has been named chief of staff for the Baltimore City Public Schools System. Schools Chief Executive Officer Andres Alonso on Thursday put Maj. Gen. Bennie Williams in the high-ranking position in an effort to bring changes to the way the system operates.

In his new capacity, Williams will be responsible for implementation of school system plans, policies and programs as well as leadership guidance as they relate to the goals of the schools’ Master Plan, according to a statement released by the school system.

I can write the end to this movie right now. Read below the fold.

I am not a fan of public education or of the educrats who run the schools but in all fairness, a school can only work with what it has. Your child is in school for maybe six hours a day for about 180 days per year. The idea that the institution is going to present you with a markedly different child than the one you send off in the morning is just silly. It isn’t.

Therein lies the problem with most poor performing school districts, be they in the inner city or in Appalachia. To paraphrase Richard Pryor from some years ago, if you follow an illiterate kid who doesn’t value education home you are going to find parents who are illiterate and don’t value education waiting on him. Well, maybe waiting or maybe out buying crack or crystal meth.

And, to a great extent, schools are screwed up because the people who run them flourished under the existing system and not only do they not have an incentive to change the system they are terrified of the system changing at all.

To remedy this schools always cast about for the Man on Horseback to right the wrong, fix the problem, and make it all better. It doesn’t happen that way.

Back in 1996, retired Lieutenant General Julius Becton was hired as the chief executive officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Becton was real soldier’s soldier. I was a baby lieutenant when he was commander of VII Corps in Germany. If you grab a copy of Clay Blair’s The Forgotten War you’ll read plenty about him.

I had the privelege of working with LTG Becton as he tried to turn the DCPS around and failed miserably.

The bottom line is that even though you replace the guy at the top with a very talented guy, the staff that runs the system doesn’t change. Unless the new boss has the ability to quickly and visibly fire underperformers nothing changes.

Someone once note that any project goes through a predictable set of phases: enthusiasm, disillusionment, panic, search for the guilty, punishment of the innocent, and praise and honor for the nonparticipants.

We’re now at the enthusiasm phase.






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