School principals need more authority over all major school operations and budgeting, especially in the hiring and firing of all employees. They need more discretionary control over their budgets. They need more direct control over the hiring and firing (or transferring out) of any category of employee, including teachers. But first, principals should be thoroughly trained and tested before they assume the job on all relevant principal job duties. If, after the appropriate training, the bureaucracy doesn’t feel they could trust their judgement, then the testing requirements should be revised to make it harder.
Naturally, checks and balances should be instituted and adequate appeals processes (such as for firing employees) need to exist, but the principal’s decisions should be implemented by default and then reviewed in real time (or as close to it) by higher authorities and reversed if found to be faulty. If it turns out that the principal was wrong in the decision, then appropriate actions (anything from reminders to dismissal) could be taken.
This principle should apply to all job titles, whatever they may be. Reliance upon on the job training should not be the default and standard way to train a person for a high profile, high importance job, especially a job function on which many other people directly depend.
To increase quality performance of personnel who are important hubs in a very bureaucratic system, like LAUSD, a natural healthy remedy for many ills is to institute a permanent system to constantly seek to simplify all relevant procedures (without actually changing the spirit of the regulations). The frustrations of
A better alternative is for the bureaucracy to streamline its rules and regulation so that shortcuts are not needed. But the nature of some large organizations, especially LAUSD, is to not be able to even communicate internally to tell itself that something’s wrong.