Boston — Last week's suggestion for improving schools called for replacing building principals, particularly at the junior high level (youngsters aged 10-15), with head teachers.
It called for three qualities -- compassion, sound scholarship, and orderliness.
Many men teachers combine these three vitures, as do many women teachers.
We're unreasonably imbalanced in the male-female ratio of school administrators. Some 70 percent of all US teachers are women; only 13 percent of US school principals are women. Yet the pool from which administrators are chosen contains nearly three times as many women as men.
Finding women to be junior high and middle school head teachers should present no problem, then, to superintendents and school boards.
In fact, to place men in these positions might mean that more qualified women were being overlooked in favor of the "traditional role for the male."
There is another tradition which also must be broken in order to replace principals with head teachers and then to actively seek (perhaps first?) for qualified women candidates. The junior high principalship has been perceived as a steppingstone to a senior high principalship.
But this is not the purpose of a head teacher; for such an administrator, scholarship comes first, and teaching is the role for which they are most qualified.
Hence, should either men or women head teachers find that administering, per se, is more interesting and satisfying to them than teaching, they should move on -- to the elementary or high school levels.
But there are many who love and understand this age child. And so, let's replace those traditional junior high principals (aren't most of them combining coaching with being building principal?) with head teachers.
And let's be bold: Let's say, "Women candidates preferred."
Next week: Size down your schoo l