Note: Less than a year ago, top administrators at Galena High School suddenly left. Using the shield of the confidentiality of personnel matters, no explanation was ever provide for why they were removed. Yesterday, the top three administrators in the Washoe County School District either left or were removed from their positions, without explanation of cause. The paranoid see patterns where they do not exist. Fools fail to see patterns when they obviously do exist.
For Washoe County, the Tracy Davis story begins with the hiring of Pedro Martinez as assistant superintendent by a fellow Broad Academy “trained” administrator who, like Martinez, left under suspicious circumstances and then went to somewhere in the southern part of the United States where he left his job there under suspicious circumstances. Pedro hired Ms. Davis and Ms. Davis hired as top administrators two who have now left under suspicious circumstances. Washoe County people should remember that the hiring of Ms. Davis as superintendent was done under suspicious circumstances, without a national search. Once hired, the issue of her compensation was decided under suspicious circumstances.
I suspect that there is much that has transpired in the Washoe County School District that deserves scrutiny and much that has deserved scrutiny that has not been subject to any kind of meaningful investigation.
Among the subjects that needs scrutiny is the district’s reporting of achievement gains during the Davis administration, achievement of students being a critical marker of a school district’s success. There are many reasons for some to want achievement to rise, some wanting rise in really achievement, others caring only for numbers, gotten however they can be gotten, that give the appearance of improved achievement but which, in reality, have little or nothing to do with students gaining in ability to do the things that good education allows people to do.
Really, the recent history of the Washoe County School District is an object lesson in civic failure and a tragedy for the effect it has had on the lives of students and the broader population that has been led by those who are known as civic leaders to believe that, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, that the schools were not only good but getting better.
The whole story of the Washoe County School District, its management, oversight, and achievements needs to be put before the public so that truth can guide the public decision making process and officials held accountable for what they actually produce. That the media consistently fails to dig below the surface is understandable but also tragic in that those sources that provide citizens the information they need to make informed and reasonable decisions is not made available because revealing faults in the system is not the kind of publicity that draws wealth to the region, that makes for good business. Sadly, our media is business and with the failure of schools to help citizens grow the ability to properly detect bullshit, the people live without truth or the ability to discover it.
The place to begin recovery is with the school district. The district cannot operate as a lie. It does now and it has for a long time. Pressure needs to be put on the media, to risk profit in order to tell the truth so that people have the information they need to make reasonable decisions. Until then, those like Davis will be placed in positions of authority, too inept to make the systems over which they preside effective, but thought by those who hire them, able enough to keep the public from knowing just how bad the institutions they run really are.