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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Your Genie; One Wish

Your Genie; One Wish

By Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

            You’re a school principal. 
You live in Anywhere, USA, big or small. 

Pressures of school accountability are what they are.  They’re tough to deal with at times. 
You love the challenge, or at least you say you do (when at Rotary).
You have good teachers, good staff members, and parents who love their kids.  The difficulties you face are typical of the principalship: Older generations struggling to understand newer generations; ever-moving performance targets; the up’s and down’s of performance scores on annual standardized tests; and difficulties finding new teachers wanting to enter the profession who are properly licensed for your openings.
And . . . you really do have the BEST job in the world! 
Those of us who have been principals really “get this.”

            Then, while heading down your school building hall one day, you meet a Genie with a lamp. 

As you introduce yourself and ask for its hall pass, you hear from your Genie that everyone is being asked to do more with less nowadays, even Genies. 
(The Genie is able to offer you a hall pass, because . . . well, it's a Genie)
Anyway, you find-out the Genie has only one wish available to grant.  Your only option will be multiple choice, as open-ended responses are simply too costly to process. 
You are, however, welcome to provide your answer on a computer.

            Here goes:

            Would you rather have:

_____ a. One million dollars in cash, yet with a surrender of your administrator’s license.

_____ b. A contractual roll-over guaranteed with a 3% raise every year for a lifetime, no matter how well the students and school do each year.

_____ c. A love of lifelong learning guaranteed for every one of your students for the next 50 years, yet with standardized testing scores that may or may not meet state expectations.

_____ d.  Standardized testing scores for all students meeting or exceeding state performance expectations for the next 50 years.

_____ e.  Nothing really.


Dr. Ryan Donlan hopes that K-12 building principals will see themselves as critically important to the lives of students, and thus capable of making decisions that have opportunity/cost consequences.  Good decisions.  Just decisions.  Smart decisions.  What decision would you hope the principal of your child would make?  If you would like to share, please let Dr. Donlan know at


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