Reflection Essay on Thurgood Marshall

9-494-070 NOVEMBER 18, 1993 JOHN J. GABARRO Thurgood Marshall Excessive College On July 15, David Kane grew to become principal of the Thurgood Marshall Excessive College, the latest of the six excessive colleges in Nice Falls, Illinois. The varsity had opened two years earlier amid nationwide popularity of being an necessary breakthrough in inner-city training. Amongst its many options, the college was specifically designed and constructed for the “home system” idea.
Marshall Excessive’s group was damaged down into 4 “homes,” every of which contained 300 college students, a school of 18, and a housemaster. The Marshall complicated was designed so that every home was in a separate constructing linked to the “core services”1 and different homes by an enclosed exterior passageway. Every home had its personal entrance, lecture rooms, bathrooms, convention rooms, and housemaster’s workplace. (See Exhibit 1 for the format. ) Kane knew that Marshall Excessive was not supposed to be an peculiar faculty.
It had been hailed as a serious innovation in inner-city training, and a Chicago tv station had made a documentary about it shortly after it opened. Marshall Excessive had opened with a fastidiously chosen employees of lecturers; many have been chosen from different Nice Falls colleges and at the least a dozen had been particularly recruited from out-of-state. Certainly, Kane knew his school included graduates from a number of East and West Coast colleges corresponding to Stanford, Yale, and Princeton, in addition to a number of of the perfect midwestern colleges.

Even the racial combine of scholars had been fastidiously balanced in order that African-Individuals, whites, and Hipics every constituted a 3rd of the coed physique (though Kane additionally knew— maybe higher than its planners—that Marshall’s college students have been drawn from the hardest and poorest areas of the town). The constructing itself was additionally extensively admired for its magnificence and performance and had gained a number of nationwide architectural awards. Regardless of these cautious and elaborate preparations, Marshall Excessive College was in erious problem by the point Kane grew to become its principal. It had been wracked by violence the previous 12 months, having been closed twice by pupil disturbances and as soon as by a instructor walkout. It was additionally extensively reported (though Kane didn’t know for positive) that achievement scores of its ninth and tenth grade college students had truly declined over the past two years, whereas no important enchancment may very well be discovered within the scores of eleventh and twelfth graders’ checks. Marshall Excessive College had fallen far wanting its planners’ hopes and expectations. The core services included the cafeteria, nurses’ room, steerage workplaces, the boys’ and women’ gyms, the workplaces, the outlets, and auditorium. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professor John J. Gabarro ready this case. HBS circumstances are developed solely as the idea for sophistication dialogue. This case is a revised and redisguided model of “Robert F. Kennedy Excessive College,” HBS No. 474-183. Instances are usually not supposed to function endorsements, sources of major information, or illustrations of efficient or ineffective administration.
Copyright © 1993 President and Fellows of Harvard Faculty. To order copies or request permission to breed supplies, name 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Enterprise College Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www. hbsp. harvard. edu/educators. This publication is probably not digitized, photocopied, or in any other case reproduced, posted, or transmitted, with out the permission of Harvard Enterprise College. 494-070 Thurgood Marshall Excessive College David Kane An athletic man who stood over 6 ft four inches tall, David Kane was born and raised in Nice Falls, Illinois.
His father was one of many metropolis’s first African-American principals; thus Kane was not solely aware of the town however with its faculty system as nicely. After serving a tour of obligation with the U. S. Marine Corps in Viet Nam, Kane determined to comply with his father’s footsteps and went to Nice Falls State Faculty, from which he obtained each his bachelor’s and grasp’s levels in training. Kane was licensed in elementary and secondary faculty administration, English, and bodily training.
Kane had taught English and had coached in a predominantly African-American center faculty till ten years in the past, when he was requested to grow to be the college’s assistant principal. After 5 years in that submit, he was requested to take over the George La Rochelle Center College, which had 900 pupils and was reputed to be essentially the most troublesome center faculty within the metropolis. Whereas at La Rochelle, Kane gained a citywide popularity for being a gifted and well-liked administrator and was credited with turning La Rochelle round from the worst center faculty within the system to probably the greatest.
