School Board Can’t Decide Which Side It’s On

This alternative high school in Connecticut has obviously been run by the teacher union for over a year.  Now teachers are beginning to wonder if it was a good idea as the teacher union president for the school is also the head administrator.  The union president was appointed by the school board in an attempt to improve the failing school, and now some teacher are having problems with that appointment.  Why is a school board appointing a teacher union president to run a school to begin with?

Melissa Bailey has the  story in the New Haven Independent.

Teachers should not elect their own school leaders.   Nearly a year after their union took over High School in the Community, teachers are discovering they may have less power than before—not more.

That’s the thrust of an emerging disagreement between teachers and their union leadership at the 230-student magnet school on Water Street.

High School in the Community (HSC) has been teacher-run since its inception in 1970: Instead of answering to a principal, teachers elect their own peers to run the school through a democratic process.

That democratic process may soon change. The new boss threatening to change the rules is not a central office bureaucrat, but the very man teachers elected to lead their union, Dave Cicarella (pictured above).

Cicarella took on a new role last fall, when his union took over management of HSC as part of a new experiment aimed at turning around a failing school.

In addition to being tasked with protecting teachers’ rights, he became the union point-person in charge of making sure HSC reverses a troubling trend of sinking literacy rates, dwindling enrollment, and rising truancy and dropout rates.

As the school’s manager, Cicarella is now moving to end HSC’s longstanding practice of electing teachers from within the school to serve in managerial roles, which roughly equate to “principal” and “assistant principal.”