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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: A theme song for Arlington school leaders

Editor’s Notebook: A theme song for Arlington school leaders

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Cue up some Marvin Gaye (always a good idea), because today’s theme song for the Arlington school system and its leadership is: “What’s going on?”

First, the school-system’s poobahs and poobettes spent their Christmas holiday period divining ways that they could be more disruptive to the lives of students. Bingo: They’ll cancel athletics and extracurricular activities for at least the next two weeks.

(I’m not going with the word “pause” that they and others like them are using; it’s obviously been market-tested to come off as benign.)

As our coverage of today will point out, the unilateral disarmament by the school system, even as other local jurisdictions are keeping athletics and extracurriculars in place, is just another case of bass-ackward skittishness by whomever is actually running the school system.


(At this point, we all must agree that it’s not the superintendent who is in charge; he seems to have been appointed last year to be a figurehead, and at board meetings too often seems a mere bystander while downstream staff do all the heavy lifting. But who’s ACTUALLY running the show behind the scenes? At this point, frankly, it seems the ship of state is completely rudderless.)

Then you’ve got the recent folderol of the school leadership thinking it’ll be a good idea – for “equity” purposes, don’t you know – to stop making homework assignments count toward final grades.

This proposal, which has been (sorry to be crass) shit on by just about everyone who has heard it, is proof positive that decision-makers at APS seem to be guilty white liberals trying in their own way to atone for hazy sins by others of the somewhat distant past, but doing it in ways that are only going to make life more problematic for the minority students they think they’re trying to help.

It’s as if they are all channeling their inner Bill de Blasio of New York City, who has wrapped up his tenure was worst mayor in the country (a crown that now passes to the woman currently running Chicago, who is, to borrow a phrase used in other circumstances by my sainted mother, “a real piece of work.”).

This is all going to be a test of new School Board member Mary Kadera. One hopes she’s going to stand up at the Jan. 6 School Board meeting, her first since taking office, and say to her new colleagues, “What are you people thinking? Have you lost your minds?”

A year ago, when she was first running for the post, Kadera’s rhetoric foreshadowed that she’d be just that type of board member. But the intervening months have suggested she’s going to be another go-along-to-get-along dais-filler, beholden to her political party and the special interests that backed her run.

If Kadera proves me wrong, I’ll happily admit it. Time will tell.

– Scott McCaffrey

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