Why Aren't You A Principal Yet?

It's long been said on this blog and elsewhere that CPS schools were increasingly being run by out of town, alternatively prepared principals who ingratiated themselves with area (network) officers, rather than good old CPS principals who worked their way up from the classrooms they'd run masterfully for at least a decade.  Well, according to this recent Chicago Talks blog post, that's not exactly the case.  There are about 100 jobs open in CPS each year.  Only 1 percent of candidates come from outside the city, according to figures attributed to Steve Gering, CPS chief of leadership.  Just 11 percent come via alternative programs.  So if you can't get a job running a school, it must be because you're not trying hard enough or, frankly, are just not good enough.  Or, alternatively, you're black or lack political connections or are unwilling to pay the LSC chair to put you on the list of finalists.


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  • I dunno about the black thing... I've heard of a few superior white candidates passed over for really bad black candidates by all black LSCs. Cuts both ways...

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    2 of 19 principals at schools run by the A U S L are white.

  • Don’t believe it. He just got there no--you need someone from outside who does not owe anybody anything to really look at where these leaders come from. Bet they are not counted accurately.

  • Who want's a job where you have to be at the school 12 hours a day, six to seven days per week, all year around. I have watched administrators kill themselves to meet all the demands placed upon them by CPS. Every year, CPS adds more responsibilities to an administrators day and never estimates how much time it takes to do these tasks. Too many administrators are using stimulants to stay awake. No wonder so many principals are psycho and illogical. If you want to stop seeing your family, have no free time and be placed under an unusual amount of stress, apply for a principal job at CPS.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    I agree and disagree with you. Our principal(s) shows up late every day. He is totally disorganized and inconsistent. Having said that, he IS psycho, illogical, and appears to be on something. Not joking. The fact that he has kept this job as long as he has is unbelievable.

  • A person who wants to be a Principal or Vice Principal should do it from the heart and not from the wallet size, if that is what you wanted to be , then you should love doing it from the heart and not worry about how many hours or how many days or how much it pays , right now i asked a vice principal for help and his solution is , "if you don't like it then maybe your kid should go to another school" this is what parents have to deal with while the V.P. are getting paid for it. Please we need teacher and principals and vice principals that care.
    what ever happened to "no kid should be left behind" . i wish Michelle Obama could see this one.

  • In reply to LETTY:

    I agree. Teachers and principals should work for the love of the children. Salary, benefits, and work hours - these are unimportant. If we want to attract the best, the brightest and the most dedicated, then we need to pay teachers and administrators less and cut their incredibly generous benefits.

    Principals and teachers need not spend time with their families, their hobbies, or even their churches. 70-80 hours per week is not too much to ask for the sake of our children.

  • In reply to LETTY:

    take a look at a calendar

    'vice' principal was out about 20 years or more ago - they are now called 'assistant' principals...are you still calling asians orientals?

  • I do my job from the heart. BUT, I will say it is a mixed bag. The teachers who would excel as principals have no desire to be administrators. The few of us who do make the change are overworked and tired.

    I have not received a raise in 4 years; there are teachers in my building who earn close to what I earn from putting in additional hours - it is not financially beneficial to hold this position - not to mention the emotional toll from always having to fight, push, and fill in where needed.

    I think this is why we see the bad principal stories, which I do not doubt. I don't need more money, but I would like some respect for my time. We have conditions that invite poor leadership and does not nurture the people doing the right thing, which is making sure that teachers can do their jobs and the kids can learn.

    BAD delegation will kill a school. That is from the top down. In CPS, EVERYONE has a bad habit of passing the buck/work.

    People are scared to death of these principal jobs. People are CHOOSING not to be principals - what does that say?

  • Principals
    Total: 529
    African-American: 49.8%
    White: 30.8%
    Latino: 17.5%
    Asian/Pacific Islander: 1.5%
    Native American: 0.3%
    Total: 21,320
    African-American: 29.7%
    White: 49.7%
    Latino: 16.1%
    Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.6%
    Native American: 0.9%
    Source CPS Web Site

  • I have no sympathy for CPS pricipals. Look at the data and pay. I know of one at a small CPS elementary school making over &140,000.00 a year. She only works half days in summer and is rarely at school more than a hour after the bell rings. In the real world she would be working at least 60 hours a week and be on call 24/7. She also lives in the suburbs!!

  • "I have no sympathy for CPS pricipals [sic]...I know of one..." Nice sample. I know of many people who would not dream of lending their considerable talents to that job. If (and I do mean if) one does it well, it is a huge task, and in no way comparable in hours, time, or benefits to the private sector. When (and I do mean when) this economy turns around, good luck finding dedicated and competent teachers or principals.

  • @30 years, my principal works 12 hour days minimum, is at school on weekends and holidays and that doesn't even begin to count all the extra hours working at home, going to meetings, etc. She literally is killing herself for our school. Is it possible your principal leaves an hour after school gets out because she has to go to endless numbers of meetings downtown? Or that she goes home to eat and then works from home every single night until midnight and all weekend too? This is the life of my principal. I can't count the number of emails I have gotten from her after 10 p.m. or before 6 a.m.
    Why in the world would you say she should be on call 24/7? 140K is not a ton of money. It might be more than what you make, but I can confidently say, that the good principals are worth at least half a million a year. You and others, of course, are free to disagree with me. But that is what I'd pay a good principal. Of course, I'd make starting pay for great teachers 6 figures. But that's just me.

  • I have well over a decade of classroom experience teaching the gamut of courses in our diverse neighborhood high school. I can support my teaching choices and student outcomes with reams of relevant data. I'm National Board certified (for what that's worth). I've managed million dollar grants, gathered and analyzed schoolwide data, coached new teachers and old ones, and designed and led several long-term, faculty-wide professional development initiatives. Most people that don't know me well assume that I either have a Type 75 or am working to get one.

    But I would never want to be a CPS principal. Our current principal - the best of the half-dozen or so I've worked closely with - works 6-7 day, 70+ hour weeks, every week. If she's not dealing with idiotic board directives, surprise visits from important downtown/network personages, crap from overprotected teachers gaming their union protections, or genuine emergencies, it's probably because downtown decided that she really needed to spend her time at an all-day meeting explaining their latest half-baked initiative that will be forgotten 3 months later. I don't know how she does it, but I certainly couldn't. I like spending at least some minimal time with my own children, maybe doing something for my own enjoyment once a week, and not having everybody both above and below me laying every problem at my feet. More money is nice, but nothing is worth living like that.

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