New Schools’ Boss

People who seem to be in the know seem to like the choice of MaryEllen Elia to run the Hillsborough County School District. You get the idea that she doesn’t suffer fools and won’t venerate the status quo. But there are also those who note she doesn’t have a doctorate and say she won over the School Board by default; the competition was less than stellar.

We’ll know soon enough.

But I do know this after having seen the candidates interviewed on HTV 22. No candidate gave this, in effect, as an answer when queried about priorities:

“Nothing’s more important than neighborhood schools. Certainly not social experiments in the name of diversity and “resegregation” antidotes. And frankly the less time kids spend on school buses the better off they are. Ask Pinellas County.

“Kids fare best when they are in the comfort zone of their own neighborhood schools, where parental involvement – and local sources of leverage — can be maximized. Schools as institutions of identity and pride should be more than quaint concepts from yesteryear.

“Moreover, it shouldn’t – and it doesn’t – matter what the classroom racial ratios are. Learning is learning and in the post-Jim Crow era, to think otherwise is to court racism.

“The problem historically, as we know, has been the relative inequality of schools mired in low socio-economic localities. There will be hell to pay if that is countenanced here. And I’m talking about physical plants, equipment, course offerings and quality of staff. I accept neither bureaucratic excuses nor victim cards.

“Everything else is a subset of this priority.

“Any other questions or topics — including the ridiculous notion of exempting students from final exams who show up every day?”

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