Monday Letters: CPS principal program a boon for education leaders
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I am writing to clarify the nature of Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) new Independent Schools Principal (ISP) program and the reasons behind its launch, which appear to have been misinterpreted in a guest op-ed column that ran on August 5, 2015.
The ISP program grants high-performing principals greater flexibility with regard to how they shape their budgets, what they purchase for their schools, and how they implement professional learning in their schools. It has been my experience, both in my role as a principal in two CPS high schools, as well as in my role as a CPS network chief, that these are precisely the areas in which our most talented principals have asked for greater autonomy. Conversations with many principals interested in becoming members of ISP’s initial cohort are a testament to this program’s appeal to our district’s school leaders.
Exempting participating principals from network oversight is not just popular with principals — it also enables our district to focus our energy and the limited dollars we have available on the schools that most need our support and guidance. The ISP program recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach to supporting principals is neither the most effective nor the most efficient way to ensure that our school leaders have the tools they need to drive student achievement in our classrooms.
Finally, what I believe to be one of the strongest components of the ISP program seems to have been missed entirely in Tuesday’s guest column. Participating principals will be brought together in a professional learning community, not to isolate them from their peers, but to allow them to discuss with each other and with district administrators the techniques, practices, and leadership qualities that have been transformative in diverse schools throughout our city. These findings will be key to elevating the conversation on how we, as a district, can best tailor our support so that each and every one of our principals has what he or she needs to set students on the path to success in college, in careers and in life.
Dr. Janice Jackson, Chief Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools
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The so-called “multiplier effect”
Elizabeth Austin of Innovation Illinois, a liberal advocacy group, claims that social spending more than pays for itself. She claims that economists, using “sophisticated software” say so. Good grief. How long will liberals keep peddling this line? I remember taking economics classes as an undergrad, and one of the liberal professors showed us an equation that “proved” that under the right conditions, a one dollar stimulus package can cause infinite economic growth. This would be the same “multiplier effect” that Austin uses to claim that social spending more than pays for itself.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, our blue city is broke, our blue county is broke and our blue state is broke all because of years of budgeting according to liberal hogwash that claims crazy spending is the way to get out of debt, and the further in debt you go, the more you should spend.
Gerald Shinn, Pilsen