The Union Principal

Great “Volcanic Ash” column by Dave Shapiro on Hawaii public school principals. Sounds like the principals are finding their voice on school reform, and with refreshingly frank views. For example, as Shapiro notes, when surveyed on how to improve our schools, the principals want to see better management above them at the DOE and better teachers working for them in the classrooms, with more accountability for all.

Shapiro points out that principals could lead by example by getting out of their union and accepting more accountability themselves.

It’s a point we’ve long advocated, most recently pointing out that in Maryland, which has the nation’s best public school system, principals are not in a union. In fact, we think you’d be hard-pressed to find any workplace outside of the state government of Hawaii where both workers and their managers are unionized.

More and more, principal accountability is becoming a centerpiece of the school reform discussion. The three former governors of Hawaii, George R. Ariyoshi, John Waihee and Ben Cayetano, made it a key part of their reform declaration. It’s good to see the principals themselves talking about accountability. Let’s hope they are willing to accept as much accountability as they want from their own leaders and faculties.