Middle Management for Trenton

Justin Cohen over at The Quick and the Ed argues for a “Middle Management for America” because
any strong organization – whether it be public, private, nonprofit, or NGO – relies on a strong core of both managers and doers at every level. The work in the middle is largely unsexy,* but that “middle” does things like making sure kids are fed, deciding how to order curriculum materials, and procuring toner for classroom printers. At lot of times that “middle” becomes a sprawling, unwieldy bureaucracy, and that’s not good. The response to our current infrastructure shouldn’t just involve tweaking at the edges, but rethinking the entirety of the way services and education are delivered by our school systems. Until we transform those systems into attractive, functioning, performance organizations, we will never sustain reforms – or the most talented individuals – for the long-term.
This insight is particularly relevant to Trenton Public Schools. Yesterday beleaguered superintendent Rodney Lofton resigned. In his place will be Interim Superintendent Raymond Broach. Mr. Broach’s interim status is apparently de rigeur in Trenton; his placeholder status is shared by Interim Executive Director of Management Information Systems David Gadallah, , Interim Executive Director of Curriculum Dr. Heather Jackson, and Interim Executive Director of Special Education Patricia Emmerman,

Here’s Trenton’s organizational chart. Talk about a sprawling, unwieldy bureaucracy. Twenty-two principals, four assistant superintendents, and countless coordinators, specialists, supervisors, etc. This mess serves about 11,000 students.

How bad does it have to get there before we give up tweaking and start rethinking?