Years ago, I took my first foray into educational administration by becoming the department chair of a high school math department. The outgoing chair had been an institution, serving for over 30 years, and I had big shoes to fill. As I prepped an agenda for my first department meeting as chair, I thought of all the problems we were dealing with — the agony of state testing, kids coming to us with fewer and fewer “basic skills” each year, declining resources, increasing unfunded mandates, and more.
As it happens, the day before our meeting, I was cleaning out my predecessor’s file cabinet. I found a folder that was labeled “Department meetings, 1968-69.” I stumbled upon the agenda for my predecessor’s first department meeting. She had undoubtedly agonized over the topics that were at issue during her time, just as I had. What was shocking was that her agenda and mine were not only similar, they were almost identical. [Read more…]