“Did ya hear the superintendent is leaving?” a teacher asked.
“Yeah, does it make any difference?” her colleague responded.
“Not really,” the teacher said.
Thus departs another education reformist interloper, CCSD Superintendent Dwight Jones.
I overheard the above conversation at my school, pretty much summing up the attitude of many teachers toward the current state of education. A certain professional numbness, a vein of apathy, perhaps cynicism, runs through the ranks of local public educators these days. And for good reason.
In the 11th year of our nation’s Education Reformation, the academic landscape is bleaker than ever. Corporations, through their sponsored politicians, have decimated public schools across the country. During this time, professional education policy-makers with fairly honest systems of academic measurement have been replaced by the reform movement’s con artists, who cook the books and lower student standards to make themselves look good.
Why? Because, according to the London-based investment bank IBIS Capital, the worldwide education market has grown to $4.4 trillion, an almost 57 percent increase since 2005. And growing. And predatory corporations, through the privatization of public education, are positioning themselves, with the aid of politicians and professional reformists, to make fortunes off the backs of our children.
Dwight Jones, in his abbreviated tenure here, has been one of the point guards for this devious movement. For example, Jones is a former executive of the company Edison Schools Inc. (now EdisonLearning Inc.). Last year, as our superintendent, he pushed through and secured a $7.6 million local contract for his cronies at Edison — even though Edison’s academic track record in Clark County had previously proven dismal.
Also, with his imported pet programs of a school ranking system, a growth model (with its arbitrary student measurements) and turnaround schools, Jones did what good corporate reformists are supposed to do — keep the walnut shells on the table swiftly moving so unwary citizens cannot see what’s really going on. Which, in the end, has been the old bait and switch — from public education to the corporate takeover of our children’s minds.
Some say Jones is leaving Las Vegas because his scam has started to fall apart. A good con man knows when to get out of town. Jones says he needs to go home to be with his critically ill mother. But, oddly, his mother lives in Texas, and he reportedly is moving back to Colorado.
Whatever the case, I know of many teachers and administrators here who have parents ill or dying in other states, yet they have not abandoned their contractual or moral obligations to the students of Clark County. In other words, they tough it out during such rough times.
On the other hand, for two years Jones has been touting his hollow slogan of getting students “ready by exit” for their graduations. Little did we know that, with his $358,000 annual compensation package, he was getting very ready for his own quick, premature exit.
Sayonara, Dwight Jones. I think we finally see you for what you really are.
CHIP MOSHER is a simple clasroom teacher.