RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond School Board doesn’t help itself by always winding up in the middle of one controversy after another.
The problem they face is one of their own making. While elected as reformers, they have yet to do any reforming in terms of the public perception.
Yesterday, their pick as the new interim school board superintendent blamed the previous school board and superintendent for creating, or a least tolerating, the current situation which had them praising themselves for years over learning improvements that never actually existed.
Otherwise, the new board and the new interim chief wouldn’t have had to say things “the degree to which scores declined was really significant.”
If things were so good, why have they now turned so bad?
The readers of this blog of course are not surprised at the same ole, same ole excuse from the new board, the new school chief, yada, yada, yada.
Let’s cut to the bottom line
The school system in Richmond has a student population overwhelmingly of children from families with incomes at or below the national poverty line.
We have the oldest, most obsolete facilities in the state — by far.
We have the most expensive City Hall and by some accounts, the most expensive “double dipping” school administration in the state.
The Mayor, the City Council and the School Board have been celebrating mediocrity and the honest ones have admitted it in the past.
In 2005, I set before the people of Richmond my “City of the Future” plan which used a novel “construction” initiative to fix up our obsolete old schools creating the best funded “instruction initiative” in the state’s history WITHOUT RAISING TAXES ONE PENNY!
Governor Tim Kaine backed it, Governor Bob McDonnell backed it. Senator Mark Warner backed it. Senator Jim Webb backed it. Congressman Eric Cantor backed it. Those helping the President formulate his plan to fix old school facilities backed it.
I got a group of investors to pledge ALL THE MONEY to fix up the schools in Richmond, if my plan was adopted and they would create millions of dollars in scholarships to boot.
Terry McAuliffe backs it. Ken Cuccinelli backs it.
Mayor Jones HAS NEVER been willing to stand with me in front of the cameras and back it. Neither the current School Board nor City Council has been willing to do the same.
FACT — As Governor McDonnell said again the other day, after meeting with me on the matter, my plan would indeed create the most historic fix-up of old schools EVER in Virginia, and would, at the same time, create an “instruction” initiative that would mean TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR RICHMOND without having to raise taxes.
So when alleged school “reformers” accuse the School Board of catering to “racist white folks” and the School Board is too timid to fight back for some reason, that the Board is so defensive of its image that it fears defending against such wild talk, I can only say:
Isn’t it about time that the poor children of Richmond, indeed all the school children of Richmond, had at least ONE ELECTED OFFICIAL in city office concerned with schools THAT GAVE A DAMN?
I realize Rhett Butler said he didn’t give a damn, but that had nothing to do with the schools if I remember.
After all these years of excuses, after alibi after alibi, after wasted life after wasted life, I can only ask the same question Bob Dylan asked years ago:
“How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?”
The Civil Rights movement in Richmond in the days of Dr. King started over the fight for better school facilities and instruction and overall education.
Why did Richmonders 60+ years ago understand, but their children and their children’s children do not in terms of pressuring the politicians to improve education NOW as opposed to settling for wolf tickets?
The answer, as they say, is blowing in the wind.
Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.