The future is “uncertain” for the Leadership Academy according to a NY SUN (subscription required) story by Julia Levy because funds are drying up and the lack of data surrounding the program’s effectiveness.
If you don’t know, the Leadership Academy is a privately-funded “charter” school designed to train future principals. It costs anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000 to get a successful candidate through the training curriculum. That’s very pricey for a 14-month course of study. But Chancellor Klein said it’s worth every penny since “strong, effective school leadership is a cornerstone of the Children First reforms.”
But now there are some questions about whether the academy is getting the bang for its buck. Those questions come from the sources which fund the program, lawmakers and unions. This is prompting some to consider bringing the Leadership Academy into a more moderate DOE funding stream.
That would certainly lift the veil of secrecy that the Academy has been working under. UFT President Randi Weingarten called the program a “very big state secret.”
“Anything that is as important as training people to be principals in a public education system should have public accountability,” she said. Funding by the DOE would certainly do that.
But what about producing effective school leaders? I bet many of you have horror stories about Leadership Academy graduates who came into a school and turned a quiet, smoothly operating haven for children into a micro-managed hell hole for teachers. Here is one from a Queens middle school that was turned topsy-turvy by an Academy graduate who only had 2 ½ years of regular sub service in NYC and after 14 months of training was thrust into a school’s top job.
Principal’s union vice president Ernest Logan voiced concern that instead of recruiting from the ranks, the Leadership Academy pulls people with little or no experience in the educational community and expects them to take the reins of our most precious resources–our public schools. It fits the business model Klein and Bloomberg espouse: take the teacher out of teaching and take education out of education leadership.