Last week I reported that San Diego Unified is planning to reverse changes to its central offices that were made by former Superintendent Terry Grier, returning to a system that looks a lot like what it had before.

Now there’s another sign the era of Grier is over in San Diego Unified: The school district will no longer be using a controversial interview tool that Grier introduced to choose principals.

Grier had touted the Haberman interviews as a way to measure would-be-principals’ values. We wrote about it nearly two years ago when Grier introduced it:

The interview is modeled on the teachings of University of Wisconsin Milwaukee professor Martin Haberman, who studies disadvantaged students and the educators who help them best. Principals applying for new jobs were interviewed as well. San Diego Unified signed a $23,000 contract with the Haberman Educational Foundation to train staffers in the interview process, which includes problem-solving scenarios and is meant to reveal the applicants’ core values. Two people ask open-ended questions during a tape-recorded interview and score the answers.

No more. The Haberman interviews will no longer be used in San Diego Unified. Jeannie Steeg, executive director of the union that represents principals and other school managers, said her group lodged complaints about the interview method and how it was being used to judge principals.

“Supposedly it looks for one’s values,” Steeg said. “But to me, the interview for an administrative position has to really focus in on the position and the responsibility and duties. You can value certain things, but if you can’t demonstrate that value, you could score high but may not know a darn thing about running a school.”


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