Let schools come up with own plans

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: January 28 2014 | 2:47 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:46 am in

After reading the schedule shuffle idea in The Gazette (“Schedule shuffle aimed at solving budget crunch,” Jan. 17), I have a suggestion for the Cedar Rapids Community School District.

Let the teachers, staff and principals at Taft, McKinley and Roosevelt come up with a plan of their own. Encourage them to think creatively and not to worry about pleasing anybody in the central office. They know the students, the parents, the building and their own strengths and they would have a strong incentive to make a school-driven plan work.

I wrote an op-ed last spring about the subject of top-down decision making, using Metro High School as an example of how, when left to figure things out, a school can develop strong programs and activities that are unique to that particular school. Some interpreted it as a criticism of Metro when it was meant to emphasize the dangers of top-down decision making. At the time, it seemed Metro was not being encouraged to be innovative and truly alternative. However, even now, Metro is a good example of how teachers and students still may have a voice, with their robotics, outdoor programs, sports, digital magazine, support groups and other programs.

The most effective administrative “leadership” involves stimulating creative innovation through maximum delegation and minimal dictatorial, cookie-cutter control.

Mary Vasey

Iowa City

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