The Verde Independent’s June 22 editorial, “We could use more leaders like Superintendent Goodwin, Mayor Currier,” notes that politicians and bureaucrats are “famous for talking a lot but never saying anything of substance.” I’ve noticed some educators in Cottonwood are particularly notable for an abundance of impressive verbiage that says little.
Back in February, Bill Helm wrote about Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District implementing the “World Café” program to provide a “powerful space for community conversations to emerge” in which “its strength comes from the way that the questions are framed and the opportunity provided for participants to move between tables and meet new people where new perspectives are exchanged.” The possibility of new insights is enriched as participants “engage in ever-widening circles of thought.”
If ever-widening thought circles in a powerful space of mingling participants fail to make your head spin, try wrapping your perspective around the “McREL Balanced Leadership Principal Evaluation System” approved at COCSD’s March 22 board meeting. This “online evaluation rubric” will ensure that school principals already imbued with “Balanced Leadership” training are fulfilling expectations of “moving their schools to a shared vision for students’ success.” This shared vision into which schools are to be moved consists of “Building a Purposeful Community, Managing Change, and Focus,” which, we are assured, are the three components necessary for successful leadership in school systems.
It is certainly commendable that school board members may now be allowed to leave their tables and meet new people with different perspectives, but I can’t help but wonder how school administrators previously schooled in administrative skills and supposedly hired to exercise those skills can possibly do their jobs when they are constantly being re-educated and tested to ensure their re-education was effective.
Perhaps straight-talkers Superintendent Goodwin and Mayor Currier should be invited to enter the powerful space of the COCSD’s World Café to examine ways COCSD administrators might explain in plain English how this jargon-infested administrative re-education helps students succeed. They could start the conversation by defining the word “symposium.”