Tuesday, August 22, 2006


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.


Anonymous said...

You really think this is best board? Is that good or bad? I mean you have Dave Smith convicted of discrimanating against his employees.

Any rumors of what big changes are coming up? School closings and consolidations maybe?

joe said...

I know a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff on that discrimination trial, and it was pretty bogus. The plaintif was a profiteer, from what I understand, and the jury was given very, very narrow instructions on how to calculate their decision.

The only changes I've been hearing about is that some folks will be pushed out. No names yet. Also heard he's bringing in a lot of his own people.

Anonymous said...

As someone close to the KCMO high schools, I've always smarted from your criticism. How would you do it?

trAcy said...

school district as addict-sick-junkie, who needs to admit it's not well. i like that metaphor. let's see how rehab goes. . .

Anonymous said...

Whats the schools boards thoughts on the charter schools?