The Executive Principal program, announced with much fanfare in 2007, was designed to place highly regarded veteran educators in some of the city’s most troubled schools and pay them an extra $25,000 a year on top of their base pay.
It turns out that some of the schools where Bloomberg installed “super principals” did very well; some did so poorly that they are slated to close; and some were average.
In other words, the super principals probably made no measurable difference. And that’s why the Bloomberg administration has secretly suspended the program.
Why was it a failure? The Daily News quotes Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the principals’ union: “[The program] has the potential to be a very strong program. It hasn’t worked. They sent these people into these schools without any additional support. That’s why it doesn’t work.”
But I think the problem goes deeper: Bloomberg doesn’t know what makes a successful school system. At one time, he thought a “world class manager” would do the trick. But he had to dump her. He tried throwing money at principals. But that didn’t work either.
Having never been in manufacturing, Bloomberg doesn’t know about “process control” or “control theory.” It’s not just a matter of rewarding successful employees (I call this “the Bloomberg Model”), you have to define what constitutes a successful output, learn what variables contribute to that output, and find out how to control those variables. No one could do that in a school system in just four years. It would take about three times that long.
For taking over 10 years without yet understanding the problem, Bloomberg can Bite Me.