When the Maryland General Assembly passed the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” also known as the law that resulted from the final report of the Kirwan commission, named after Brit Kirwan, the chair of the diverse committee that drafted it, the law had five pillars, all of them designed to enable Maryland’s schools to perform at the level of the best-performing school systems in the world:
- Early childhood education
- Diverse and highly qualified educators
- College and career readiness pathways
- Resources for at-risk students
- Governance and accountability
The law created a new governmental body, the Accountability and Implementation Board, or AIB for short. This board is charged with working out the details that bring the five pillars of the law to fruition, and the devil is in the details.
The AIB wants to require school administrators—principals and assistant principals—to teach for a certain percentage of their day: principals for 10 percent of the day and assistant principals for 20 percent.
But at a meeting earlier this month, some education leaders balked at the requirement, WYPR reports.
“We need to value the role that administrators play in schools, and we play a very significant role in instructional and teaching and learning focus areas,” the station quoted Afie Mirshah-Nayar, president of the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals, as saying.
Schools facing teacher shortages have already put principals and other administrators in front of classrooms. Some educators worry that planning to do this for the long term, rather than as a stopgap measure, may dissuade administrators from taking jobs that traditionally remove them from the classroom.
“We don’t want to devalue the role of administrators by asking them to teach because our job is very, very different,” Mr Mirshah-Nayar was quoted as saying.
Indeed, the second pillar includes the goal of “creating a leadership development system that develops leaders at all levels to manage” school systems effectively. Putting educators who have been developed as administrators back into classrooms may make them more aware of classroom-related issues, but that mission could also be served in other ways that don’t tie them down with classroom duties.
A school has many educators, each working to ensure students’ successful educational and social development. Removing a link in that educator chain could become more of an impediment than a refresher course for administrators.