Sunday, December 28, 2008

Not now

I have long said that the position of superintendent of Detroit Public Schools is by far the worst job in Detroit. By far.

The next on the list is mayor, followed by starting quarterback of the Lions, goalie for the Red Wings, then coach of the Pistons. The best job? Hmm? It's either Detroit School Board president, City Council president or second-string quarterback of the Lions -- until he actually has to play.

Those in the line fire have the least to fear. That's just the way it goes around here. I believe the problem stems from the fact that we want, or better, need somebody to blame for the failure of systems, and those in the direct line of fire are are highest-priced targets.

Connie Calloway was fired less than two years after the board we elected to select her made the hire. Their incompetence in the hiring and handling of this mess is reason to oust them all. The board is made up of some smart, competent people, but among them we have some who will not send their own children to DPS schools and at least one who has been charged as an unfit parent. Yet they are responsible for the future of our children, and implicit in that is the future of the city and region. I honestly do not believe that the majority of the board members understand the stakes.

The school board hired Calloway, who came from a small Missouri school district armed with a reputation as a strong curriculum administrator. But they knew she lacked the experience of leading one of the largest districts in the nation. They knew that going in, but gave the post to her any way. Worse, they beat her up over the lack of experience as a large school district CEO during her entire tenure. It made no sense to me, and seemed like a recipe for disaster -- which it ultimately was.

I have many friends who teach in DPS and they have children who I consider to be outstanding young people. I salute them. Still, I could not justify sending my son to a DPS school. Could you?

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