Elsewhere, in a discussion about the NW Regional meeting, a couple of commenters wondered aloud why Dr. Goodloe-Johnson isn't challenged more. I thought I would dive in with some thoughts and then see what others think.
First, we don't know if privately Board members take her aside and express their concerns to her. We don't know if they ever do that as a group or individually. I would suspect out of all the Board members that Michael DeBell would. Michael has a quiet, non-threatening way of saying things. However, that great ability also sometimes undercuts the seriousness of what he says. That the Board has always supported the Superintendent's actions publicly or in their votes seems to me to say they don't call her out privately.
Second, she does feel powerful and large and in charge. She's got the Alliance right in her pocket. (I smile now because an Alliance staffer once said at a meeting that the Alliance doesn't "work" for her. I beg to differ. They do nothing apparent to the visible eye that doesn't suit her agenda.) She's got the Times to back her up on everything. My surprise is kind of that I don't get how Publicola, Crosscuts, The Stranger, etc. let her off. I think some of that is the school district issues aren't on their radar (with the exception of Crosscuts) so they don't bother. The vote of no confidence from the SEA and the community polls that cast doubt on her leadership seem to be dust in the wind and so she just doesn't have to worry.
Third, even though the Auditor really called the district and the Board out, no one else did except the people here at this blog, both the writers and the readers. That must reinforce her believe that she is, indeed, untouchable. As for her new charm offensive, for her, it's probably, "okay I'll do this one thing they say I'm lacking in and then I'm golden."
As an aside, this is why it would be a good idea to vote against the supplemental levy. If you are on the fence about the direction this district is going or Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's leadership ("they're the experts so they probably? know best"), you might want to give it a good long thought. There is no one, I repeat NO ONE in this town who will stand up to her. Power unchecked is NOT a good thing. You can let everything she's doing play out and then in 3-5 years, smack your forehead and say "I could have done something."
So I come to my central premise which might explain all of the above. I was having a disagreement with someone from a city organization (not directly related to education) and I was told, "let's just say we see the glass differently." I truly get that people could accuse me of always seeing the glass half-empty and that others, believing it is more positive, see the glass half-full (the district being the glass).
BUT, I do see the glass both ways. My problem is that I don't think that the powers that be in this town (and a lot of parents/community) ever see the glass as half-empty.
They know things that are wrong and continue to be wrong in our district and yet it's rah, rah, go team. It's fine to "accentuate the positive and (try to) eliminate the negative." But it's not rational and/or good to turn away and not want to acknowledge that there are major problems in this district that are NOT being acknowledged publicly.
This isn't even about whether you like Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's initiatives or work style. It's about the basic functioning of our district. I almost laughed outloud the other day at the Audit meeting of the Finance and Audit Committee. It turns out that Director Carr and Duggan Harman, a upper classman in the SPS administration, have been visiting well-functioning districts to see how they do it. Great idea but really, a little pathetic. It's 2010 and our district still doesn't know how to function properly and with skill.
So a couple of questions. Please bear in mind that this district has been repeatedly reminded of its inefficiencies going back at least 10 years and yet we still have the same issues. I ask you to consider how the district functions versus how our schools are doing.
Do you think this district today is functioning better than it was 3 years ago? Do you think our schools are better schools than they were 3 years ago (or on their way)?
Do you think this district will be a better functioning district and/or one with better schools in 5 years?
So, for our district, is the glass half-empty or half-full (and do you, in conversations with others, acknowledge both)?