A long-awaited independent review of the high school reform plan known as CSSRP was provided to the Board of Education by Leadership Capacity, Inc. at the board’s work session Monday, April 21st in Bel Air. The board received a 300-page report reiterating many of the issues brought to the board’s attention by teachers, parents, students and administrators as far back as 2005.
Particular interest was sparked by focus group reports indicating a low level of support among teachers for many aspects of CSSRP ranging from the block schedule to the mandatory class “Living in a Contemporary World”.
Board president Tom Fidler wasted no time concluding that this reflected of a “failure of leadership” on the part of Superintendent Jackie Haas and senior staff members Dave Volrath and Gerry Scarborough.
Is it possible that Mr. Fidler has grown weary of being misguided by certain members of senior staff? If so, he could do a real service to the students of Harford County Public Schools by embracing the feedback from this report and using it to guide immediate changes to CSSRP.
Or is his laser-like focus on the failures of others an attempt to deflect comparisons with the board’s history of discounting input from stakeholders who raised doubts about the plan?
The report from Leadership Capacity mirrored a presentation the board received from Councilman Dick Slutzky on March 17th. Slutzky’s address was prompted by constituents who were frustrated when the board did not address reasonable concerns in a timely way and turned to the county council to advocate on their behalf. (To anyone who may question what supporters of an elected school board mean by “accountability”, the council has provided a good example.)
It remains to be seen whether Mr. Fidler will avoid the temptation bury this report and instead lead the way to improvements in CSSRP. With only a few months left in his tenure, he has an opportunity, but not much time.
On the other hand, what is it called when someone charged with oversight points fingers when they should take action?
Oh right, a failure of leadership.
Click here to read the entire 300 page report on CSSRP