Tuesday, August 2, 2011
So, how's that superintendent search going?
But guess what? There is such a candidate on the table. Well, at least he was on the table. Robert Duron is currently the superintendent of the San Antonio, Texas school district. The district is host to 55,000 students in an urban setting. The district is 92.6% economically disadvantaged and at nearly 90% Hispanic and 7.4% African-American, it is a majority minority. The school system had been what is referred to in Texas as “Academically Acceptable” but fell to “Academically Unacceptable” from 2008-2010 due to a handful of students who dropped out of the system and were unable to be tracked. Even so, as you can tell by those older scores, the system made great strides in achievement from 2009 to 2010 – especially when compared to DeKalb – in spite of the label. Now, the newest test scores for 2010-2011 have been released and the district is once again “Academically Acceptable”. (That’s Texas lingo for passing AYP.)
But, Robert Duron was sabotaged by our board before his merits could even be discussed. This was not really that different from the way they sabotaged lead contender Lilly Cox by leaking details of her supposedly private contract negotiations. And then, although they did grant Brad Bryant a cursory interview after Fran Millar posed Brad's candidacy to the board, they have not yet had a public discussion, much less a vote on Brad.
What’s going on? Who exactly are they looking for? Are they furiously discussing a brand new slate of candidates? Although I would like to hope that is the case, I have serious doubts. School is about to begin across the country and it is unlikely that any superintendent worth their salt would be embarking on a job search right now. I just don’t think there is a qualified candidate on the horizon and worse, I have come to believe that Tom Bowen is living a delusion in his belief that if he acts passively-aggressively enough, Ramona Tyson will acquiesce and agree to serve another couple of years – long enough to grant Tom political cover to run for some other office without the albatross of having dragged DeKalb’s accreditation into the dirt. However, I don’t think Ms. Tyson will do him this favor. She really does not want the job long term. She will call his bluff come October 1. And then SACS will come calling October 31 asking for proof of fulfilling their requirements. Will Tom then try to back Tyson into a corner, pinning SACS' action on her unwillingness to serve as the long-term superintendent? Will he then try to "guilt trip" her into doing as he wants? I would hope that is not Tom's plan, but I really have to wonder. I've never witnessed a "leader" so, well, consciously comatose.
What to do? What does the public do when there really is no discussion to disagree with? What do we do when there is no action to critique or applaud? We cry for help, but the wind from Atlanta seems to drown out our voices and the Governor is too far up the hill from us to see us clearly. We are a rudderless ship sailing helplessly in circles piloted by a moonstruck captain who won’t admit he’s lost and a prevailing wind that just won’t let up.
Check San Antonio's last year’s test scores by clicking here.
Check out this year’s test scores just released last week by clicking here.
FWIW, the board had better not be discussing candidates or superintendent plans outside of their meetings or they could wind up in the same hot water as Cobb's board. It was discovered that four members of the board were communicating via email, creating a "virtual" quorum and violating the Open Meetings Act.