Friday, April 15, 2011

Systems Don’t Do the Work: rear echelon vs front line

'Forward, the Light Brigade!

Was there a man dismay'd?

Not tho' the soldiers knew

Someone had blunder'd
Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.
-- Tennyson
Generals don’t shoot enemy soldiers. Stock market traders don’t chop onions. School Board members don’t teach children. Logistics is not delivery.

History demonstrates that it is far from unusual for rear echelon people to foul up the front line action. The best any rear echelon person can do is to provide the wherewithal to those who are on the front lines.

On the other had, the best generals can be stymied by the mutiny or cowardice of their soldiers. The best businesses can fall to the stock market manipulations of traders.

What really fouls up a system is when rear echelon and front lines personnel serve competing interests. If superintendents pursue longevity and sinecure, whereas teachers pursue comradely relationships with their students and sinecure, then given the demands most school systems face today, trouble, if encountered, will be swept under the rug, rather than intelligently handled.

To examine these and related issues further, see ON THE VIABILITY OF A CURRICULUM LEADERSHIP ROLE 
Avoiding Confusion of Role and Function

--- EGR