Is Hinojosa out of control?
by Pete Borden
September 05, 2012 12:12 AM | 1778 views | 22 22 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On April 21, the MDJ broke the story of Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s plan to send 150 principals, teachers and executive staff to a June conference in Orlando. The conference, called a “Model Schools Conference” was being presented by the International Center for Leadership (the Center), the brainchild of Dr Willard Daggett, an education “guru” with a questionable resume’ and little record of success. In fact his biggest asset was that Gov. Nathan Deal knew who he was. He also allegedly serves on the board of directors of NASA and USA Today, both well known, but with no relation to education.

Investigation revealed that the Center could not lay claim to any record of success, above and beyond a laundry list of what “might” come to pass as a result of the information disseminated.

The cost was quoted as somewhere between $300,000 and $600,000, per Dr. Hinojosa. That is a pretty wide spread. Questions were asked of Dr. Hinojosa. “Why are so many people going? How can we judge the results? What is the source of the funding?” None of the questions were answered satisfactorily, yet the people went, despite misgivings by the stakeholders. To the best of my knowledge, we have never been told the final cost, the source of the funding and what, if any, positive results could be seen. In spite of the voiced objections, Hinojosa decided to go ahead and send them, and “the devil take the hindmost.” What was he thinking?

Earlier this year, we learned that Dr. Hinojosa had entered into a contract, without board knowledge or approval, to hire unqualified or under-qualified teachers through a program called Teach for America. Not only did he act without board permission, he pursued a federal grant, along with Teach for America, for funding same. All this came to light through investigations resulting from his going to the board to ask permission to hire 50 of these “teachers.” Because of a public backlash, he withdrew the request for the 50 and the federal funding fell through because he had applied for it improperly.

Further delving showed that Teach for America apparently has morphed into something totally removed from its original mission, of placing “teachers” in schools where shortages existed due to economic or other factors. The question arose as to why we would need such a program when this area has an abundance of qualified teachers. No answer was forthcoming. Nor could anyone determine exactly how Hinojosa proposed to pay for the required “boot camp” cram-session training of these people, training which was to replace, in 12 weeks, the years of education that our certified teachers are required to have.

In March we learned that Teach for America has joined forces with the highly questionable Imagine Charter Schools, rendering them even less desirable, or necessary, for Cobb County. Yet, this newspaper reported, on Aug. 29 that Hinojosa is still very much intent on using these ill-prepared teachers to replace qualified instructors. What is he thinking?

By a vote of 4-3, the board approved the hiring, from outside the county, of an individual to serve as assistant principal at Sprayberry High School who had his teaching certificate suspended for changing student grades. Board members Alison Bartlett, Kathy Angelucci and Tim Stultz voted against the hiring. Lynnda (“It’s a personnel matter”) Eagle, along with David (“If the superintendent is comfortable with it, I will support it”) Morgan and David (“I talked to a number of people, and they assured me he is a saint.”) Banks all voted in favor of the move, as did Chairman Scott (“Boy, is my tailbone sore from straddling this fence”) Sweeney, who would not respond to questions.

Hinojosa will not discuss it, choosing to hide behind the “It’s a personnel matter” dodge. One has to wonder, “What is he thinking?”

These are three examples of Hinojosa acting, in the first two instances, without board knowledge or approval in the planning stages, and in the third, acting outside what common sense tells us is the best interest of the school system.

We also find that we have a school board controlled by a majority that is content to go along with whatever the “out of control” superintendent decides to do, afraid to oppose him.

Folks, it is abundantly clear that we have major problems causing the importance of the calendar issue to pale in comparison. The question is, “What do we do about it?”

Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor in east Cobb.
Comments
(22)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Jim Stoll
|
September 08, 2012
What shall we do? Maybe our school district should take a look at what the School District in Mooresville, N.C. did 5 years ago. They decided to bite the bullet and join the technological revolution that now controls the way the whole world lives, works and plays. They junked the traditional classroom above grade 3, gave all students above grade 3 a laptop computer put the students in groups and started letting the students teach themselves, with a teacher acting as a moderator and mentor. If you want to learn "what we should do, google Mooresville N.C. School District and read all about it. It was featured on 60 Minutes about two weeks ago.
anonymous
|
September 07, 2012
Don't forget the STEM grant application wherein Dr. Hinojosa certified a resolution existed authorizing the application.

No resolution had been passed - or even contemplated.
American dad
|
September 07, 2012
TFA training is actually only 5 weeks, not 12. Supposedly that creates a "highly qualified" teacher.

Guess words don't mean what they used to mean.
Marie in Marietta
|
September 06, 2012
Thanks Pete! Another question: why isn't the Cobb School Board using that IMAGE program from the ICE to be sure that they aren't paying illegal aliens? And why don't they require their contractors to use IMAGE? Glory knows that they have been caught using contractors who hire plenty of illegals. It was all over local news last year. D.A. King has a lot of info on it. I hope you will folow up on that idea. I always enjoy your blogs and columns! Thanks Pete!
VTgrad
|
September 06, 2012
This is exactly why I wanted a change in my school board representation, unfortunately, too many people who were not educated and up to date on the issues affecting CCSD went in and voted for the incumbent, (Mr. DufusBanks) and now we are stuck for another four years with a man, who clearly isn't all there. Add him to Hinojosa, and mix in David Morgan and all his conflicts of interest and there is a recipe for disaster. My only concern with the "new" board is that it is stacked with teachers, and is lacking some business expertise. I have "heard" that the super's evaluation was less than stellar... Maybe he will be gone before we lose the ship.
Cobb parent
|
September 08, 2012
Good comments. I've also heard the super's evaluation was not a good one. The taxpayers should have access to this information.

Totally agree with your comment on Banks, Hinojosa and Morgan. I would like to know the rules for a recall, especially on Banks. If it had not been for the TSPLOST turnout, Banks would not be on the board.

If anyone knows the recall process, please post.
Cobb Taxpayer
|
September 05, 2012
Pete, thank you for "stirring the pot." People of Cobb County need to wake up before our school system is destroyed. As for the "best academic performance" this was not the work of Sanderson or Hinojosa this was the work of the teachers and students. They don't deserve any credit.

Sadly we again elected Morgan and Banks to the board. We didn't elect Hinojosa, it was this board that did not truly do the vetting process.

As a taxpayer, I also support the move to get rid of Hinojosa and would like to know how to do a recall on Morgan and Banks.

Our first step is reining in the board and Hinojosa is NOT vote in another SPLOST.
letsdoarecall
|
September 06, 2012
I agree that a recall is warranted for BOTH Banks and Morgan. They are a joke and an embarrasment to all of Cobb County citizens. Goes to show you that we have some ignorant people voting for our board.
TIC
|
September 05, 2012
Come on Pete. Is Hinojosa out of control?

The answer is so obvious that the question is unnecessary.

Out of control is an understatement.

"Berserk" is a more appropriate description of his management style.

I thnk he is angling to get fired and receive some type of ridiculous seperation package.

In fact it would be interesting to see if there is a seperation compensation addressed in his contract.
Jim Stoll
|
September 05, 2012
I keep remembering the day when Hinojosa showed up to submit his application for consideration as Superintendent,4 days after the closure date for applications. But our new school board accepted it anyway.

I keep remembering how our school board met with him for three hours in closed session, before it approved him as the new Superintendent, with little or no search of his background.

I keep remembering how the vote to approve Hinojosa was unanimous, with one Board Member absent and not voting.

I keep remembering all the articles I read in the newspapers in Texas,where he was previously employed, thanking Cobb County for taking Hinojosa off their hands.

I keep remembering reading, in an interview with our local newspaper about how Hinojosa was having a tough time "getting his arms all of the problems facing the CCSD".

I remember writing at that time about my opinion that someone had made our school board "an offer they couldn't refuae",and that they had acted to approve an outside appointment without considering the unintended consequences.

