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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Times Unions love affair with the superintendent continues: part one

The Times Unions love affair with the superintendent continues. In a recent editorial they wrote: Just like a good school needs a great leader as principal, a school district should have a consistent vision and a dynamic leader to carry it out. Now, with a strategic plan in place, and meaningful evaluations of Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals, Duval has a productive relationship between board and superintendent. Let’s hope that becomes the standard for the future.

I’ll be honest I have a problem the strategic plan and it’s not just because it reduces children to numbers and data points on a graph and not because the implementation of it is done with such a narrow minded focus that there are often unintended consequences (the erosion of discipline for example) but because who it managed by. Duval counties strategic plan is the equivalent of me allowing my students to write their test and then grade it as well. There is no neutral party monitoring it to see if it is effective only people who have manifest need to see the numbers improve.

As for the principals evaluations by the school board if you are a reasonable person and read them, then you to probably have questions. Businesses report not wanting to move here because of our school system, seventy percent of our graduate have to take remedial classes once they enter college, potential employers say they can’t find good candidates from the pool of recent graduates and teacher morale is shot and despite all this the superintendent garnered near perfect evaluations from the school board. Say you do like him and think we are headed in the right direction doesn’t above deserve some kind of needs improvement mark? This is made all the more exacerbating by the fact he helped pick the numbers in the strategic plan and then was in charge of gathering the numbers.

If you think the district is headed in the right direction, you are probably a member of the school board, the superintendent and his inner circle or an editor for the Times Union; you are sadly misinformed, because we’re not.

We have serious problems and we need a superintendent who is willing to tackle them and a newspaper that is willing to report them. Until that happens the citizens of Jacksonville and it’s children are being done a huge disservice.

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