Friday, May 29, 2015

The Beta Leader

This post is for the Alpha Leader (and aspiring Alpha Leaders) of organizations.  By “Alpha” I am not talking in terms of personality, but in terms of hierarchy.  In school systems there are two Alpha Leaders: The Superintendent and The Principal.  Think Secretary of the Navy (Superintendent) and the Ship Captains (Principals).

If the organization is small enough, the leader can run the organization by personality alone.  At the district level, the tipping point where personality isn’t enough is around 5 campuses.  At the campus level, the tipping point is around 650 students. 

When the organization is on the plus side of the first size break the Alpha leader has to lead through a system.  A system that drives staff actions and a system that provides timely monitoring information. A good alpha leader and good system can be effective up until the next size break which is around 8 campuses at the district level and around 1,500 students at the campus level.  At that point the Alpha Leader needs an effective Beta Leader, the #2. 

It has been my observation that the most effective large school organizations have a #2 that rivals the competence and confidence of the #1.  And it is this effective team that allows the organization flourish.  The #1 focuses on the big picture and the organization’s interactions with the larger world. The #2 focuses on making sure the machine works, daily, towards achieving big picture goals.  When Mr./Ms. Outside is teamed with the right Mr./Ms. Inside, great things, at scale, are achievable.

This is so important that I counsel Principals that are considering new districts to look at the #2 closely before making any decisions.

All of this to make this point, if you are the Alpha Leader of a large entity, this one hire will make or break you. In fact, I know one big district superintendent who only hires superintendents as his deputy. Pick your #2 with care. 

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: TASSP Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); TEPSA Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Superintendent Writes... Lies, Damn Lies, and Pro-Voucher Propaganda - Part 1

In response to the 5/22/15 post, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Pro-Voucher Propaganda,” a LYS Superintendent writes:

OMG! "Closet Segregationist!!!”  

Remind me to never get in a debate with you.  And, by the why, you are completely right.  No one is “escaping” to diversified, all-inclusive private schools.  

Well, maybe that is wrong.  The private school in my district serves all types of rich white children… Tall, short, thin, chunky, boys, and girls. Very diverse.

SC Response
That is what is most disingenuous about the voucher/school choice proponents.  It is not about choosing the school.  It is about choosing the peer group.  Simply put, there are parents who want to make sure their children are educated with the “RIGHT...”
  • Religious group
  • Economic group
  • Gender group
  • Intelligence group
  • Political group
  • Ethnic / racial group

Agree or not, they are well within their rights to make such a choice.  However....

To expect the taxpayer to pay for religious, economic, gender, intelligence, political and racial segregation is contrary to the principles on which this country was founded. A private school voucher (by any name) is not an issue of Right and Left politics. A private school voucher is an issue of Right or Wrong.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: TASSP Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); TEPSA Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Top LYS Tweets From the Week of May 17, 2015

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of May 17, 2015.

1. Congratulations to LYSer, Edna Kennedy! She is the new Superintendent in Burton ISD!! Who will be next? (By @LYSNation)

2. Improvement is a never-ending battle. (By @blitzkrieg607)

3. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. (By @CoachCollinsJMM)

4. New research calls into question the widespread practice of retaining students in 3rd grade based on reading skill. (By @EdWeekTeacher)

5. “One of the greatest obstacles to escaping poverty is the staggering cost of higher education.” (By @DrRichAllen)

6. Whoever is doing the most work is doing the most learning. (By @eduleadership)

7. "No practical economic difference exists between a tax credit voucher and a direct subsidy to private schools." (By @RYHTexas)

8. "Do not be afraid" is most used commandment in Bible, yet politics preys on fear. Real leaders inspire, not incite. (By @RatliffT)

9. I'm all for lower taxes, but at some point we have to pay for what we expect to get from the government. Lower state taxes equal higher local taxes. (By @woscholar)

10. There is ZERO difference between a "tuition tax credit" and a "voucher." Both do the same thing. (By @pastors4txkids)

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: TASSP Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); TEPSA Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations)
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

If It's Not a Private School Voucher... Then It Must Be...

Money Laundering: (noun)
The concealment of illegally obtained money by means of transfers though legitimate and shell businesses. The purpose of money laundering is to profit from one’s ill-gotten gains without notice or consequence. Money laundering is a crime.

Senate Bill 4, Private School Scholarship Program: (noun)
The concealment of state tax revenue by means of transfers through private and shell scholarship management entities. The purpose of Senate Bill 4 is to further ones’ anti-public education agenda without notice or consequence. Senate Bill 4 is... politics?

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: TASSP Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); TEPSA Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lies, Damn Lies, and Pro-Voucher Propaganda

So the proponents of Senate Bill 4 are appalled, APPALLED I tell you, that anyone would call their backdoor voucher program, a “VOUCHER PROGRAM.”  It seems that Senate Bill 4 is simply a scholarship program funded and operated by better people than us who only want to save victimized children. Don’t you ingrate, lazy, heathen, unwashed public school folk understand that?

Why just look at why SB4 is not a voucher program.

Under the current system:

1. A business owes taxes.

2. A business pays its tax bill.

3. The tax revenue goes to pay for state services (which includes public education).

Obviously, this system is flawed.  Not flawed because it is inadequately funded to address public health, law enforcement, roads, social services and public schools.  No it is flawed because it doesn’t have a process to subsidize those who CHOOSE not to partake of state services.

Here’s how things will work under the new improved (still proposed) SB 4 system:

1. A business owes taxes.

2. A business pays most of its tax bill.

3. A business “DONATES” the remaining balance of its tax bill to a private school scholarship program.

4. This remaining, now reduced tax revenue still has to pay for the same level of state services that were provided previously.

5. The private school scholarship program subsidizes the tuition costs of students whose parents CHOOSE to send them to private school.

Don’t you understand? This state sanctioned subsidy of private school choice for the affluent and closet segregationist is nothing like a voucher. 

Obviously, this is much ado about nothing. Just move along. And above all, don’t infringe on your day by contacting your state representative and talking to him/her about this. After all, aren’t you already busy with your full time job of being a “Godless, Monopolistic, Communist?”
 
Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: TASSP Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); TEPSA Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Superintendent Writes... Attrition Plan Doom Loop - Part 2

In response to the 2/27/15 post, “Attrition Plan Doom Loop,” a LYS Superintendent shares the following:

SC,

This reminds me of a conversation we had when we first met and I was an Assistant Superintendent over HR (over 6 years ago). Our district was in a difficult financial situation and we were managing the budget through an attrition plan.  You advised us to amend the plan as soon as possible because we were accelerating the brain drain in our district.  It was the most hated / best advice I have ever received.  It made us realize that the plan we were implementing wasn’t the BEST plan.  It was simply the best plan for a FINITE time period. And then it was the WORST plan. 

We jettisoned the attrition plan at least 3 semesters sooner than we would have without your advice/ wake-up call.  The result. Two years after the old plan we were outperforming our surrounding districts even though we were the least affluent of our peers.

There are trade-offs we have to make when running a district.  Your value to us in that meeting was reminding us of that fact and helping us ensure that short-term financial gain didn’t turn into long-term student pain.

As always, thanks!

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: TASSP Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); TEPSA Summer Conference (Multiple Presentations); Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook