“Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”  Elon Musk has it right; I wish others felt the same way.

I’m thinking about this as I read over the shiny new administrative hierarchy for SVUSD, after reading about the 200 or so people who were at the last school board meeting protesting the new superintendent’s salary and benefits package, after talking with board members who are not agreeing on much, after reading the list of average median employee pay in the bay area (Facebook 240K, Chevron 137K, eBay 122K), and thinking about the average median employee pay in the local pink jungle (a lot less than 240K). Is it me or do things just feel a little off?

Change is good. This we know. But remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting a new result. That is education, hiring the same people, paying them the same amount, maintaining the same philosophy and hoping it will change.

Is it just sour grapes that I didn’t make it through paper screening for the SVHS principal position? Sure, a little bit, but it’s bigger than that. I run on and promote the platform of radical innovation and so far, I’m still pretty much screaming in the darkness.

Yes, my administrative platform is just a little bit different than most. Get rid of all plastic (http://valleytalking.blogs.sonomanews.com/2016/10/17/the-gift-of-trash/), change football (doing permanent damage to the developing adolescent brain is the exact opposite of what education should be about), deal with the impact of screens on this generation (see above comment and apply it to screens), plus go full Elon at meetings.

Empower teachers; connect with students, all the stuff I promote on the daily. http://valleytalking.blogs.sonomanews.com/2018/03/15/walt-williams-svhs-principal/

Do I care about standardized tests and graduation rates and budget issues? Sure, but my lens is always focused on what is best for the student and if a program is helping this bottom line, great, if not, change it up and innovate. Remember everything was a new idea once.

Teachers are underpaid and our district is top heavy, pure and simple. Precious resources are going to places with little impact on students but the problem is big picture, not little picture. Have you seen the protests?

220k for the new superintendent is fine if she is worth it. Not fine is 35k for a starting teacher. In my perfect world we would double and triple teacher salaries depending on performance. Get rid of tenure and create learning opportunities for educators to continue innovating (a “trickle down intelligence” model).

We also have too many managers who do not interact directly with students. And when those managers are getting paid up to five times what teachers are paid, there is a problem. I recently had a manager in my classroom and she was so jittery and nervous that two students walked out of class, “She made me super uncomfortable.” They explained.

Granted, my students could work on their warm and fuzzy skills but student interaction is our business, if you don’t like the students, find a new business.

It’s really all about Ultimate Basketball. Don’t know the game? Course you don’t, my PE class and I just made it up last week. It’s Ultimate Frisbee on a basketball court, competitive, physical, requiring great skill (you try and make a 175 lb. disc in a basketball net), and fun as heck. It promotes innovation, requires problem solving and a whole lot of teamwork. Plus making stuff up is always a good time.

The answer is simple, look at the administrative hierarchy and cut non-vital positions, are they positively impacting student learning or perpetuating a bloated machine? Is everyone on the school board there for the students or for their ego?

 

 

Our leadership void means that the underlings need to step up, Dr. Young did the best he could but was a Band-Aid on a severed arm. Unfortunately the underlings have some pretty strong differences of opinion and since there is no one to mediate, hate and anger sometimes prevailed. Time to move on people, a little compromise, a little less ego, and a little student-centered philosophy.

Stop wasting time and listen to Elon.