The Danger of Labeling

Paul Houston did a good job of reminding us that we should “be careful how we label others” in his Executive Perspective column (“The Evil I,” June 2002).

We have been dealing with a mad baseball mom who has referred to our head baseball coach as “evil.” I would refer her to the book Hope for Healing Human Evil, but I don’t think she is ready for the bookstore.


Superintendent, Kirksville R-III, Kirksville, Mo.

In frustrating times it is too easy to label people and pigeonhole them for their views. Paul Houston’s column is a reminder of the danger of such thoughts.

Even though I am not a superintendent, I found his column very thought provoking. I work in government relations with both Congress and the state legislature. In the political world it is often easy to fall into this dangerous habit. Thanks to Houston for the note of caution.


Director, Governmental Relations, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio

I want to thank Paul Houston for his exceptional writing skills as most recently exemplified by his June column.

He does a great service for all superintendents who take the time to read his thought-provoking, monthly pieces. Although I am retired, I continue to find great insight in his writings–enough, I might say, to pass them on to my son who is entering school administration this fall as a high school vice principal. He aspires to the superintendent’s chair and values Houston’s wisdom and good sense a great deal.


Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.

Negotiating Advice

Roger Prosise contributed a great article about contract negotiations (“The Collective Bargaining Tightrope”) in the June issue.

As our district was in the midst of the negotiations process and the school board had never negotiated a multiyear agreement, the topic was timely and I’ve sent it to all of my board members. While our process is different, the issues are the same so his perspective was most helpful.


Superintendent, Glenview School District 34, Glenview, Ill.

Peck’s Dream

Carol Peck’s Focus article (“Homegrown Scholarships for Turning Dreams Into Reality,” June 2002) was well timed as I just spoke to my superintendent last week about doing something similar in our school system.

The possibilities are limitless for teachers and children. It is truly a shame that there is not more money to help students further their education.


Principal, Robincon Elementary School, Gastonia, N.C.

Knowing Oneself

I agree wholeheartedly with the insights Pamela Harrison espoused in her piece (“To Get This Job, You Need To Know Someone”) in the May issue.

I will use the questions she included to revise my personal mission statement/vision/goals and prepare for the move into the superintendency.


Assistant Superintendent, Springfield Local Schools Holland, Ohio

Freshman Schools

I found myself questioning many of the findings contained in Jennifer Reents’ article (“Isolating 9th Graders,” March 2002).

As a teacher at a freshman school near Cincinnati, Ohio, I can attest that grades and attendance have improved but not because it is a school for only 9th graders, but rather because we are operating a school with reduced class sizes. I didn’t see any information on how students attending these schools do in the 1 10th grade and beyond.

I also have doubts that 9th grade schools contribute much to students’ self-esteem and maturity. In a freshman school, students are given a false sense of security and an extra year of coddling before being thrown to the lions in 10″ grade. Does this extra year of comfort prepare them for the first year of college or a job?


Teacher, Liberty Freshman School, Cincinnati, Ohio

Journalists’ Delight

How encouraging to see an administrator view scholastic media as the wonderful learning experience it can be. In her column (“Freeing the Student Press for Their Good and Ours,” April 2002), Kathleen Klink, superintendent in Lakota, Ohio, was right on when she cited problem solving, writing skills, creative thinking, responsibility and democratic values as the core of uncensored student journalism.

Klink also deserves praise for hiring two top-notch journalism teachers in her district, trained to teach students the law and ethics plus necessary reporting, writing, editing and design skills. It is no coincidence the two student newsmagazines in Klink’s district are consistent top award winners.


Immediate Past President, Journalism Education Association, Kent, Ohio

Kathleen Klink did a wonderful job of showing why it’s important for administrators to look beyond their knee-jerk reaction to critical or controversial student journalism, and instead to see its broader educational value-even if it makes them uncomfortable.


Executive Director, Youth Communication, New York, N.Y.

COPYRIGHT 2002 American Association of School Administrators

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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