He had been very efficient in constructing neighborhood help, recruiting new school, and elevating educational requirements. He was additionally credited with turning out basketball and baseball groups that gained state and county center faculty championships. Kane knew that he had been chosen for the Marshall job over a number of extra senior candidates due to his capability to deal with powerful conditions. The superintendent had made that clear when he supplied Kane the job. The superintendent had additionally informed him that he would want each little bit of ability and luck he might muster. Kane knew of the formidable credentials of Dr.
Louis Parker, his predecessor at Marshall Excessive. Parker, a white, had been the superintendent of a small, native township faculty system earlier than changing into Marshall’s first principal. He had additionally written a guide on the home system idea in addition to a second guide on inner-city training. Parker had earned a Ph. D. from the College of Chicago and a divinity diploma from Harvard. But regardless of his spectacular background and apparent capability, Parker had resigned in disillusionment and was described by many as a damaged man. In reality, Kane remembered seeing the bodily change that Parker had undergone over that two-year interval.
Parker’s look had grow to be progressively extra fatigued and strained till he developed what seemed to be everlasting darkish rings below his eyes and a perpetual stoop. Kane remembered how he had pitied him and puzzled how Parker might discover the job definitely worth the apparent private toll it was taking. Historical past of the College The First 12 months The varsity’s troubles grew to become obvious within the faculty’s first 12 months. Rumors of conflicts between the housemasters and the six topic space division heads have been widespread by the center of the primary 12 months.
The conflicts stemmed from variations in interpretations of curriculum coverage on required studying and course content material. In response to those conflicts, Parker had instituted a “free market” coverage by which division heads have been to encourage housemasters to supply sure programs, whereas housemasters have been to persuade division heads to assign sure lecturers to their homes. Many observers within the faculty system felt that this coverage exacerbated the conflicts. So as to add to this local weather of battle, a instructor was assaulted in her classroom in February.
The beating frightened lots of the employees, significantly a few of the older lecturers. A delegation of eight lecturers requested Parker to rent safety guards per week after the assault. The request precipitated a debate inside the school in regards to the desirability of getting guards within the faculty. One group felt that the guards would instill a way of security inside the faculty and thus promote a greater studying local weather, whereas the opposite group felt that the presence of guards can be repressive and would 2 Thurgood Marshall Excessive College 494-070 estroy the sense of neighborhood and belief that was growing. Parker refused the request for safety guards as a result of he believed that symbolically they’d symbolize every little thing the college was attempting to vary. In April a instructor was robbed and crushed in her classroom after faculty hours and the controversy was rekindled, besides this time a gaggle of Latino dad and mom threatened to boycott the college until higher safety measures have been instituted. Once more Parker refused the request for safety guards. The Second 12 months The varsity’s second 12 months was much more troubled than the primary.
Due to price range cutbacks ordered through the earlier summer time, Parker was not in a position to change eight lecturers who resigned through the summer time; it was now not potential, subsequently, for every home to employees all of its programs with its personal school. Parker subsequently instituted a “versatile staffing” coverage whereby some lecturers have been requested to show college students from exterior their assigned home; thus, college students within the eleventh and twelfth grades have been in a position to take some elective and required programs in different homes. Throughout this era, Wesley Chase, one of many housemasters, publicly attacked the transfer as a step towards destroying the home system.
In a letter to the Nice Falls Instances, he accused the Board of Training of subverting the home idea by chopping again funds. The controversy over the versatile staffing coverage was heightened when two of the opposite housemasters joined a gaggle of school and division chairpersons in opposing Wesley Chase’s criticisms. This group argued that the person home colleges of 15 to 18 lecturers might by no means supply their college students the breadth of programs schoolwide school of 65 to 70 lecturers might supply and that interhouse cross registration ought to be inspired for that motive.
Additional enlargement of a cross-registration or versatile staffing coverage was halted, nevertheless, due to difficulties encountered within the scheduling of lessons within the fall. A number of errors have been discovered within the grasp schedule that had been deliberate through the previous summer time. Numerous schedule difficulties continued till November, when the vice principal chargeable for the scheduling of lessons resigned. Burt Wilkins, a Marshall housemaster who had previously deliberate the schedule at Central Excessive, assumed the scheduling perform along with his duties as housemaster.
