November 23, 2008

L E A — Phooey!

You can read Joel Klein’s spiel today in the Sydney Morning Herald on the great job he’s been doing with the NY school system — if you have the stomach for it.

In a whole era of arrogant men and women, ethically and morally challenged and entirely untrained for the powerful positions they’ve attained, Klein’s fabrication of his successful chancellorship really wins top marks. What claptrap. [And by the way, some Australians aren't buying it either — see this link posted on Ednotes.]

I do want to talk about one point Klein makes in amongst all that corpospeak:
Our "children first" reform strategy is based on three principles: leadership, empowerment and accountability.

This is not new, of course, and I must credit Ed in the Apple who wrote back in December of 2006 that Klein and Cerf were up to no good. In a post called “The Education NeoCon Plans for the NYC School System: Privatize and Walk Away,” he asked:
“Who are these “masked men”?

The new motto of the DOE is “leadership, empowerment, accountability,” expect to see it on T-shirts and emblazoned on banners. Makes sense: the three leaders have taught for a total of less than ten years, none has ever lead a school and are thoroughly disliked, or unknown to the hundred thousand employees and million kids and their parents in the NYC school system.”
He also spoke of the hundreds of new empowerment schools the DoE was creating, in a world
where schools are “managed” by outside organizations under a performance contract. In the totally cynical world of politics it might make sense: if schools fail it’s the fault of the outside manager, if schools succeed the Mayor can claim credit.
I know I didn’t listen carefully enough back then. I only remember thinking “What? More restructuring?” It took a couple of more years for me to understand the nature of the war BloomKlein had already started waging against public education.

For the heck of it this evening, I decided to google the three terms Klein was pushing to the Aussies — leadership, empowerment, and accountability — to discover who coined them and who’s been throwing them around.

The earliest reference I found came up in Shropshire Online, “Your Gateway to Services and Information in Shropshire.” On the agenda of a meeting in November 1998 was an Organisational Review that listed leadership, empowerment and accountability among the “guiding principles for the way we work.”
Curious ... a British governmental Tourist Agency.

There was Sandra Donovan, who wrote a paper for the journal Industrial Biotechnology back in December 2006 called "Ten Keys to Successful Technology Commercialization":
Commercializing technology successfully is the result of thoroughly understanding and applying the basic principles [which] include . . . leadership, empowerment, accountability . . . all of which have significant impact on commercialization endeavors.
Biotechnology. Industry. Commercialization. Interesting ...

In May 2007 an announcement appeared for a new staff development initiative at the National Solid Waste Management Authority in Antigua. It would be led by Myrtle Looby, founder and CEO of LEAP Training Consultants. LEAP stands for “Leadership Empowerment Accountability Professionalism.”
Hmmm ... Solid Waste Management.

The journal Design Intelligence had an article by James Cramer in October of the same year on “Global Growth, Design Demographics, and Business Success.” He wrote about a diagnostic analysis called LEAP™, derived from the words “leadership, empowerment, accountability, and processes.” The say they have a way to assess
the culture of an organization as it relates to real world success. Twenty-six critical areas of a firm’s culture under the umbrella zones of professional services, marketing, finance, and operations are analyzed . . This LEAP™ diagnostic has been used for over three years now to identify strategic priorities, to create alignment in merger situations, and to create a meritocracy environment that produces high performance firms.
I hate to admit it, but I'm not familiar with Design Demographics. Does it involve people?

This might, but I can't make heads or tails out of it. Let me just throw it in for good measure:

An application for an award being offered by the Red Cross says that candidates must share six “core values,” one of which is teamwork. They must be "committed to workforce leadership, empowerment, and accountability."
So they've found their way into Emergency Medical Services as well. Nice.

Any ten-year-old can tell you what’s missing in all this leadership, empowerment and accountability.

It’s children, and it’s learning. And we don't need no Joel Klein to tell us that.

1 comment:

  1. If we take Linda Levey's comment made on this blog on Nov. 10th and plug in "UFT leadership" in the place of Klein and/ or Dept. of Education, and you will see where the real problem lies.

    Here is her brilliant comment...While reading it plug in "UFT Leadership"in place of Klein/Dept. of Ed. and you will see what I mean..

    “Chancellor Klein has proven himself to be an autocratic bully, surrounded by people who agree with everything he does because they know their jobs are on the line.
    He does not care what parents think and does not seem to believe that parents should have a say in their children’s education. He pontificates at hearings then walks out without listening to parents’ responses.
    Klein talks a lot about “transparency” in the schools, but his Department of Education is the least transparent in City government.”
    — Linda Levy
    November 10, 2008 7:34 pm
    When Klein started to dismantle the education system, it reavealed the weakness of the union. The unions response was to publicly decry him, and then privately without the consent of the rank and file, collaborate with him by making deals with him under the table. We the rank and file never see exactly how this is done until we see our rights being sold down the river with every contract.
    There needs to be a real insurgency of of grass roots activism on behalf of teachers to over turn our present union leadership, and replace it with people who will not compromise the rights of our teachers. When will this happen? It's up to us, and to all of you who agree that there needs to be new leadership in our union. With Bloom likely to get back in along with Klein, we must not waste any time. We must act now or suffer another 4 years of his tyranny and the unions collaboration with him.