Getting to teacher led schoolsLeave a Comment
There’s a buzz lately in the world of education research about “teacher-led” schools (here’s a great resource page with additional reading). Locally, we’ve seen teacher leaders at Pittsburgh Faison take on leadership roles to redesign their school and work more collaboratively with each other. Like everything worth doing, the work is not easy, but giving our teachers more flexibility and ownership of our schools is something we should be exploring as a community.
Thankfully, the Post-Gazette published a timely opinion piece on just this topic this weekend.
Why are teachers looking to lead schools? “Most teachers have no say in their schools’ decisions about hiring, promotions, firing, budgets, pay levels, curriculum or scheduling. This lack of control is a big reason they leave the profession…”
What’s the biggest obstacle to teacher-led schools? “The biggest obstacles to the spread of teacher-run schools are school districts’ central rules, most of which make it impossible to use unusual personnel configurations, alter budgets and make myriad other changes the teacher-run model demands. That’s why so many teacher-run schools are charters — they need autonomy to organize as they please.”
The good thing is, these “central rules,” found in board policies and the collective bargaining agreement are under review. With contract negotiations beginning, hopefully there will be some discussion about creating flexibility from the rules so we can get schools that work. Good ideas, like teacher-led schools are out there. We just need the courage to make them happen.