Earlier today I asked one of my teacher friends, "So did you read the Star today?"
"Yeah," she said. "So they spent $90,000 to find out that the district sucks. I could've told them that."
"I think it was a brilliant move," I countered. "David Smith is a shroud dude."
I laid out my theory: The board swallowed hard and lived through five miserable years with Bernard Taylor for the sake of bringing a semblence of stability at the top of the command chain. This establishes -- God willing -- a tradition of keeping superintendents around for more than a school year. It makes superintendent staying power a priority.
With this ethos in place, they brought in a ball-buster -- Anthony Amato. Hopefully he won't be easy to fire after he comes in and takes a flamethrower to 12th and McGee (and I've heard he's already got it turned up full blast, and folks at central office are fuh-reaking out).
And finally, just to add a little extra juice, to fan the flames of the revolution, they commission a study that declares in no uncertain terms what everyone knows, but which the previous administration worked so diligently to hide: The district sucks.
They ain't learnin' them kids nuthin, so to speak.
And it's not just Dave Smith who deserves praise. I think the current board might well be the best since Brown v. Board, and I've studied pretty near all of them. It's my sense that every single member sincerely cares about this city's kids, and wants to do what's right. They disagree from time to time. But, for the most part, they've kept things stable. And, more than anything, we've needed a stable foundation.
For the first time ever I actually feel some hope for this district. And this $90,000 failing report card is an important early step.
You can't get well if you refuse to accept that you're not well.