Saturday, February 13, 2016

Seems my Agora Cyber post stirred some emotions

Part 2 of my post this morning was related to the recent layoffs at Agora Cyber Charter School. As you can imagine it stirred some emotions, and I have already received numerous emails related to it.

One was from an Agora leader (I will keep his/her name removed in order to not make it about him/her) who emailed me with the following:

"You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. You don't understand the financial constraints we are placed under with Gov Wolf's refusal to work on a budget that fully funds cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania. And, the budget impasse has led us to the point where our hand was forced to lay off people -- people we care deeply about. We had to do this now."

I understand this person's frustration with me. And, I understand the excuse being provided that it is the Governor's fault. However, what is not mentioned in the email is any responsibility being taken on the part of the leaders for all the decisions made over the past 12-18 months that led up to this point in time.

Decisions related to hiring practices, curriculum-design and build decisions, money spent with the belief the student population would remain what it was prior to leaving K12, marketing money spent (and still being spent) recruiting wrong students in order to fill seats, in-year departures of leaders, lack of investment in teachers and their development, and so forth.

Sure, the budget impasse may have been the catalyst to make NOW the time to enact these layoffs, however, the causes began long before.

Moving forward, as long as Agora leaders continue to believe it is the Governor's fault, then no real improvements will be made.

One cannot make real change when one does not know where real change occurs.

Now is the time for radical re-thinking of what Agora should be and can be. Further tweaking and adjustments will only lead to more of the same -- even when the budget is no longer the issue.

Use this negative and turn it into a positive -- a long-term positive for families, students, teachers, and staff. Quit finding places to blame and turn attention to building a cyber school that serves.

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