Thursday, July 5

Principal pinball gives lousy leaders new schools

At Insideschools, we pay careful attention when a school gets a new principal. So when Jolanta Rohloff, the controversial principal of Brooklyn's Lafayette High School, resigned in March, we took notes -- especially because we had been following her exploits, which included unfairly reducing students' grades and issuing many "unsatisfactory" ratings to teachers, pretty closely. Now, Rohloff has resurfaced in news that reveals unsettling information about how principals are assigned to schools.

Last week, the Post reported that Rohloff was one of two candidates for the principal at Manhattan Center for Math and Science. Earlier this week, Manhattan Center parents told the Daily News they felt "hoodwinked" because they had received no information about Rohloff and her terrible track record before interviewing her. Yesterday came the news, also in the Daily News, that Rohloff had removed herself from contention for that job and instead will work to develop a new high school that will open in 2008 -- where she will be principal.

The Daily News also reported recently that Rohloff is receiving the maximum bonus for Lafayette's performance, even though she left the school before the year ended and the DOE considers the school so weak that it is being phased out. (In general, the list of schools where principals are receiving bonuses doesn't seem, at first glance, to correspond to what Insideschools knows about the schools' quality.)

Here are a few questions I'd love to have answered: Why are some principals censured and even removed for grading improprieties and others are not? Why are principals who have proven themselves divisive and even unfit allowed (or in this case, it seems, encouraged) to continue to lead schools? And what checks are in place at the DOE to make sure the results of data-crunching on principal performance and other matters actually make sense?

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

Loyalty is very much valued at Tweed, obviously.

Unfortunately, good teachers, small classes, and decent facilities for kids appear to be too costly to merit consideration.