Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Five Lakeview Elementary parents complain about "Leader in Me" program - Superintendent to reconsider

Editor's Note:  This article was published in 2013

Superintendent Pierce to review Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) Policies and Procedures and reconsider the Covey "Leader in Me" program. 

Five Lakeview Elementary parents spoke up at last night's school board business meeting complaining about the November 9 implementation of self-help guru Covey's "Leader in Me" program.   One parent, Allison, of a 4th grade boy objected to dividing his class into "leaders" and "non-leaders" and then being told "you are a leader if you can walk quietly in the hallway."   Allison said her child was gifted in math, art, piano and at 9 years of age could program games on his hand-held device.  "I'd say my son is as leader in technology and the arts but this isn't realized by this program."   She said a school counsellor agreed there was miscommunication with the parents about the program, that 100% of the teachers had not bought in on the program and the PTSA was neutral about it.

One parent said the program had been implemented but was never fully reviewed.   He said only the 5th grade class materials were reviewed by just one person - with no review in the other three grades. 

According to parent Molly, "the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) isn't the right decision-making process for a program of this scope."   She said the program involves 3-6 days of training per teacher, six teacher guides, 5 workbooks, 1 story book, online materials and posters.  The program costs $75,000 and is "ubiquitous," in all classes including the library, PE, and music.  "It is big" said Molly.  "It is not reviewed by any 3rd party educator specialist and no data is available that proves the Covey marketing information is true."   She complained the program takes three years to fully implement and requires promotion to other schools "that screams of pyramid marketing."

President Jackie Pendergrass asked Superintendent Pierce to respond to the Lakeview parents.   Ms. Pierce said she would review the IMC process and procedures in light of this case.  She also said the IMC would reconsider the "Leader in Me" program. 

Bob Yoder

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