The scheduling exercise took most of Wilkins’s time till February. Safety once more grew to become a problem when three sophomores have been assaulted as a result of they refused to surrender their lunch cash throughout a “shakedown. ” It was believed that the assailants have been from exterior the college. A number of lecturers approached Parker and requested him to request safety guards from the Board of Training. Once more he declined, however he requested Invoice Jones, a vice principal on the faculty, to safe all doorways besides the entrances to every of the 4 homes, the primary entrance to the college, and the cafeteria.
This transfer appeared to scale back the variety of outsiders within the faculty. In Could a disturbance occurred within the cafeteria that grew out of a struggle between two boys. The struggle unfold and resulted in appreciable injury to the college, together with the breaking of classroom home windows and desks. The disturbance was extreme sufficient for Parker to shut the college. Quite a lot of lecturers and college students reported that outsiders have been concerned within the struggle and in damaging the lecture rooms. A number of college students have been taken to the hospital for minor accidents however all have been launched.
An analogous disturbance occurred two weeks later and once more the college was closed. The Board of Training then ordered a brief element of municipal police to the college regardless of Parker’s recommendation on the contrary. In protest of the task of the police element, 30 of Marshall’s 68 lecturers staged a walkout that was joined by over half the coed physique. The police element was faraway from the college, and an settlement was labored out by an advert hoc subcommittee of the Board of Training with casual representatives of lecturers who have been for and in opposition to assigning a police element.
The compromise known as for the short-term stationing of a police cruiser close to the college. three 494-070 Thurgood Marshall Excessive College Kane’s First Week at Marshall Excessive David Kane arrived at Marshall Excessive on Monday, July 15, and spent most of his first week interviewing individually the college’s key directors. (See Exhibit 2 for a list of Marshall’s administrative employees as of July 15. ) He additionally had a gathering with all of his directors and division heads on Friday of that week. Kane’s function in these conferences was to familiarize himself with the college, its issues, and its key folks.
His first interview was with William Jones, who was one among his vice principals. Jones, an AfricanAmerican, had beforehand labored as a counselor after which as vice principal of a center faculty. Kane knew that Jones had a popularity as a tricky disciplinarian and was disliked by lots of the youthful school and college students. Nevertheless, Kane had additionally heard from a number of lecturers, whose judgment he revered, that Jones had been instrumental in preserving the college from blowing aside within the previous 12 months.
It grew to become clear early within the interview that Jones felt extra stringent steps have been wanted to maintain outsiders from getting into the constructing. Particularly, Jones urged Kane to contemplate locking the entire faculty’s 30 doorways, apart from the entrance entrance, so that everybody would enter and depart by means of one set of doorways. Jones additionally informed him that lots of the lecturers and pupils had grow to be afraid of being within the constructing and that “no studying will ever start to happen till we make it so folks do not should be afraid anymore. On the finish of the interview, Jones informed Kane that he had been approached by a close-by faculty system to grow to be its director of counseling however that he had not but made up his thoughts. He mentioned he was dedicated to Marshall Excessive and didn’t need to depart, however that his choice relied on how hopeful he felt about its future. As Kane talked with others, he found that the “door query” was one among appreciable controversy inside the school and that each professional and con emotions ran excessive. Two of the housemasters particularly—Wesley Chase, an African-American, and Frank Kubiak, a white—have been strongly in opposition to closing the home entrances.
The 2 males felt that such an motion would symbolically scale back home autonomy and the sensation of distinctness that was a central facet of the home identification and pleasure they have been attempting to construct. Wesley Chase, grasp of C Home, was significantly vehement on this subject in addition to on the query of whether or not college students of 1 home ought to be allowed to take lessons in one other home. Chase mentioned that the versatile staffing program launched the previous 12 months had practically destroyed the home idea and that he, Chase, would resign if Kane supposed to increase the crosshouse enrollment of scholars.
Chase additionally complained about what he described as interference from division heads in his lecturers’ autonomy. Chase seemed to be an impressive housemaster from every little thing Kane had heard about him— even from his many enemies. Chase had an abrasive persona however appeared to have the very best working home within the faculty and was nicely appreciated by most of his lecturers and pupils. His program additionally seemed to be essentially the most progressive of all. Nevertheless, it was additionally this system that was most continuously attacked by the division heads for missing substance and for not protecting the necessities outlined within the system’s curriculum information.
