Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Specialist Positions: does your school really need a kluge-maker?

Edited 071719

On being drafted into the navy, Murgatroyd gave his profession as "kluge-maker" and said he was one of the world 's best kluge-makers. Whenever he was asked what he was doing, he said he was making a kluge. Not wanting to seem ignorant, his superiors kept giving him commendations and promotions, until he reached the dizzy heights of commodore.

One day the admiral came to inspect the ship. When Murgatroyd explained he was a kluge-maker, the admiral asked Murgatroyd to show him what a kluge was. "Interesting," said the admiral, "but what does it do?" In reply, Murgatroyd dropped it over the side of the ship. As the thing sank, it went "kluge".(Pronounced kloo-guh.) -- Adapted from this Shaggy-Dog Story

A very common misconception in many organizations is that creating a special position means getting something special done: a confusion of role with function. Clearly role and function are not the same. A principal who picks up a piece of trash does not thereby become the janitor. But not everything, if anything, a principal does is some special kind of “principal-activity” that couldn’t be done by anyone else.

Public school systems tend to be top-heavy with administrator roles whose functions could often be better served by distributing them among staff closer to the arena of action. Only political taboos would be violated.

To examine these issues further, see
On the Viability of a Curriculum Leadership Role: avoiding confusion of role and function

-- EGR

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