Yeah, I know. It was a short hiatus. Yet the recent edition of the New York Teacher got my attention.
The New York Teacher, the publication arm of the United Federation of Teachers, used to be a fun read. Lately, it’s been moribund with stats, election endorsements, ads for condos in Florida, and pictures of union functions featuring teachers in all sorts of ghastly knit patterns.
What made the Teacher fun was its “outing” of what were considered bad or dangerous school administrators. Every week, the paper had a half-page expose on some dictatorial principal, a martinet superintendant, or the bewildered staff developer that lets things slide out of confusion and neglect. Comedy, as we all know, is tragedy that happens to someone else. so I got a particualr joy out of reading these, because
(a) for the most part, these guys deserved a comeuppance, as evidenced by their smug demeanor to UFT reporters; and
(b) these hapless administrators were not mine.
This week’s Teacher has returned to its muckraking roots with a vengeance, yet I’m getting a feeling that full access to both sides should be in order.
Page 5 of the December 16, 2010 issue features a particularly venomous screed against PS 14X principal Jason Kovac. According to the article, Kovac–a Leadership Academy graduate (a program created to make principals from outside the education world) who took over PS 14 in June 2008–is rude, arrogant, and intimidating to his teaching staff. He chastises and bullies teachers in front of students, ignores grievances and along with his co-principal Mildred Jones, has created an atmosphere so poisonous that this once thriving school dropped from an A to a C on its recent Progress Report.
He has made enemies of the school staff, parents, community board and the union. Yet his voice is noticeably silent from this article. I really hope the New York Teacher managed to contact his office to at least offer comment. Otherwise, its a severe breach of journalistic protocol.
Whatever the case, as much as I would like to see principals like this hung out to dry, my belief in honest journalism impels me to ask Mr. Kovac to offer his side of the story. Therefore, I am offering this space in Mr. D’s Neighborhood to Jason Kovac to present his side, with the following guidelines:
(1) no ad hominem attacks.
(2) share the improvements you have made since you took over in 2008; and
(3) address why your leadership style has generated so much alleged venom from staff, parents and the community, at least according to the article.
Anyone who’s familiar with the Neighborhood knows that it generally keeps to a pro-teacher stance. However, it bothers me that I hear nothing from the other side–it just against my good sense of journalistic integrity.
If Mr. Kovac can keep to the guidelines, he is more than willing to send me his side of the story so it can be printed here for the readers at the Neighborhood.
Anyone who works at PS 14, or knows anyone at PS 14, please send this link to Mr. Kovac, with my compliments. I hope to hear from him soon.