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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Rock's principal shuffle hard to undo

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 6:28 AM

THE BOSS: Morris Holmes.
  • THE BOSS: Morris Holmes.

THE BOSS: Morris Holmes.
  • THE BOSS: Morris Holmes.
Coverage — here by Channel 4 — of parents unhappy over the mass shuffle of Little Rock School District principals by Superintendent Morris Holmes only increases the mystification.

No doubt there are principals in need of removal. No doubt there are some principals better than others. But the interlocking shuffle of 13 principals ends up making it appear as if all are equal. Swapping a principal with a proven record at one school for a principal with less-obvious gifts at another school is somehow going to improve both schools? Holmes has not explained that case well nor did the School Board press him sufficiently on it in ratifying his choices.

Parents at Williams Magnet and Western Hills made the case to keep popular principals at those elementary schools during special school board hearings last night. Holmes said he intended to give consideration to what he'd heard, but he added, "it's not an easy chore to move over 13 principals."

Will a school superintendent reverse himself on one or two changes when that would set off the necessity of at least several more changes? It would be contrary to the nature of the superintendent beast. And the School Board, though some members might harbor doubts about aspects of Holmes' plan, will be reluctant to meddle with his selection of school-level leaders, a matter in which the chief administrator is generally given great deference.

I'll be surprised if this bell is unrung. And somewhat more surprised if the district is a net winner from it all.

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