Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Business Versus Personal

The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, posted a blog about the NBA lockout on November 18, 2011, entitled, “Business vs. Personal.” He starts with a few lines from a favorite guy movie, The Godfather:

     Hagen: Your father wouldn't want to hear this, Sonny. This is business not personal.
     Sonny: They shoot my father and it's business, my ass!
     Hagen: Even shooting your father was business not personal, Sonny!
     Sonny: Well then, business is going to have to suffer.

But later he follows a tangent that I thought was relevant to school leadership jobs, and I thought someone else, somewhere, might like to read this:

“Quick tangent: My father served as the superintendent of schools in Easton, Massachusetts, for nearly twenty years. He retired in the summer of 2009, at the age of 62, for a variety of reasons … but mainly this one. He didn’t want to stay too long. When you’re a superintendent, it only takes one renegade school committee member, one unexpected budget cut, one scandal or one tragedy to shift momentum against you. Once it happens, you can’t get it back. Adversaries smell your weakening power the same way zombies smell blood. You start getting undermined or browbeaten into ideas you never wanted to do. By the time you finally resign or get replaced, those final years become part of your legacy, the last thing anyone remembers about you (whether you like it or not). My father never wanted that to happen. He left one year too early instead of one year too late. He has no regrets.”

You can find the rest of the article, if you are interested, on

I think this is a good lesson and a reminder that school leadership is highly political. Now the politicians like to point at schools and state how awful public education is. At the same time, the popularity of schools has never dipped anywhere nearly as low as the most recently public opinion poll on Congress. And although there are people who propose bold changes to the system, we all must realize that public education in the United States is a political entity and subject to the same winds that blow through our political landscape.

No comments:

Post a Comment