Saturday, November 25, 2006

Charters Need Strong Leadership by Akindele Akinyemi

The evolution of charter schools will come from educational leaders within that school who are prepared to take their school globally. The board of directors should be on board with globalization as well. We have to not just transform our community but begin the discussion of sending our children to Nigeria, Senegal, England and China.

This must be done several ways.

First, the traditional role of the principal in a traditional school setting is maintaining the flow of business and academics in schools. Lately, principals have been stressing about the importance of standardized testing in their schools to continue receiving Title I money.

Principals have to make a decision whether they are going to be the business guru of the school or the academic innovator. Gone are the days of doing both. Here's why.

The generation born after 1992 are called "echo boomers," "the millennium generation," and "Gen M." These children/young adults represents 70 to 80 million people in the US. Meeting their unique educational needs is proving to be a tremendous challenge, as well as an opportunity. For Millennials, that very well may mean engaging them with cooperative learning exercises, empowering them to be decision makers in the classroom, and getting them to analyze their own learning strategies. Millennials tend to exhibit strong bonds with their parents. They are the first to grow up in the digital age. The challenge in teaching Gen M is in keeping them actively engaged.

This is a true statement. Most principals have a hard time engaging with the youth of today because they are so out of touch.

Educational leaders must also become innovative in their approach to education. Part of that innovation is stop being so liberal about running your school. Have you ever wondered why your school is failing in the first place? Perhaps your leadership style is too liberal and not balanced enough. In many cases, with Generation M, you have to run your school conservatively.

Part of running the institution might deal with NOT offering special education. Special education students can compete with the hood but not with Asia. There is nothing wrong with designing a college-preparation program for minority students in elementary school kids. Private schools have been doing it forever in the hood. A challenging curriculum will help the youngest generations to look to the future. It would be nice for Black Conservatives in Michigan to lead the way in developing NEW and INNOVATIVE ways to help minority students to build up the academic skills needed for college. Black Conservative Networks, such as this one, can partner with schools like Wayne State or the University of Michigan and in even Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio to become directly involved in the program, and elementary-education students tutor the participants, helping them with homework, playing games with them, and working in small groups.

It would be nice for assistant principals in charter institutions to not just run the day to day operation of the school but use that step for greater leadership within the community. If an assistant principal is more business-oriented (even a CPA is qualified with the right training) then that AP should be in charge of businesses as it relates to the school.

Vocational specialists within these charter schools should be discussing with their students the importance of hyperjobs. This is where people's unique, noncomputerizable skills and abilities, will empower the emerging global society. Hyperjobs will be based on five key aliveness skills and three supporting or enabling ones. The five skills are: 1. discovery, 2. creativity, 3. implementation, 4. influence, and 5. physical action. The enabling skills, which power the five key aliveness skills, are: 1. basic mental skills, 2. symbolic thinking, and 3. responsibility. Aliveness enhancement is the side job, if not the main job, of every hyperjob holder, for aliveness is the whole point of economics, technology, and society. The hyperjobs of the future may be either entirely new or enhanced versions of existing jobs.

Principals and educational leaders (including teachers) must also do the following:

Students, teachers and other professionals will increasingly work in teams, reflecting a pattern
that is widely evident in workplace arrangements in other fields, with many parallels for
professionals in education and medicine.

Schools will expand their policies and practices for the pastoral care of students, given the high
expectations for all to succeed. As learning is dispersed, the maintenance of schools duty of
care will require cyber-policy on care in virtual schools.

Educational leaders in traditional public school systems must come to realize that education will be intensely decentralized, offering a significant number of choices to teachers, parents, and students. School and learning will be related to time rather than to place, available everywhere that there is connectivity 24 hours a day all year. No one will care about who is on the school board within the next 25 yearsbecausee people will have a more business approach to education than what you are used to.

This is why I do not understandorganizationss like the NAACP are against educational choice and I will never, ever understand how any intelligent Black person would sit and re-elect Jennifer Granholm for Governor when she is against educational choices for parents and children.

Today, charter schools need conservative leadership running their institutions. Conservative leadership at the local level needs to look around the world. What things or events are occurring that can serve as tools to help the situation?

Conservative leadership need to create opportunities for ownership. They are constantly in the
business of shaping a climate and culture of understanding. They are responsible for helping people figure out where they fit in the organization and how they can make a contribution.

They also need the ability to create, evaluate, and redesign learning opportunities for growth.

They need to be able to arrange the team in such a way that the synergism of the team augments the creative process.

The leader needs to facilitate people and their needs to build positive climates where individuals are fully committed to serving learners of all kinds.

Educational leaders are able to read the people who are under them so that they can get the
best from them.

The effective principal is able to lead within the system--always putting kids first in the decision making process.

Principals need the ability to sort and select among the many mandates to determine which
ones will command their attention.

As we are building a more effective Black Regional Power base we are responsible for educating and executing these critical tips to academic success. These formulas along with a strong staff will help the evolutionary process of charter schools.

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