Over Assistant Principals?
Sept. 6, was a remarkable day. The Council of School Supervisors
and Administrators (CSA) made a spectacular showing in the
Labor Day Parade as more than 200 members along with family,
friends, children and grandchildren marched up Fifth Avenue.
were also joined by our new AFSA President, Baxter Atkinson
and retirees with the RSSA.
was so honored to represent every single CSA member and so
thankful to every person who offered their time and effort
in support of our profession and our union.
Saturday afternoon uplifted my spirits, Sunday morning brought
me right back to reality, and the challenges and struggles
that lie ahead.
among the folds of my Sunday New York Times was “A Guide for
Parents and Families,” published by the Board of Education.
I read I was initially impressed with the content. But, oops!
How strange! Whoever put together Page 5 either didn’t know
how schools are organized or had deliberately omitted key personnel
from the neat little diagram, because nowhere to be found on
this organizational chart were the words “Assistant Principal”.
had the Chancellor’s staff been at all “collaborative” (to
use the Chancellor’s own word), we would have immediately noticed
the absence of this key strategic instructional person. Paraprofessionals
were also left out of this non-collaborative project.
perhaps it was an oversight, I thought, giving Mayor Bloomberg
and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein the benefit of the doubt.
After all, they have deemed useless anything that existed at
the Board of Education prior to their takeover. Perhaps in
their zeal to highlight their complete reorganization of the
school system and in their inimitable, narcissistic style,
they simply didn’t remember that Assistant Principals play
an extraordinarily powerful role in the schools.
the other hand, several Assistant Principals from the Bronx
recently told me a disheartening story. They reported that
a Learning Instructional Superintendent told them math and
literacy coaches were now a school’s instructional experts;
Assistant Principals would no longer fill that long-held role.
Not only is that a colossal waste of expertise, I thought,
but contractually, coaches are not permitted to do CSA members’ work.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, my Bronx Assistant Principals
then told me this same LIS made disparaging comments about
we all know this kind of talk so far down on the management
food chain must have been picked up from someone up above.
In this way, it becomes “permissible” to talk in a certain
manner about unions, and about membership in those unions.
this report is accurate, such attempts to apply psychological
fear will not go un-rewarded. Our contract is very clear about
harassment and we have never lost a harassment charge. Just
successful schools, parents know the significant role Assistant
Principals play in the lives of their children in terms of
instruction and safety. A California Institute of Technology
study clearly showed their impact: The only factor consistent
in successful schools was the higher ratio of Assistant Principals
to students. It really was a case of the more Assistant Principals,
the better for the students.
Assistant Principals, strut your stuff with dignity, pride
and professionalism. If Bloomberg, Klein & Co. think you’re
dispensable, rest assured: Your Principals, faculties, parents
and children don’t.#
Levy is the President, Council of School Supervisors and
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 1588, New York, NY 10159.
Tel: (212) 477-5600. Fax: (212) 477-5893. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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