Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Profiles In Agit-Prop: The Linda Sink Story, Volume II

Another day, another Linda Sink story in the Journal. A commenter has beaten me to it this morning, but Zsombor Peter has a profile of "Interim" Superintendent Sink that is supposed to be one of those "on the one hand everybody thinks she is great, but on the other hand some people think she isn't great" stories that ends up being a one-sided early Valentine Day card.

Lest (and yeah, I can't get enough of words like "lest") anybody think me completely negative toward Ms. Sink and the idea of her taking over APS "permanently", I'm still on the fence on that one. I also realize that whatever you do you're going to piss off somebody, so reading that some parents didn't like Sink's style at Albuquerque High has no impact on me. It would be scarier if she didn't piss anybody off while Principal, as that would be a sure sign she didn't do anything.

Still, the Journal is good for an eye roll or two, especially the "praising with faint criticism" angle. Example:

But Sink's time at Albuquerque High was not without challenges. In 2004, some parents spoke out against her toughened tardiness policies, calling them too harsh.

Well Sink has definitely lost the powerful Pro-Tardy lobby now...

The upshot of these stories is that they conform to the thinking that it's Sink's job to lose and she's working the media to make sure that doesn't happen. They also tend to confirm the, possibly erroneous, view of locals that the media here needs to work on its
"on the one hand everybody thinks she is great, but on the other hand some people think she isn't great" story prowess.

Or maybe Linda Sink is just great and we need to throw in the hiring process towel and just appoint her to the position for life. I really don't know. On the off chance there are other qualified candidates for the job, I'd sure like to see a series of similar profiles published in the Journal about them when the time comes. Maybe with a smidge better balance of the "one hand/other hand" scales.

4 comments:

Kelsey Atherton said...

As an AHS student for four years with Linda Sink as my principle, only a few points strike me as remarkable
1. She completely neutered my underground newspaper, giving us the right to distribute in one location so long as we didn't promote drugs of print libel. Not that we were planning on it, but rights to an official stand remove a lot of the potency of being "underground". This doesn't have any relevance really to her being superintendent, excepting perhaps a willingness to works with opposition in such a way that will render opposition neuter.

2. This one is more important as policy is concerned. She proudly proclaimed the process of eliminating enriched and gifted programs from Albuquerque High, arguing that a mixed-classroom would allow the advanced opportunity to help those behind, which is a noble goal. I don't like the plan, especially not in the removal of gifted programs, as having the meaningful class, or the teacher who understood different learning styles, often made the day worthwhile. The mixed-class seems to be more designed at reducing the gap between over and under achievers by making the over achievers less successful more than it helps by boosting the performance of under-achievers (poor terminology, but its functional enough for now). I am no fan of an APS without gifted programs, and that is the main aspect of Linda Sink that worries me. Perhaps there is the fear that she would actually be able to do it, and not just espouse it, that worries me as well.

//walk through the bitter, locker-lined halls of the past

Hunter said...

(Note to Kelsey, it's principal.)

When the Board of Ed appointed a known cadidate as "interim", it caste a cloud over the entire selection process. How many otherwise qualified candidates either failed to apply or withdrew their names rather than waste time in what could be reasonably perceived as a pre-determined outcome? The Board did a disservice to the public and Ms. Sink. Should she be selected, we will never know if she was truly the best qualified.

Nora said...

x2 on Kelsey's comments, though I wasn't involved in the underground newspaper ordeal.

No one at Albuquerque High really seemed to like Ms. Sink when she was there. I could be wrong about this, but the general impression that I got about her was that she put a lot more focus on all of the aspects of teaching that are completely unimportant to the students-- not how well teachers taught or what the kids got out of the class, but how much they got their grades in on time. This might not have been her specifically and was just the general treatment of teachers from the greater behemoth that was the "administration of AHS", which is a large group of people that is represented by Ms. Sink even when their actions aren't hers.

Elimination of enriched programs definitely negatively effected (affected? do I get to blame AHS for not knowing the difference?) my education. I was not in enriched-- though I probably would have gone into enriched math rather than switching from honors to regular-ed, which involved (I am not making this up) a lot of coloring-- but when enriched classes were eliminated, a lot of those students got stuck in honors classes, and the curriculum had to be lowered so that they could keep up.

Also, weren't all of the "academies" a part of Ms. Sink's reign of AHS? I'm not sure if they were her idea or not, but they were a joke. They didn't prepare anyone for anything except extra field trips and getting pulled out of class.

Like Kelsey, I could just be bitter, but I certainly am not expecting Ms. Sink to make any dramatic changes to "fix" APS, since I certainly didn't notice anything sweeping and revolutionary while spending four years trapped helplessly inside the windowless dungeon that was Albuquerque High.

Ms. Clough said...

Now we are in November of 2009. Even though we have Winston "Windbag" Brooks as our overlord Linda Sink is still pissing all over us. Sorry for the crude metaphor, it just seemed too appropriate to pass up. She is the Cheney to Brooks' W, using the "weapons of mass destruction" argument for sweeping changes that are not based in anything other than the agenda of the power hungry rulers of one of the largest school districts in the country.
I wonder if we issued torches and pitchforks to parents and teachers would they be used, is it finally time to storm the ivory tower on Uptown Blvd...