Time to Leave the Status Quo Behind
Some people have asked me why I am even bothering to support Dr. Porter at all. Of course, I advocate that Dr. Porter and the Board come to a mutual reconciliation that will certainly involve some form of reprimand and payback. This I term atonement.
But this does not answer the question as to why I feel it would be a mistake to fire Dr. Porter. This very issue was discuss at our last meeting of the officers of the American Federation of Teachers, my union. We came up with 3 main strengths we feel Dr. Porter has:
1. He has sought the advice of teachers. It's funny that this should be so unusual, but this hasn't happened with many past superintendents in our district. Dr. Porter has the radical idea that those who deal with students directly might know something of what is needed in our schools. This may be one reason why certain principals have sided against him. (Interestingly enough, my principal, a very competent leader, is supporting him.)
2. He has gone after incompetent principals. As stated below, he has said that 20 to 25 percent of the principals in our district are not doing their job. He has not minced words about this when dealing the the principals themselves. Neither has he spared teachers, but he is the first we know to publically acknowledge our problems with our principals.
3. Most importantly, Dr. Porter has been an agent of change. Our district must change if it is to get better. We need someone who has the courage to seek change if this is to happen because it hasn't happened with the last few leaders we have had. Change causes pain. Change agents are considered divisive. They gain enemies.
What we are seeing, in my opinion, are the Agents of the Status Quo pushing back against Dr. Porter. They are comfortable with the way things have always been done. They go to work day after day feeling that they are doing their jobs. But they simply keep the routine going. As someone said of them, "They are unaware that they are unaware."
Our message is simple. We have a failed system in our district. We have good teachers and many good principals and administrators, but they are all working within a failed system. Our question is, when will we ever have a chance to get it right if we allow the Agents of the Status Quo defeat the Agents of Change?