Thursday, May 2, 2013

Minority Superintendents are preferred to sell the corporate education reform agenda in urban school districts

The quote below appears in a book written by Don Mc Adams the President of CRSS (Center for Reform of School Systems), page 256.

Of course, I do not agree with the ideology or the training of corporate education reform. 


Don McAdams, Chairman and Founder

Donald R. McAdams started CRSS near the end of his 12 years of service on the Houston Independent School District Board.  During his board tenure, McAdams co-authored the board’s A Declaration of Beliefs and Visions, which has guided district policy for more than a decade.

At CRSS, McAdams started The Broad Institute for School Boards, a national school board training program for newly elected and appointed urban school board members and their superintendents, sponsored by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

As a Houston trustee, McAdams was a board leader in school accountability, district decentralization, charter schools, and the outsourcing of many district business functions to private contractors. He also led the development of more flexible personnel management policies, an academic core curriculum for high school students, a new elementary school reading curriculum, promotion standards, and other improvements to education and management.  He served two years as president of the board.

McAdams is the author of Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools . . . and Winning! Lessons from Houston (Teachers College Press, 2000), and What School Boards Can Do: Reform Governance for Urban Schools (Teachers College Press, January 2006)

From the book "Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools .. and Winning! Lessons from Houston" by Donald R McAdams (2000)
 "The fourth lesson is that, with probably a few rare exceptions, only minority leaders can reform America's urban school districts. Urban schools are mostly minority schools. And race matters. Houston is a city where African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and whites get along fairly well. But ethnic issues are always just below the surface. Sometimes they are right out on the table.
"School reform is change, and many of the changes needed -- higher academic standards, alternative schools, greater employee accountability, and outsourcing, for example -- can be perceived as threats to minority self-esteem, minority jobs, and established centers of minority power. Only minority leaders have the credibility and trust to make tough decisions and lead minority communities through the uncertainties of change.
"Most of the reform leaders on the Houston ISD board were white. Without (Rod) Paige, the board's voice would have been muted. And it would have been impossible for a white Superintendent to implement Paige's new beginnings agenda for HISD. Only Paige could obtain support from a minority board -- and from minority leaders throughout the city -- for school choice, charter schools, contract placement of HISD students in private schools, new contracts and personnel management policies to significantly increase employee accountability, the virtual elimination  of board influence in personnel appointments, the outsourcing of almost all major business functions, and numerous terminations and transfers of nonperforming minority administrators. One could not effectively play the race card against Paige."
CRSS Faculty Member

Rod Paige

Rod Paige is a lifelong educator who served as U.S. Secretary of Education during President George W. Bush’s first term, from 2001 to 2005.  During his tenure, he spearheaded the implementation of the historic No Child Left Behind Act, with its goal of reinvigorating America’s education system.  Before accepting the cabinet post, Paige held leadership positions in the Houston Independent School District, first as a school board member and then as superintendent.