At least that is what many of us are hoping as Maria Goodloe-Johnson prepares to go to Seattle.
My title, by the way, comes from Robert Graves's biography expressing his disillusionment with the old European values after World War I. Who among us does not feel disillusioned by CCSD's behavior during Goodloe-Johnson's watch? Most of you will not need a list.
Well, apparently the Post and Courier. Sunday's lead editorial was a masterpiece of praise for the superintendent. In fact, the writer really should really look for a job as a political flack or maybe one as an apologist for global warming. Brushing aside the facts on the ground ("failing schools," possible "state takeover" of a school, losing a court battle over a "racially charged teacher complaint," policy differences that "culminated with the establishment of a charter school"), the writer touts the "Plan for Excellence" as G-J's "legacy."
Funny, he or she forgot to mention the furor over Buist Academy admissions and the half-time principal for Fraser Elementary! And how about those District 20 lawsuits?
Now, I have no particular bone to pick with the Plan, but it is just that--a plan. Never mind that Goodloe-Johnson told Seattle that it is her plan, while this week school board members in favor of Nancy McGinley's taking G-J's place gave her equal credit (although some of us may wonder just whose plan it is). However, the Plan's accomplishments so far are mainly in structural changes. They may or may not bear fruit. "Closing the gap" incrementally between failing schools and others doesn't mean much to a parent whose child is still caught in that gap or being bused to an out-of-district school in hopes of getting a better education. Believe it or not, the P&C even trotted out a meager improvement in SAT scores as evidence. (You would think it wouldn't want to remind readers of just how low they are. We can't even count on Mississippi to be below us any more!)
Of course, Goodloe-Johnson did not create the mess that is CCSD; that took thirty years of "desegregated" schools and many more of "separate but equal." However, I refuse to believe that she deserves the credit for putting CCSD's fiscal house in order. I doubt that it IS in order. Perhaps in a few months we will begin to hear about "previous poor budgeting and a variety of fiscal emergencies" that may even concern "the district's massive construction and renovation program," just as CCSD stood when Goodloe-Johnson arrived. Certainly, waiting until the last moment before contacting state legislators about what was OBVIOUSLY going to be a budget shortfall after last year's tax legislation was not the wisest plan.
You may think I'm being disingenuous to state that I wish Goodloe-Johnson well, but I'm sincere. Seattle, while it does not appear to be in as bad shape as CCSD, will not be a picnic. It has its own urban versions of District 20 and a long record of problems that will not be solved overnight. Its students deserve better schools, too.
Perhaps you have some heartfelt advice for the superintendent in her next job. Mine would be for her to try to be more down-to-earth, more receptive to criticism, and more ready to admit mistakes.