Even with these criticisms, Kane imagined how a lot simpler it might be if he had 4 housemasters like Wesley Chase. Throughout his interviews with the opposite three housemasters, Kane found that all of them felt infringed upon by the division heads, however that solely Chase and Kubiak have been strongly in opposition to locking the doorways and that the opposite two housemasters actively favored crosshouse course four Thurgood Marshall Excessive College 494-070 enrollments. Kane’s fourth interview was with the housemaster of A Home, Burtram Wilkins, an African-American in his late forties who had been an assistant to the principal of Central Excessive earlier than coming to Marshall.
Wilkins spent a lot of the interview discussing how schedule pressures may very well be relieved. Wilkins was at present concerned in growing the schedule for the brand new faculty 12 months till an administrative vice principal was appointed. (Marshall Excessive had allocations for 2 vice principals and two assistants along with the housemasters. See Exhibit 2. ) Two items of data regarding Wilkins got here to Kane’s consideration throughout his first week there. The primary was that a number of lecturers have been circulating a letter requesting Wilkins’s elimination as a housemaster as a result of they felt he couldn’t management the home or direct the college.
This stunned Kane, since he had heard that Wilkins was extensively revered inside the school and that he had earned a popularity for supporting excessive educational requirements and dealing tirelessly with new lecturers. Nevertheless, as Kane inquired additional he found that though Wilkins was significantly appreciated inside the school, he was typically acknowledged as a poor housemaster. The second piece of data involved how Wilkins’s home in contrast with the others. Though college students had been randomly assigned to every home, Wilkins’s home had the most important absence fee and the best variety of disciplinary issues.
Jones had additionally informed him that Wilkins’s drop-out fee for the earlier 12 months was 3 times that of every other home. Whereas Kane was within the means of interviewing his employees, he was known as on by Francis Harvey, chairman of the social research division. Harvey was a local of Nice Falls, white, and in his late forties. He was scheduled for an appointment the next week however requested Kane if he might see him instantly. Harvey had heard letter was being circulated asking for Wilkins’s elimination and subsequently needed to current the opposite aspect of the argument.
He grew to become very emotional through the dialog and mentioned that Wilkins was considered by lots of the lecturers and division chairpersons as the one housemaster who was making an effort to take care of excessive educational requirements; his switch can be seen as a blow to these involved with high quality training. Harvey additionally described intimately Wilkins’s devotion and dedication to the college and the truth that Wilkins was the one administrator with the flexibility to straighten out the schedule, which he had accomplished along with all his different duties.
Harvey departed by saying that if Wilkins was transferred, then he, Harvey, would write a letter to the regional accreditation council telling them how requirements had sunk at Marshall. Kane assured him that it might not be essential to take such a drastic measure and cooperative decision can be discovered. Kane was conscious of the accreditation overview that Marshall Excessive confronted the next April, and he didn’t want to complicate the method unnecessarily. Inside 20 minutes of Harvey’s departure, Kane was visited by a younger white instructor named Tim O’Reilly, who mentioned he had heard that Harvey had are available to see Kane.
O’Reilly mentioned he was one of many lecturers who organized the motion to eliminate Wilkins. O’Reilly mentioned he appreciated and admired Wilkins due to his devotion to the college, however that Wilkins’s home was so disorganized and self-discipline so dangerous that it was practically unimaginable to do any good educating. O’Reilly mentioned that it was “a disgrace to lock the college when stronger management is all that is wanted. ” Kane’s impressions of his directors typically matched what he had heard about them earlier than arriving on the faculty. Wesley Chase gave the impression to be a really vibrant, progressive, and charismatic chief whose mere presence generated pleasure.
Frank Kubiak gave the impression to be a extremely competent although not very imaginative administrator, who had earned the respect of his school and college students. John Di Napoli, a housemaster who was solely 26, appeared very vibrant and earnest however unseasoned and uncertain of himself. Kane felt that with slightly steerage and coaching, Di Napoli may need the best promise of all. For the time being, nevertheless, Di Napoli seemed to be unsure, and tentative, and Kane suspected that Di Napoli had problem merely coping. Wilkins gave the impression to be a honest and devoted one that had a very good thoughts for administrative particulars however an incapacity for management. 494-070 Thurgood Marshall Excessive College Kane knew that he would have the chance to make a number of administrative appointments due to three vacancies that existed. Certainly, ought to Jones resign as vice principal, Kane might fill each vice principal positions. He knew that his suggestions for these positions would carry quite a lot of weight with the central workplace. The one constraint Kane felt in making these appointments was the necessity to obtain some form of racial steadiness among the many Marshall administrative group.
