I’m writing to share my insights and my opinion of the Charter School Administrator bill being advocated for by the Idaho Charter School Network. When first approached with this bill, my initial reaction was not favorable. In fact, it was frustrating for me to hear that this would ever become an option for people. After all, I have spent countless hours attending classes, and a countless amount of money paying for advanced degrees to do the work that I’m currently doing. However, I can tell you that this view is not only myopic and ego driven, but it is selfish and it is not what is best for kids.
A pathway into leadership is exactly that. A pathway. When we define one pathway to create a system, we create systems that lack diversity in thinking, lack diversity in the delivery of product, and essentially end up meeting the needs of only part of the population. When we differentiate pathways, we create a system of equity across our schools and our state that ultimately allow for a broader range of individuals to lead schools. The more I grappled with this alternate route for certifications for administrators, the more I came to understand that degrees are important, and they are one pathway to gain experience.
However, they are not the only way and in fact, when looking at national data, it does not appear that they are proven to be the best way.
In recent months I have worked closely with local charter school leaders who are not certified as charter school administrators. They have a deep-rooted understanding of the interworking of operating and running a school. They have the capacity to lead groups of people, with high standards and a focus on excellence. They understand the tenants of pedagogy and/or have surrounded themselves with leaders that do, and most importantly they are committed to the success of Idaho students and families.
I encourage you to look at what is best for the students in the state of Idaho. Look beyond the politics, and the “way we’ve always done it”. There are great leaders who are capable of running great schools in our midst. Just because their pathway to education was different than what we have all grown accustomed to, does not mean they will not be effective. I believe the Charter School Administrator bill, in conjunction with a local charter school board of directors, will be rigorous in selecting leaders who will successfully lead Idaho charter schools.
Written by Monica White, administrator at Elevate Academy, Caldwell.