Friday, June 26, 2009
Is It Time to Retire?
Is five years enough?
Is it time for Dr. Lewis to "move on" with his life?
A cursory look at the past five years shows ITBS scores across the board not discernibly different. No significant gain, nor loss. CRCT scores in Reading and Language Arts have increased impressively, with major decreases in Science, Math and Social Studies (most certainly attributable to major curriculum changes.)
Nearly 1,600 more students are taking AP tests, however the percentage of those students scoring a 3 or more has decreased nearly 6% and have plummeted in some high schools. Most puzzling is the extremely poor performance at high schools that have screamed for more and more AP classes -- for instance, Avondale 2.1% 3+ with 144 test takers, McNair Sr. 1.3% 3+ with 156 test takers. As a comparison, Lakeside had 45.1% 3+ with 811 test takers. Is the quality of the AP teaching staff equitable? Why aren't these students getting more out of the AP opportunity? Why add more AP classes until scores improve?
Dr. Lewis did have the courage to consolidate some schools and move some attendance lines. But, he also promised at the time that he wouldn't touch the lines again for at least eight years (answer to a question posed to him at a town meeting during first round of changes). And, here he comes again. With all the money spent of demographics, why couldn't all the consolidations have happened at the same time?
He oversaw the building of a state-of-the-art high school at Arabia Mountain. The verdict is still out, but so far the parents have not flocked to it as predicted by DCSS. Yet, he has also been on board for the Tucker project and others. Despite a very bizarre harrassing of his top construction manager, he seems to let her do her job and, thankfully, has not felt the urge to fire her.
Ethically, he has been questioned on expenses and car payments. The public still have no conclusions and he has not made any public explanation on why he should even be in this predicament.
Personally, he is a very warm and caring person. He is not a racist, and he truly does not like the north/south politics that the Board Members perpetrate. In many cases, he wants to do the right thing (end magnet busing), but does not seem to have the political muscle to get the Board to go along. He wants the best for DCSS, but does not seem capable of delivering it.
He and his staff have made some remarkably bad PR mistakes, most recently the publishing of the love fest memo. In this regard, his administration has truly "jumped the shark."
Dr. Lewis has more than 30 years with DCSS, his children are out of college, he has attained the highest office he can in DCSS. The assumption is that he should not struggle financially on the retirement payments he will receive.
A huge, warm, friendly retirement party is his for the taking. Is now the time for him to take it?