Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Program We Can't Afford: The State Funded Internship for Principals

Recently, when the Office of Financial Management released their Priorities of Government report detailing what they thought should and should not be funded in the coming legislative session, one of the lowest priority items for education spending was the state funded Education Leadership Intern Program which provides a grant for paid release days for aspiring principals and superintendents to step out of the classroom and spend time working on their internships.

To my mind, cutting the program is the right thing to do when we're looking at a $6 billion dollar budget hole. There's no evidence that I've seen that Washington State has a principals shortage; similarly, I've yet to hear of a district unable to find a superintendent. Sure, it only cost slightly more than $1.4 million dollars in the last bienium, but that's not really the point--if we're going to be looking at every program in an honest way, and if the Priorities of Government is to mean anything, then there's an awful lot more that should avoid the axe before the Internship Program.

Trick is, that hasn't stopped OSPI from posting the application for next year's grant program, even though the grant program isn't statuatory and could go away any time. The Association of Washington School Principals acknowledges this truth on their website, saying that the grant applications will be considered "null and void" should the program not be funded, but at the same time they've made it one of their legislative priorities for the coming session.

This seems like an easy cut. I kind of hate to see it go, since I got one of those grants last year, but it's the right thing to do.

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