Sunday, August 19, 2007
More about principal Frank Wells
Locke High School, near Watts in Los Angles, California
Here's what Joanne Jacobs (joannejacob.com on May 4, 2007) had to say about Los Angeles principal Frank Wells before he was dismissed:
"Frank Wells, principal of a very bad Los Angeles high school, said he doesn’t need more money, reports the LA Times. (Repent of your sins! The end time is near!) On a visit to a Green Dot charter school, Frank Wells bitterly criticized the district bureaucracy for blocking real change at Locke High, near Watts. He called it “criminal to allow a school to continue on year after year, the way this one has.”
"“The more you fail, the more money they throw at you,” he said. “We’re filthy rich; I don’t want any more of your money. Send me quality teachers.”
"Wells was brought in to turn around Locke but says he’s run into a “brick wall.” "
[I agree with the following comment by Larry Strauss regarding Joanne Jacobs' post.]
"This is an example of where the ability of a principal to pay incentives to get quality teachers would probably have an impact.
"I don’t know too many teachers who would volunteer to transfer to Locke. My school is one of the alternatives to Locke — and Washington and Fremont — but our enrollment is only 360 (one reason our school has a graduation rate about 60% higher than Locke). One of our foreign language teachers began her career at Locke and has no desire to return there. Former Supt. Romer wanted to be able to force teachers to teach wherever he saw fit to assign them, which wouldn’t be terribly good for morale or retention….
"So Principal Wells has all this money… He can buy mountains of new text books but without enough “quality teachers” what good are those book? He can equip his classrooms with state of the art technology but without enough quality teachers the equipment is likely to go to waste.
"There isn’t a level playing field when it comes to hiring quality teachers. Geography, neighborhood safety, reputation, and challenging students make schools like Locke less desirable to most teachers. Offering incentive pay could level the playing field.
"One more thing: it is important to consider, when discussing a school such as Locke, that there are already quality teachers there. I know some myself. They might be in the minority which makes them even more outstanding. They put up with a lot of crap every day in their classrooms, in the hallways, and then they get dumped on along with the rest of the school by the press, the public, and the politicians…."