“Processes become highly mechanistic when you don’t trust people.” -Anonymous DC district administrator
If my job as a teacher ever falls through, I have determined that I should have no problem going to work for my other favorite governmental agency, the US Postal Service. Yesterday was spent rounding up answer sheets from the entire math department of the district’s thrice-per-year (“triannual”?) math periodic assessment to mail to LAUSD.
While I am regularly assured that the results of these assessments (which I’ve heard cost in the neighborhood of $40 million district-wide) will not be used to evaluate schools and teachers, I do get a fair number of worried emails from folks in the district checking and double-checking that they are submitted on time. Perhaps even more frustrating is that what’s emphasized is not so much how well our students do on these assessments, but how high our school’s “completion rate” is.
The sad reality of all of this is that this district is monstrously huge and really does (by both its emphases and processes) betray that leaders don’t seem to have much trust in us, whether the “us” is an individual school, or an individual teacher. While the question remains as to whether that lack of trust is deserved (in some cases, it is likely warranted), it will be hard moving this district forward for all kids unless better lines of trust between teachers, principals, district managers, and district leaders.
One of my favorite bloggers, Larry Ferlazzo, brings up this very subject in one of his recent Ed Week posts.