Friday, November 03, 2006

Subject: Monkey Biz as Usual

Ms. Goudreau:

I just read your online biography.

Your invoking making a difference as favorite part of your job makes me wonder why you don't apply that dictum to the schools in Hillsborough County. Malignant custom of rot at the top has contaminated local schools.

My two main objections to the school administration and Board are, one, that the Professional Standards Department savages teachers. I believe the administration uses Kipley, the home-ec-trained head, as a recovering-cook Lucco Brazzi to keep the pedagogic hired help in line and fearful of criticizing the schools.

Ms. Elia herself shepherded the Bart Birdsall professional-standards charge through Kipley when La Elia routed it to her as a favor to Joe Stines or his boss Pat Bean. Whether for the sadistic joy of slapping an underling around or because Birdsall embarrassed the administration by making the shutdown of library services to gays a public issue remains a mystery. But that Ms. Elia guided it remains my firm opinion.

My second area of complaint involves the jobs racket the administration runs. Incestuous buddy hiring means that the administration bloated-pay jobs go to in-house sycophants. Undistinguished credentials, mediocre minds, and bootlicking talents appear bona fide occupational qualifications for the plum jobs.

Smart people produce better products anyplace, especially in education, which is supposed to be the domain of smart people. Ms. Elia can't punctuate and can't write with any degree of felicity. Her baccalaureate school has grammar-punctuation errors on its web page. She was the least qualified of the finalists--I read the files--yet got the job from the inside track, the usual backstairs route to nailing down the superintendent position, a longstanding blight on Board escutcheon. The Board has no right to stamp "equal opportunity employer" on its web site and stationery. It doesn't practice the virtue, starting with the contaminated hiring of the superintendent.

I hear the administration is pushing the election of Allen behind the scenes because he will fall right into its program of running the schools for the administration's benefit after thirty-six years of practice. Of all people, the word comes from Ralph Hughes that, when Mr. Allen was principal at Armwood High School, the Florida Department of Education graded it a C school during Mr. Allen's tenure from 1998-99 to 2002-03 and that the adult education program's enrollment and completion rate dropped 5.1% and 23.2% under Mr. Allen's leadership.

Yet y'all don't mention these circumstances and gave him the nod as board member despite such deficiencies.

Why, one wonders.

The back story says that you are buddies with Ms. Elia, that you and she belong to some club together. That's discouraging information if true. I thought Tribune ethics protocol makes conflict of interest a no-no. I foster the romantic belief that newspapers stand among the last redoubts to preserve the best in society--although I don't know why I am so naive at my age. A guy on the Nobel committee was mad at Graham Greene about something and managed to thwart his getting the Nobel for literature. Greene died without one. Such is the power of pique. So why can't an editor tailor her editorial opinions for the benefits of a girlfriend in Podunk?

Your doing so is not good for the community, to be sure; but when did the community stand a chance against girlfriendhood? I implore that you bethink yourself to adhere to more transcendent standards in doing your job. I have always been a booster of women's succeeding in high places. That one would get to be editor at the Times and act no better than the guys makes me wonder why I have labored in the women's movement for forty-five years. Area students suffer when the best don't lead the schools. That the best don't head local schools explains my getting students in Freshman English 101 at HCC who couldn't write a sentence much less a paragraph. If the superintendent can't punctuate and write, why should they?

I could continue blah, blah, blah on this track, but you get the picture, I'm sure, ma'am.

I would be happy to be wrong about your distorting editorials to favor a friend. I would like to foster my belief that newspapers reign places of high ideals and house heroes of probity.

I hope growing evidence that I am a dope in this area does not continue to emerge from your performance in your high post.

lee drury de cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708

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