Top 3 Issues

Blog prompt: What are the top three personnel issues facing educational leaders today? Provide a rationale for your choices.

1. Succession planning. Based on my own research it’s clear to me that schools, colleges, and universities may not always think about cultivating future leaders. Efforts are often left to individual managers to identify future leaders, mentor them, and encourage them to engage in professional development activities that will prepare them for positions of increasing responsibilities. Some community colleges have developed locally based, organization-wide “Grow Your Own Leaders” programs which typically identify a group of emerging leaders on the campus/in the district, bring them together for a series of activities, provide them with professional resources, and instill in each participant a sense of how they can prepare for leadership positions in the organizations. I’ve observed two such programs so far – one that took place over a week and one that took place over a semester. In an era where professional development funds are being cut (in response to shrinking budgets), the Grow Your Own programs offer one way to bring professional development to the campus community.

2. Incivility. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but I recently read an article that suggests I’m not the only person who thinks that, in general, people are becoming less and less polite. We rely less on face-to-face communication to resolve issues and more on technology to address issues; this perceived anonymity may give us permission to be less considerate of one another. This incivility will carry over into the workplace as people assert their “right” (sic) to behave inappropriately … In the Hanford section of this course we discussed an incident that occurred in the Lodi school district. While this incident may not necessarily be common, I recall Rodney King’s famous question, “Can’t we all just get along?”

3. Retirements of Long-term Employees/Retention of New Employees. While it may be tempting to say “Good riddance” to employees who have stayed too long, we also lose other long term employees committed to teaching and learning who provide stability to our schools, colleges, and universities. Their knowledge and life long commitment to students is admirable — and will be difficult to replace. At the other end of the career spectrum, it is likely going to be increasingly difficult to attract people to education (in particular public education). We simply don’t value public education in California; if we did, we wouldn’t tolerate unrelenting budget cuts and threats to public education. How, then, do we attract new professionals to something that seems so un-valued?

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