Principals of Leadership
page 1 |
2 | 3 |
4 | 5
| 6 |
A few years into his 12-year tenure as principal of Foshay Learning
Center in South Central Los Angeles, Lapin and his staff found they
had a budget surplus. They also recognized that the school's sixth-grade
reading-test scores were sub-par.
Lappin had somewhat more control over his school budget than other
Los Angeles Unified School District principals, so he and his staff
decided to use the surplus on professional development and hired
teacher coaches for the sixth-grade instructors.
"Our test scores went up," he says. "That was a
successful use of money, and it was a decision made at the school
Ouchi's ideas about greater site control also appear to be gaining
traction with state education leaders. As the one-time chief of
staff to former Los Angeles mayor and current California Education
Secretary Richard Riordan, Ouchi is a key member of Riordan's education
Riordan, in fact, has publicly embraced Ouchi's theses. In February,
he announced his intent to advance a statewide measure that would
vastly expand principals' powers over their budgets and staffing
while also streamlining the state's education-financing system so
that money follows students to schools rather than being allocated
by central districts.
The education secretary cites Ouchi's research into site-based
budgeting as a significant influence on this thinking. "The
whole school-finance system needs to be revamped so that the authority
and control is at the local level, under the leadership of the principal,"
says Riordan. "Leadership is the way you turn schools around."