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The Kings County Grand Jury has spoken!


When the spotlight of scrutiny reveals cracks in the very foundation as well as throughout the structure of our local public schools, do the persons enjoying the highest salaries and the most powerful positions close ranks even more tightly to protect each other and hide problems?  Do they band together in private to plot strategies for “damage control”, and concoct plausible-sounding explanations to try to cover up poor decision-making and questionable practices? 


Do they attempt to discredit their stakeholder critics?  Do they care more about “spin” than about truth?  Are they more concerned about their own jobs and career advancement than about students and families and the community in which they work? 


The Jury has spoken, and responsive action is required to correct identified problems (as well as other weaknesses not specifically addressed by this group.)  The keywords here are “action to correct” and not simply defensive excuses offered to explain away findings of deficiencies.


How can school administrators demonstrate that they are genuinely dedicated to effectively serving this school community and to assuring that every student’s needs are met – academic, social/emotional, and physical – in the school setting? 


First, they must successfully engage all stakeholders in the education process.  No excuses!  School improvement must start from the bottom-up, with continual effective support from the top-down.  Input from students, parents/community, and staff must not only be continually sought, it must be taken very seriously and used to bring about needed changes. 


Second, it would help if a little humility replaced arrogance, and if taking responsibility for problems replaced foolish excuse-making.  We don’t mind our hired help admitting error and eating humble pie!  In fact, if they want to remain in our employ, this is pretty much essential.


Third, solutions and innovations must be sought outside of our ingrown cadre of local school leadership, with our educators learning from exemplary schools as well as from the community-at-large.  A know-it-all attitude and stubborn determination to impose authority rather than listen with an open mind is not an acceptable position for administrators to take in this Information Age.  Technology has opened the door for everyone to access ideas – don’t try to close people out of the planning process in order to avoid making needed changes!


Most important, elected School Board members need to do their homework and become more knowledgeable,  listen to their constituents and employees, then step up to the plate and GIVE FIRM CLEAR DIRECTION TO THE SUPERINTENDENT WHICH, IF NOT CARRIED OUT, WILL RESULT IN HIS SPEEDY DISMISSAL.  Enough of the passive puppet-board behavior that this community has put up with!


Kings County Grand Jury reports can be found online:


READ :  Fresno County Grand Jury Report on Parlier, and note similarities to our district -- this is what happens when local stakeholders do not fully participate in their public schools and leave decision-making up to a handful of unscrupulous individuals.  Be vigilant!  Be actively involved!




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