Is Star editor myopic?
A wise person once wrote that a journalist should never let the truth get in the way of good story. The Star certainly holds that standard up high. Perhaps Peter Day should rename his editorial column "A Myopic View from Main Street" in order to at least appear in search of truths.
The editor of the Star printed an illegal letter, signed by Helen Rogers, Bruce Minton, Jack Hamilton, and Hank Richardson, during the election season last year, without even questioning how the letter could have been legally written in the first place. Mr. Day also wrote another skewed view editorial in April which criticized, incorrectly, new board members for issuing COPS, when the old board had done the exact same thing. Mr. Day's newspaper never wrote anything with respect to the old board determining in closed session to pay an assistant superintendent to stay at home and collect a huge amount of money. Mr. Day has also sanctioned two Main Street Conversations with HUSD personnel; one with Bruce Minton in March followed by one with Hank Richardson a few weeks later. Mr. Day has never given the new board members the favorable press he has given the old HUSD guard, and that is a skewed practice that has been repeatedly demonstrated over time by Mr. Day and "his" newspaper.
Certainly all, whether for against the recall efforts, can agree that honest and open debate, which includes press coverage, is called for when a community is faced with such a monumental decision such as whether or not to recall duly elected officials.
Mr. Day's latest bout of myopia comes in the form of quotation marks and veiled conspiracy theories. In his editorial of last week, and in Mr. Yarbrough's story headlines regarding Richardson's leaving the district, Mr. Day's newspaper puts quotes around the word retirement when referencing Richardson's departure. Let's be absolutely clear in this regard. The Settlement Agreement and Mutual General Release signed by Richardson explicitly states: "WHEREAS, Superintendent desires to retire as a permanent employee of the District..." Hank retired, period; to say anything to the contrary is simply not true.
The agreement also states that Richardson, not the district, had seven days to revoke the agreement. Hank did not have a gun put to his head when he retired, he was properly represented by attorneys, and he had a full week to change his mind. And for the conspiracy theorists, Hank's employment contract provided for four, not three, board member's votes to dismiss him. Hank was amply protected if he had chosen to stay and fight for what he thought was right for the district, as true leaders often do. And anyone who believes that a superintendent does not wield considerable power in their own right is fooling themselves.
Leaders lead, they do not run, no matter the challenges before them. Hank himself stated, when given the extremely friendly forum of the Star, that he graded his work last year as a "B, B- right now." That is unacceptable when earning the dollars he does and needing to fulfill the responsibilities he did. Hank did not have the educational credentials to be HUSD's superintendent because he had no doctorate degree. Is that an absolute, no, but it certainly should be given weight. Hank did not have the experience to lead HUSD because he had never been superintendent of any size school district prior to getting the job that paid him like a person who had twelve years of experience. Hank, in my opinion, did not display the character required of a superintendent of a district facing the challenges that HUSD faces. Leaders lead, no matter the challenges before them and with the resources available to them. Education, experience, and character are three essential elements of any school superintendent.
I am all for the recall process working its way through. I personally do not support it because I do not believe that the stated purposes for initiating the recall are true.
The recall notices provide that the "grounds for the recall" are based upon "recent news stories." Folks, I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't pick up the paper at the end of my driveway everyday looking for truth because I know I won't find it there.
The RFP issue was certainly hugely flawed, by both the district office and the new board members. The new board members, however, corrected their direction in response to public pressure which is how governance is supposed to work.
Sixth grade academies are great if affordable and available to all, but so are ninth grade academies. To only send some students to them creates distinctly separate but very unequal education experiences for HUSD kids. Show me a way to effectively pay for them and give access to all and I'm with you. Until then, HUSD cannot afford the luxury and the HUSD kids denied cannot afford the injustice.
HUSD, the district, is guilty of many acts of "unnecessary expenditures." However, I am all for any survey that asks parents what they think about any aspect of their kid's education. I am all for any process that gets educators and parents together talking about education. I am all for communication between school districts and parents.
But that's just my opinion. I respect all others, even though we may disagree. And Peter Day is entitled to his, but his professional opinion should be balanced in the interests of the community he is paid to serve. The record, in my opinion, shows that his opinion, and by extension his newspaper, has been unfairly slanted toward those that were and against those that newly be. We are faced with too severe of challenges for that to go unchecked.
Letter to the Editor - August 24, 2007
Is Star editor myopic?