Want to play the least fun game in the world?
It’s called “Principal for a Day.” I know, back when you were five, it used to sound so fun to follow the principal around, issuing commands—Extra recess for everyone! Free donuts in the cafeteria!—but thanks to years of budget cuts, the game is no longer any fun, unless you really love crying over a pile of spreadsheets.
After the passage of Prop 30, though, some people are saying the game might regain its original luster. With the Local Control Funding Formula channeling fresh funds into the district budget, maybe we won’t have to stock up on Kleenex as we plan how to keep our doors open next year.
So let’s pretend we’re the principal of All-American High, an imaginary but typical school of about 550 students—a “small learning community” formed by dividing up a large public high school in south Los Angeles. Let’s say 95 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, 65 percent are English Language Learners, 15 percent are in Special Ed and 10 percent are in foster care. The school is in a high-crime area with significant gang activity. Many of our families are seeing food stamps cut this year, which means kids sometimes come to school hungry.
Whew! It’s exhausting being a principal. But now comes the fun part.