Together with his personal appointment as principal, the variety of African-American directors exceeded the variety of white directors by a ratio of two to 1, and Marshall didn’t have a single Latino administrator, though a 3rd of its pupils had Hipic surnames. The Friday Afternoon Assembly In distinction to the person interviews, Kane was stunned to seek out how quiet and conflict-free these similar folks have been within the employees assembly he known as on Friday. He was amazed at how sluggish, well mannered, and pleasant the dialog seemed to be amongst individuals who had so vehemently expressed unfavourable opinions of one another in personal.
After about 45 minutes of debate in regards to the upcoming accreditation overview, Kane broached the topic of housemaster-department head relations. The following silence was lastly damaged by a joke Kubiak made in regards to the uselessness of discussing that matter. Kane probed additional by asking whether or not everybody was proud of the present practices. Harvey steered this was a subject that is perhaps higher mentioned in a smaller group. Everybody within the room appeared to agree with Harvey apart from Betsy Drobna, a white lady in her late twenties who chaired the English division.
She mentioned that one of many issues with the college was that nobody was keen to sort out powerful points till they exploded. She mentioned that relations between housemasters and division heads have been horrible, and it made her job very troublesome. She then attacked Wesley Chase for impeding her analysis of a nontenured instructor in Chase’s home. The 2 argued for a number of minutes in regards to the instructor and the standard of the experimental sophomore English course that the instructor was giving. Lastly, Chase, who by now was fairly indignant, coldly warned Drobna that he would break her neck if she stepped into his home once more.
Kane intervened in an try to chill each their tempers and the assembly ended shortly thereafter. The next morning, Drobna known as Kane at house and informed him that until Wesley Chase publicly apologized for his menace, she would file a grievance with the lecturers’ union and take it to court docket if obligatory. Kane assured Drobna that he would speak with Chase on Monday. Kane then known as Eleanor Dodd, one of many faculty’s math lecturers whom he had recognized nicely for a few years and whose judgment he revered. Dodd was an in depth pal of each Chase and Drobna and was additionally vp of the town’s lecturers’ union.
He discovered from her that each had been long-term adversaries however that she felt each have been wonderful professionals. She additionally reported that Drobna can be a formidable opponent and will muster appreciable help among the many school. Dodd, who herself was African-American, feared confrontation between Drobna and Chase would possibly create tensions alongside race traces inside the faculty though each Drobna and Chase have been typically fairly well-liked with college students of all races. Dodd strongly urged Kane to not let the matter drop. She additionally informed him she had overheard Invoice Jones, the vice principal, say at a celebration the previous evening hat he felt Kane did not have both the abdomen or the forcefulness essential to survive at Marshall. Jones additional said that the one motive he was staying was that he didn’t anticipate Kane to final the 12 months. Ought to that show to be the case, Jones felt that he can be appointed principal. 6 Exhibit 1 494-070 -7- 494-070 Exhibit 2 Illinois Thurgood Marshall Excessive College Administrative Group, Thurgood Marshall Excessive College, Nice Falls, Principal David Kane, 42 (African-American) B. Ed. , M. Ed. , Nice Falls State Faculty Vice Principal William Jones, 44 (African-American) B. Ed. , Breakwater State Faculty M. Ed. counseling), Nice Falls State Faculty Vice Principal Housemaster, A Home Burtram Wilkins, 47 (African-American) B. S. , M. Ed. , College of Illinois Housemaster, B Home Frank Kubiak, 36 (white) B. S. , College of Illinois M. Ed. , Nice Falls State Faculty Housemaster, C Home Wesley Chase, 32 (African-American) A. B. , Wesleyan College B. F. A. , Pratt Institute M. A. T. , Yale College Housemaster, D Home John Di Napoli, 26 (Italian-American) B. Ed. , Nice Falls State Faculty M. Ed. , Ohio State College Assistant to the Principal Vacant Assistant to the Principal (for neighborhood affairs) eight Vacant Vacant

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