The NeighborNewspaper.com interviewed Atlanta Public School Superintendent Davis as he prepares to retire at the end of June. He will be replaced by Dr. Meria Carstarphen who formerly served as superintendent in Austin and St. Paul.
Per the article (see here) Davis,
…considers the past months of 2014 to be among the best of his three-year tenure, which began in July 2011. “We had a [school] board transition [this year]… Six out of the nine board members are new. They are young, energetic [and] enthusiastic. They’re fun to work with. They truly do focus on children, which is very pleasant. They have not yet been beaten down with the politics of education, so that’s refreshing.”
“[Carstarphen] certainly knows what’s she’s doing,” Davis said. “She has been successful. I hope she’ll be as successful or more successful here.” He said the biggest challenge of the school year was strategically planning for the district with limited resources and demanding constituencies, which Davis admitted was not unique to just this year or this school system.
I think it is interesting to note that Davis refers to the “politics of education” in contrast to a “focus on children”. My sense is that this is consistent with Carstarphen’s comment about how focusing on “adult issues” often interferes with the main priority of educating children.
For those of you who are fighting for power and influence at the expense of improving educational outcomes – that is two superintendents in a row issuing a veiled – but nevertheless stinging indictment of the upside down priorities that are often pursued by the adults. As I have said in the past, analyze the issue in terms of what will result in the best educational outcome – and put your ideologies and selfish interests aside.
The same can be said of an administration that has consistently placed its own interests (ever-growing cost of a grossly inefficient administration) ahead of the interests of their educational mandate. If the focus were to change towards educational priorities, it is likely that many of the “adult issues” would fade away.
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