Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dr. Johnson: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!

Richard Thompson of Mediaverse Memphis has a good round up of stories and links on Dr. Carol Johnson's sudden departure from the Memphis City School system here.

It's important to remember, I think, that she wasn't just plucked out of thin air. Like a lottery winner, she had to buy a ticket. She put her name into consideration some months ago. Some folks think it's the decision by the County Commission to not disburse some funds the MCS thought they were entitiled to that did it. But clearly she'd been disaffected before that.

I guess after she's gone, we'll hear from folks inside the MCS who are free to talk.

I also wonder what's going to happen to the Blue Ribbon Campaign. With the two main institutional boosters gone (Johnson and school board member Lora Jobe) who will back it now against those who view it as a mistake? (Count me in that column.) Any kind of confusion from the administration -- translated down to principals and teachers -- will automatically be picked up on by the kids in school and chaos will result. We may find ourselves forced to back away from BR whether we want to or not.

I've never agreed with BR simply because it requires a prior buy-in from the parents of the kids and, clearly, there's a wide swath of parents who just don't think that way, never have and never will. Or maybe that was the point? With a choice between a harsh, punishing home life and the wonderland of love and support in the schools, kids will gravitate to the schools, leaving the old life behind? Isn't that how cults work?

Was Dr. Johnson doing what some professionals do? She didn't really want another job, she just tossed her resume into the inbox to see how she stacked up against the competition. It's a kind of profesiional competition, a way of seeing if you still have the juice.

But the fact remains: Despite the tears and proclamations, she is leaving all "her kids" in the lurch. She's dumping them for money and status. Is that the message she wants her kids to learn? Her goodbye to the school board was full of kids, flowers, speeches and tears. Why? She knifed the kids in the back.

I have to wonder what might be going on. Where are the expressions of anger? Why isn't anyone closely associated with her pissed off? Is there an understory here?

No comments: