Education Round-up: More New MPS Principals and More Changes in Detroit

Posted on Categories Education & Law, Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, Public

The second wave of new principals in Milwaukee Public Schools is going to hit shore tonight at a meeting of the Milwaukee School Board’s finance committee. This time, it is slated to bring new principals to 19 schools. Last month, the first wave brought new leaders to 21 schools.

The two waves – and there will be at least a few more new principals before September – are both a major opportunity and a major concern. Principals are crucial to a school and, if the new batch has good impact overall, that will be a big plus for MPS. But the unusually large number of new principals means almost a quarter of all MPS schools will be under new leadership, which can be a stressful development for a school.

Assuming the committee and, next week, the full school board approve, the new group will include five current MPS principals who are being trasnferred to new assignments and 14 people who are being hired for or promoted to principal jobs. Among the newcomers to the ranks of MPS principals will be Peter Samaranayke at Rufus King High School, the most prestigious high school school in the system; Michael Cipriano at Hamilton High; and Brian Brzezinski at Pulaski. Cynthia Eastern, who has been principal of Pulaski the last several years, will become principal of the School of Career and Technical Education, which is being created as part of the overhaul of Custer High School.

A couple other education items of interest:

I admit I always think about the future of MPS when I read about developments in Detroit, which is widely regarded as the most troubled public school system in the country. In the latest of many changes in recent years (none of which have really put the brakes on the slide of Detroit public schools), Michigan officials announced Monday that they were going to create a public-private authority to take over 39 of the lowest performing schools in the city for the 2012-13 school year.

According to the Associated Press and Education Week, the schools will not have a central administration and principals will hire teachers directly.

It’s not on the table now and presumably wouldn’t be any time soon for MPS, but if the system breaks down under its many stresses or if Gov. Scott Walker and the legislature’s Republican leaders want to see it, could a similar authority end up overseeing some hunk, if not all, of a revamped MPS system of schools operating individually?

And from Florida, the news this week that Gerard Robinson, who has been the education chief in Virginia, has been hired by Florida’s state board of education as commissioner. The announcement said Robinson was a senior fellow at the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette from 2004 to 2006. He has been a close associate of Howard Fuller, the head of the institute. Robinson also served as president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, a national organization that Fuller co-founded. Robinson is known for his advocacy for charter schools and school choice programs.  Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who asked Robinson’s predecessor to leave over differences in philosophy, praised Robinson’s appointment in a statement.  

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