SHARED LEADERSHIP IN ACTION UPDATE

Montana Board of Regents – September 22, 2005

 

Mister Chairman, for the record my name is Alan Peura, associate fiscal analyst for the legislative fiscal division.

 

I wanted to take a moment to offer this update from the legislative working group for the Quality Schools Interim Committee...my update is titled "shared leadership in action."

 

While a lynch pin of "Shared Leadership" is developing a working partnership between the University System and the Legislature to promote economic development in Montana,  some involved at the early stages of "Shared Leadership" heard Regents Mercer and Semmens speak of their hope that "Shared Leadership" could improve the lines of communication between the University System and the Legislature and create recognition that there are vast untapped opportunities for the University System to use its expertise and resources to assist the Legislature and state agencies in solving problems facing the state. 

 

At the last meeting, I informed you that the Legislature had acted on this vision by selecting among its consultant team 4 members of the University faculty to assist the Quality Schools Interim Committee by assessing the needs of MT schools and analyzing the costs of those needs based on the Legislature's definition of "quality" in SB 152.  I'm here to report that part 1 of this vision------improving the lines of communications between the University and the Legislature-----has been achieved, as legislators and legislative staff have been working hand in hand with Drs. Merle Farrier and Don Robson from UM as they assessed the educational needs of Montana's schools and analyzed the costs necessary to provide quality public elementary and secondary schools as defined by the Legislature and with Drs. Doug Young and Christiana Stoddard as they gathered baseline data on the nature and extent of the teacher recruitment and retention problem in Montana.

 

As this study winds down, I want to update you on a different aspect of "SL".  Early on a prevalent negative comment was the concern that "Shared Leadership" would somehow divert the U system from its primary mission --- educating and preparing students for the "real world".  

 

I'm here to report to you that "Shared Leadership" in action has a direct link to your primary mission.  In working on the school needs assessment and cost analyses, Drs. Farrier and Robson have been assisted by two UM students:

 

Craig McNinch, a senior in computer science, was responsible for all the design and programming for the needs assessment surveys that went out to EVERY Montana district and for working with school district personnel in helping them with their technological problems in downloading and filling out the surveys.  In this task, Craig was NOT the Maytag repairman...no, Craig has been very, very busy!

 

Jilyn Oliveria, a first semester doctorate student in educational leadership, was responsible for validating data from the school districts' needs assessments, ensuring that each district received only 1 assessment , and provided help to any district requesting assistance in completing the assessment survey.  Jilyn also worked with OPI in validating database information when conflicts arose in the data and is in the process of editing the consultants' final reports and presentations. 

 

Similarly Drs. Young and Stoddard,  who provided the Interim Committee with data on the nature and extent of Montana's problems with teacher recruitment and retention, was assisted by two graduate students in MSU's Masters in Applied Economics Program.    Katie Genadek and Brandon Scarborough assisted Drs. Young and Stoddard by:

            (1)  assembling, merging, checking, and analyzing complex data sets from diverse sources, including the federal government, three Montana state agencies, the MEA-MFT, the Montana Small School Alliance, and the UM-Dillon; and

            (2)  surveying institutions in Montana and neighboring states on teacher placement.  Their research and analyses is critical to addressing the issue of teacher recruitment and retention in Montana.

 

While most of us see our graduate work collecting dust in some University library or vault, these students will see their work praised and criticized by Legislators and the education community and quoted and misquoted by the press.  In other words.....welcome to the "real world". 

 

In the end, your students will see the fruits of their hard work not relegated to some lonely library shelf, but rather will watch their work in action, scrutinized and debated by the Legislature, and possibly the courts as it is used  in formulating one of Montana's most important public policy decisions....the funding of  Montana's "basic system of free quality public elementary and secondary schools".

 

Mister Chairman...that is my update on Shared Leadership in action.

 

Respectfully submitted:

 

Alan Peura

Associate Fiscal Analyst

Montana Legislative Fiscal Division