Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Friday, June 24, 2011

Duval Partners gets it wrong

When the Duval County School Board backed themselves into a corner and needed to find an Education Management Organization (EMO) to take over their struggling schools, they turned to newly created Duval Partners for an Excellent Education. This group was originally created to fund raise and find mentors for the struggling schools. For this original purpose I thought with them being a group of concerned local citizens they were very qualified. However as a group put together to run schools I wasn’t optimistic.

That’s not to say they didn’t have some attractive qualities, the first of being is that they are local. I think somebody from Jacksonville would be better suited to put their finger on the problem. Then even though they are a newly formed EMO they are a non-profit group, which means all the money they received would go into the running of the schools, not to some CEO thousands of miles away. So you can imagine my surprise when it was revealed they are actively looking for another management company to run the schools. Well friends, doesn’t this then make them redundant? What is there purpose going to be, to manage the managers?

Then their final candidates to be executive director further dismayed me.

There is Jarik Conrad an author and human behavior expert. Well friends where is the education expert.

Brenda Priestly Jackson, former school board member. Excuse me wasn’t she on the school board while those schools were on their roads to ruin. During her 8 years on the board just exactly how did those schools improve? The answer is they didn’t.

Brenda Simmons works for Florida State college and is a local but there is a huge difference in working for a school that people pay to go to and want to attend and working for schools that are failing.

Ron Baker is a former chief executive for the Jacksonville Port authority. Hiring him would be like hiring a general to run your school district. Oh wait never mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t question these individuals, work ethic or intelligence, I question their depth as in I feel like they would be out of theirs.

I wonder if they even considered long time Raines Principal George Maxey for the job. He not only is a respected community fixture but he is an actual educator who would have a much better understanding of the issues those schools are facing.

I also wonder why they haven’t started meeting with the faculties at those schools in order to get a finger on the pulse of the problem. Who better than them would know what the kids and the schools need. Instead it seems like they have spent their time, and in secrecy I might add, interviewing candidates who are bad fits and looking for somebody to do the job they have been tasked in doing.

Furthermore where is the “Come on Back Home” campaign to convince the thousands of kids who have chosen to go to other schools to come back to those schools? This is important because unless Duval Partners suddenly develops magic powers, that is the only chance those schools have to fix their issues. Even then it would just stop the bleeding.

I am not very optimistic about Duval Partners. In fact I am down right pessimistic. They seem well in over their head and then their actions have befuddled me.

Unless things change, if I were a parent I would rappidly be coming to the conclusion the best chance my child has was to go somwhere else.

No comments:

Post a Comment