An editorial NOT in its ideal state

If today's Chronicle editorial on HISD's acceptance of bids to reform three underachieving high schools is an example of an editorial in its ideal state, then I want a new definition of ideal.

We all know the Chronicle torpedoed Dr. Saavedra's efforts at reform (unwittingly, of course -- the professional journalists at the Chronicle would never misreport the news on purpose) by using misleading, gigantic headlines to put the fear of privatization into every special interest group in Houston. And then the Chronicle strolls along -- tra la la -- reporting the outrage that its shoddy reporting inspired.

Today's editorial -- 10 days after the Chronicle's news story on the bids -- is the same regurgitated garbage:

After his initial announcement provoked protests from minority organizations, including LULAC and the NAACP, Saavedra promised their leaders that he would seek their approval before making major changes at the high schools. Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon says, "If I ever had to give a superintendent advice, I would strongly suggest he keep his word on that one."

The difficulties that HISD is encountering should also send warnings to education reform groups that have proposed the so-called death penalties for chronically underachieving schools.

No kidding. Those warnings would be not to invite Jason Spencer to any press conferences!

Here's what the educational experts/editorial board members think is the answer for HISD:

Citizens pay hefty property taxes to fund top-flight district educators and have approved bond issues to build a decent education system. Privatization might work for certain school functions, including food service, but when it comes to school management, it's a copout to hire a private educational firm to solve district problems.

Saavedra should use HISD's resources to make necessary improvements. If the district needs talent, it should recruit and hire the administrators and teachers needed to get the job done. If the job doesn't get done, taxpayers won't have to look beyond the superintendent's office to find the person they can hold responsible.

Oh please. Do the editors really think they know better than Dr. Saavedra how to fix these three schools? Do the editors WANT the state to take over the schools? If it was within HISD's abilities to fix them, don't the editors think Dr. Saavedra would do it? And who knows, maybe the best bid to fix the schools will come from a group within HISD. But the constant Chronicle screeching of "PRIVATIZATION, PRIVATIZATION, PRIVATIZATION," does nothing to improve the education of students; it only inflames an already tense situation. (How did the situation get tense? Oh yeah.)

I've made this point before (sorry to be repetitive): the elites at the Chronicle are always pushing new urbanism ideas. A key component of getting families to move back to the city is good schools. Dr. Saavedra has shown a willingness to think outside the public education box to improve the education HISD provides. The Chronicle, however, seems to be doing its utmost to put up obstacles and stop any talk of reform and improvement.


Posted by Anne Linehan @ 04/26/05 05:04 PM | Print |

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