Saturday, September 05, 2009

Expect Less from Local School Superintendents

Reginald Dogan comes down hard today on Malcolm Thomas and Tim Wyrosdick:
As superintendents of schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties respectively, they should lead by example, not by their conservative Republican political partisanship.They shouldn't allow parental pressure or party politics to prevent students from hearing President Obama's national address on Tuesday to school children across the nation.
* * *
Unrealistic skepticism and unfounded fear separated from reason is paranoia. It undermines the rational foundations upon which democratic self-government depends.

We expect more reason and less hysteria from our school leaders.
No, actually, we don't expect more rationality. Or, at least we shouldn't. Remember, under the demented Florida "local option" system, school districts are organized by counties; and each county has the option of requiring its school superintendent to be popularly elected, rather than appointed.

Truly, the lunatics run the asylum around here; or, more precisely, the stupid elect the schoolmasters. All three counties in this poorly-educated corner of Northwest Florida elect the school superintendents. And it shows. Overall, Florida panhandle schools are nearly the worst of the worst.

To be sure, there are isolated bright spots here and there. The best schools are at Pensacola Beach Elementary (a nonsectarian charter school) and all Gulf Breeze schools. (It's probably no accident that the best schools around here also happen to be the farthest from the school district superintendent offices).

Overall, however, Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa county schools rank among the worst in the state -- and Florida is a state which ranks "48th nationally in student scores on the college-prep ACT test," as today's PNJ editorial page points out while taking a more oblique swipe at the craven Thomas and Wyrosdick.

Electing school superintendents is a guaranteed formula for rotten schools. It ensures they will be run by pusillanimous pandering pols who always will have their own political fortunes uppermost in mind, not the education of their students.


BLehman said...

They showed a Reagan film in all the Pensacola schools years ago and practically forced the kids to go to Bush rallies. But those presidents were white. In Santa Rosa county they make kids pray but don't let them hear a message from the president about studying? No parent has a right to bring their kids up stupid but that's what the Republicans around here do. There are a lot of sick and racist and stupid people around here and many of them have guns.

Bryan said...

I hate to break it to you, PB, but Santa Rosa and Okaloosa school districts are in the top 10% of all 67 districts in the state, based on the FCAT scores. Escambia is near the bottom, but SR and Ok are "stellar" performers.

Pretty scary, isn't it?