Thursday, March 11, 2010

Timberland Needs Collaboration, Not Clobbering

After sleeping on some of my earlier comments, and after some consideration and conversation, it has occured to me that there is another possible perspective on the current failures of the Wentzville School District administration, and the censoring of Timberland High School's publications by Principal Winston Rogers.

Let's assume the original perspective of the Wentzville administration in hiring Principal Rogers based on his prior experience is correct:  It is true that socio-economic status of a community contributes to educational decline.  And it is also true that making even a small improvement in a failing school is an improvement.  And that such an environment has many challenges to overcome to gain such a success, such as lack of parental involvement, lack of attendance, and a whole host of teen problems (drugs, pregnancy and violence).

To overcome those challenges, even for a small improvement, probably takes a stern management style that works in an environment with less-than-adequate parental support, less-than-adequate teacher performance, and certainly with difficult-to-handle kids.  In that environment, a "my way or the highway" attitude probably works well.

Now, after nine years of honing a brute-force managerial style, he brings it to Timberland High School.  Here at Timberland, the parent involvement is magnitudes greater, which creates less troublesome teens (notice I didn't say trouble-free), and has an environment that attracts highly-qualified (and independant) teachers.

This bully-like approach probably worked at Berkeley to reach a minimum level of performance from teachers and students... but Timberland is already past that.  The horsewhipping that the teachers and curriculum are taking will result in the same effect as it had at Berkeley... to reach a minimum level of performance.

And that, I'm afraid, is what is going to happen at Timberland if censorship is allowed to continue.  The censorship and harassment of the journalism program is just the first symptom of a larger illness.  One of the next things to go might be student development trips, much like the D.C. trip the journalism students experienced this year. It could be prom that gets cancelled next, due to some "inappropriate attire" controversy.  Who knows. But the overwhelming amount of grief given to teachers wanting to exceed will stop them from bothering to try, which is the first step in deteriorating the Wentzville schools.

I urge you, if you have not already, to join Team McCandless, and help us in stopping thisdestruction while it can be stopped.

No comments:

Post a Comment