Letters: School administrators unpopular

An empty classroom at William Floyd High School

An empty classroom at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach. (Credit: Daniel Brennan, 2011)

Congratulations on finally getting the story right. I am referring to Lane Filler's column on blaming the principals for our educational problems ["To drop bad teachers, evaluate their bosses," Opinion, Jan. 25].

If principals were doing their jobs, we wouldn't have the problems we have today. With all the teacher bashing, the best and the brightest of our younger generations stay away from teaching as if it were a plague. Most of today's principals have minimal classroom experience, getting away from teaching as quickly as possible.

Please spotlight this story on your front page. Let's open administrative jobs only to people with advanced degrees and a minimum of 10 years of classroom teaching. Let's scrutinize principals' performances and lay the test scores in their laps.

Grace Hughes, New Hyde Park
 

When I read the headline of this op-ed, I thought, finally, someone got it right. And then, I went on to read the rest of the piece and got sick to my stomach. Lane Filler has absolutely no idea how principals and assistant principals get their licenses and their jobs or what qualifications they must possess.

When I started teaching in 1973, principals and their assistants were master teachers. They had been working in the classroom for more than 10 years and were experts. They took rigorous exams and sat through even more rigorous interviews. That is not true today.

Most of these new administrators have barely set foot in the classroom, and their certification comes from some Mickey Mouse, pay-for-your-degree university. A special education assistant principal I know had taught very few, if any, special education classes. The same holds true for principals with Leadership Academy educations and business experience, which give them no background to work in a school.

Filler also fails to mention the dollar incentive given to principals that encourages them to keep the cheapest teachers in their schools. He seems to think they would want to keep the best and the most experienced, but in New York City, the more experienced teachers are being pushed out. I know, I was one of them.

Linda Silverman, Bellerose
 

In my 20-plus-year career in public education, I have never felt the tide of public opinion more against professional educators and administrators than I do now. Today, I read a comment from a Newsday reader stating that it was a shame that tax money pays for "useless" administrators ["Notable on Newsday.com," News, Jan. 21].

Though schools provide a vital service, there are many who question the salary and pension structure. It is understandable. What I do not understand is the lack of respect and civility for those of us who care for and teach children.

As a school administrator, I certainly do not consider myself useless. Someone has to run the school. Someone has to make sure there are books and security measures, budgets, buses and a schedule. In business, there is a management structure. Are all managers useless? Can a business survive with only salesman or only factory workers? I'm no expert on the private sector, but I would think not.

I get to help children, teachers and parents. I get to shape local educational policy, manage budgets, field parent complaints, provide counsel to crying students, and teach valuable lessons about respect, accountability and work ethic. I get to play the role of motivator, facilitator and counselor. I make sure that teachers have what they need.

Hardly useless, I think.

David Miller, Baldwin

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