Larry Cuban on the Superhero Superintendent

September 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm Leave a comment

With the loss of Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty in a primary election, DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee has lost one of her most ardent supporters, leaving her reforms in limbo.  Larry Cuban, whose books I’ve mentioned several times here, recently wrote an essay (based on this primary election) on the the Superhero Superintendent, who comes in and “breaks the china” to shake everything up — but then quickly gets tossed out by other civic leaders.  Cuban uses his historian’s perspective to describe superintendents that do succeed.  I think Cuban is presenting an important perspective on reform, whether it’s in a K-12 school district, or CS education at K-12 or university levels.

They wore no capes and donned no tights. They slogged through a decade or more of battles, some of which they lost, to accumulate small victories. They helped create a generation of civic and district leaders and a teacher corps who shared their vision.

They built brick-by-brick the capacities among hundreds and thousands of teachers, principals, parents, and community members to continue the work. Yes, they angered many and, yes, they fought to win but they persevered. They left legacies that teachers, principals, and parents can, indeed, improve schools by working together.

via The Answer Sheet – Rhee in D.C.: The myth of the heroic leader.

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