The Back Page(13)

11/15/2004 By: Amy Poftak

Gleanings

Something's Gotta Give

A new Education Week report found principals are spending more time on administrative and security issues than instruction-related tasks. Eighty-six percent of principals surveyed, for example, said they attend to maintaining the security of students, faculty, and staff on a daily basis. By comparison, only 48 percent reported they actively supervise and evaluate faculty every day.

The $480,000 Question

There's nothing like money to spark a good debate. When asked whether it was appropriate for school leaders to earn salaries on par with corporate America-including Dr. Rudy Crew, who's earning $480,000 as the new superintendent for the Miami-Dade Schools-56 percent of QuickPoll respondents said yes and 44 percent voted no.

In favor:

"He is an executive with a major responsibility. Why shouldn't superintendents earn a business-level salary? They are CEOs."

"Teachers and administrators have long bemoaned not being treated like professionals, either in pay or respect. This is a welcome step."

"The ability to improve a school district has a far-reaching impact. As the students are better prepared to become productive citizens the savings to the entire community far exceed the cost to hire top-notch executives. However, the teachers must also be well compensated if the effect of the leader is to be felt in the classroom."

Opposed:

"He can't do his job if he doesn't have qualified 'underpaid' teachers doing their jobs! Let's equalize the pay range between teachers and administrators."

"Schools are not businesses. Do not treat the 'executives' as if they are Donald Trump. Put the money in the trenches-where the kids are."

"The biggest sacrifice of working in an education field is the salary! Dr. Crew should be no exception to this sacrifice."

Hit List

Documentary

This fall, PBS premiered Lost Boys of Sudan, a gripping documentary that examines the consequences of Sudan's brutal civil war through the eyes of two young survivors, Peter and Santino, who fled their villages and traveled hundreds of miles across the desert to U.N. refugee camps in Kenya. The film is primarily set in the United States, where the boys have been resettled in Houston, Texas, and follows their difficult and often heart-wrenching struggles to adapt to their new American lives without the support of a family or friends. As usual, PBS provides several outstanding free materials to accompany the program, including a 20-page discussion guide, relevant Web links, and a lesson plan, Lost Childhoods: Exploring the Consequences of Collective Violence," aimed at the high school level. "http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2004/lostboysofsudan/for.html

Online

According to a recent Quality Education Data survey, 19 percent of schools are running Linux on their servers. That's encouraging news for the K-12 open source movement, which has an active presence online at the K-12 Linux Project. The project Web site serves an umbrella heading for three separate URLs: the K12 Linux Terminal Server Project, which provides software for transforming older computers into diskless clients; Linux in Schools, which offers technical guides and tutorials for getting started with open source; and K12 Open Source News, home to discussion forums and free downloads. The sites aren't terribly eye-catching or well organized. But technology directors committed to-or at the very least intrigued by — Linux will find them invaluable. http://www.k12linux.org

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