How do you know it’s time to throw an entire school board away?
You know when you find out that one of the candidates for the superintendent’s job is the daughter of a school board member only AFTER he resigns because his daughter has been tapped as a top contender for the post.
Yes, we read John Brown’s resignation announcement. And quite frankly, we’re not here to argue whether he behaved ethically by recusing himself from the search process. We are not here to argue whether his daughter is qualified for the position. In fact, let’s submit to both of those things being true — that Brown behaved ethically and recused himself from executive session discussions involving the search and that his daughter is extremely qualified. It still stinks.
By the way, if he wanted to be real ethical, he would have resigned before his daughter became an applicant. He should not have been anywhere near the general vicinity of the search for the next superintendent with his daughter’s name in the candidate pool.
And the fact that the other six members of the board thought it was a good idea to entertain an application from the daughter of one of their colleagues has us giving all sorts of side-eye glance. Either they are crazy; or they think we — the residents and voters of Orleans — are.
Somebody has to say it, and we waited nearly two weeks to see if anyone else would. Okay, we guess we will have to say it.
This revelation is proof that there has been a lack of transparency and good faith in this process. And it is beyond troubling. A series of so-called community meetings to talk with the public about the qualifications and qualities they want in the next superintendent does NOT make the process transparent. Listening sessions — whatever. Transparency makes it transparent. Those meetings, we contend, were little more than smoke and mirrors.
But let’s put all of that aside. The truth is we don’t trust this board to pick flowers let alone the next superintendent.
And here is why:
This is the same board that just two years ago tried to rush an early extension of the current superintendent’s contract by the people of Orleans Parish as we faced a pandemic.
This same board is utterly and completely uninterested in actually governing schools. As one charter operator fails, they simply turn our schools and our children over to the next charter management company instead of directly running schools, which is what the voters of Orleans Parish elected them to do. Meanwhile, this same board seems completely unwilling to back state Sen. Joe Bouie in a righteous effort to bring real local control of public education back to Orleans Parish.
This board turned over a $4.6 million education grant that comes from the City’s lease deal with Harrah’s to New Schools for New Orleans — one of the very organizations responsible for the so-called reform movement that has failed our children.
Yes, it is time to throw the entire board away. November 2024 cannot come soon enough.
Until then, there is a petition being circulated by a group of concerned education advocates. They want the superintendent selection process to start again. They want some real community insight, participation and input. We hope it gains traction. We say it is sorely needed if the current set of circumstances is any indication of what has been going on behind the scenes.
We are still about two years away from the next school board election. We urge the voters of New Orleans to not forget this breach of the public trust and to not allow big money and outside influences to shape our school board and our public education policy any longer.