As Goodloe-Johnson told one investigator: It was happening "too far down." So far down she didn't know a thing about it, and therefore isn't responsible.
Oops. Wrong answer.
Kennedy, the CFO, said that even in hindsight, and even though the troubled program with all its red flags was in his department, he wouldn't have done a thing differently.
Really wrong answer.
It's never the wrongdoing that gets you. What matters is how you deal with it.
He breaks it down:
This scandal is also a perfect storm of Seattle school neuroses. It was born of political correctness. Nurtured by lax management. Prolonged by timidity about race.
The program, launched to bring racial equity to construction hiring, was considered "untouchable," employees told investigators. Questioning it, even when it went so off-track it was giving free classes to pet groomers and hairstylists, could get you branded a racist.
He gives a nod to what he thinks should (could) happen:
The other reason this little scandal may cause a big housecleaning is that the School Board — in charge of this circus — was at times kept in the dark.
There's no surer way to anger the bosses than to have them surprised by bad news.
Now on that last point, the School Board has seemed to suffer from an abundant lack of curiosity. There was in fact somebody warning board members about all this. You know those parents who show up at every School Board meeting, who seem half-crazed because nobody listens as they clamor that district management is arrogant, bloated and unaccountable?
Well, they were right. Not always polite, but right. Maybe in the future the School Board might fill this skeptical role. Or be replaced themselves.
He's right about the Board. Why aren't they more skeptical? God knows, staff has given them plenty of reasons.
And ah, the ever-popular loud-mouthed activists (or parents). As I say in my comments to Danny, sorry I forgot to wear my pearls and thank the Board for letting me speak. I am so far past worrying that someone won't like me for what I say. I would think as a writer Danny would get that but maybe it's easier to just write things than have to stand up in public and say them out loud.
Here's part of what I said in my comments:
I don't care about being able to say, "hey, I turned out to be right." I would have liked to be wrong.
I really would have liked for someone in power to listen sooner.
I really would have liked for the educational powers that be in this town like Don Nielsen, the Alliance for Education, Norm Rice and the League of Education Voters to have not been major cheerleaders for the district and all the while ignoring the major warning signs.
Two weeks ago I sent a white paper to the Mayor and City Council. It was called "Approaching Storm: the Coming Crisis in Seattle Public Schools." I knew this was coming, I just didn't know when.
Your move, School Board.