Swickard: Only administrators left in public education

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “Every good teacher is just one bad administrator away from quitting teaching forever.” Jim Smith
     In 2002 the Las Cruces School Board members looked surprised when New Mexico Teacher of the Year Jim Smith made the above statement. It never occurred to them that the central problem in public education was administrators. In the years since Smith’s statement administrators have gotten worse, not better.
     I do know some good administrators who fight to let teachers teach but it seems the system works to throw those administrators out and replace them with administrators who “Play the game” the way their superiors demand. Today, it is never ever about the students, it is always about adults.
     This year the New Mexico teacher evaluations make no sense and are not uniformly applied. More so, it is obvious no one in a position of leadership in the schools has the faintest idea or interest in good teaching. They think great teachers excel at filling out accountability forms and administering tests.
     Many teachers this last year said they were no longer teachers; instead, all they did was administrator tests. All administration, no teachers. They spent the entire year on something to which the students have absolutely no interest whatsoever: taking tests. The good teachers are beaten down for suggesting that students do something other than prepare for tests, take tests, review tests and prepare for more tests. Read full column