I now submit that Hinajose is what he is and your only choices for this school board is to accept him for what he is or send him packing.

The time for investigating what he is is long gone. The only answer to our school board's current situation is that "We have found the enemy, and it is us".

Our school board is choking on its own incompetence, while it spends its time debating a school calendar for four years. Imagine that!!!!
I remember
|
September 07, 2012
I remember when people quit remembering and actually did something to help out other than to write some pity piece in the newspaper.
Jim Stoll
|
September 08, 2012
I am a student of history. Remembering past history is a designator of where we are headed. It has proven to be the case for Hinojosa's actions at Cobb County Schoolsshe AP At least I sign my real name to what I remember.
@ Pete B.
|
September 05, 2012
Pete:

In spite of your rants, the Cobb County School District had its best academic performance ever during the past year. Was that because of Fred Sanderson or Michael Hinojosa?

There is a lot more good going on in the district than you have taken the simplest cursory time to illustrate.

Is your solution to forego training?

Is your solution to shrink the talent pool?

Is your solution to personally interview all potential hires?

Here's to presuming you don't have the requisite leadership credentials to lead any school district, not to mention one of the finest in the country.

Despite what this editorial collective does to tear down the school district, academic performance has never been better.

Your portrayal is that you are the district's lifeguard. The problem is that it's Michael Phelps you're trying to save from drowning.
Devlin Adams
|
September 05, 2012
Take a deep breath, mellow out. Now go to Hinojpsa and get your pat ont he head for being a good little employee and trying to defend the indefensible,

Then go to confession!!
anonymous
|
September 06, 2012
@Pete B., how sure are you that the Cobb schools are not feeding kids the answers? Or that they have dumbed down the curriculum enough that "improvement" is inevitable?

And do you really think that one guy can be given credit for such "improvement" that has been made in only a couple of years? Sorry, you are talking goof ball talk.

Hinijosa is another arrogant and incompetent school administrator who will flip off the community at every turn. That he is here is beyond me. My guess is still that the brainerds of the wonderful Cobb County Chamber of (business welfare & ) commerce had somethign big to do with him being in Cobb county.
Best ever?
|
September 06, 2012
I think it's quite a stretch to say that CCSD's academic achievement has never been better. CCSD still has never made AYP since AYP was invented, and after Hinojosa's first full year, CCSD still did not meet the previous AYP standard. In relative terms, while CCSD's test scores remain slightly above average for the district as a whole, the margin between CCSD and the average is getting smaller. CCSD lost its cache and luster years ago, which is why teachers and parents are flocking to Cherokee and Forsyth, when they used to seek out Cobb. And, as Cobb slips closer to being just average (with a large chunk of schools at the bottom of the barrel), employee morale continues to decline. Hinojosa, at best, has just rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic. Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Hinojosa went to Disneyworld.
Problematic
|
September 05, 2012
Hinojosa was problematic from the the start from what I read. I would have to say he doesn't belong in this job. Not while he's spending my money. The School Board should be vetted by the newspapers or someone before they are put out there for the public to elect. So now we have a clueless, weak school Board and a man in charge who is determined to do whatever he can to get his way, no matter what the cost. Can't he be recalled?fo
New Board
|
September 05, 2012
Perhaps the new Board, which will likely have two new members on it, will re-exert control over its only employee in January. At the very least, the replacing of Eagle with Scamihorn will hopefully tilt the balance of the Board away from the current majority of Kool Aid Drinkers. The new Board definitely needs to take control and reign in this Imperial Superintendent, who seems to know no limits and has been wrong on most major issues so far.
Just asking
|
September 05, 2012
Pete (Nothing like stirring up the pot) Borden, when is the last time wrote anything positive about local governments? You might want to go the local library and check our a copy of the Boy Who Called Wolf.
Devlin Adams
|
September 05, 2012
When was the last time local government did anything positive for him to write about?

You might want to visit the library and return the book of Grimm's Fairy Tales you appear to have been reading. Get a copy of today's Marietta Daily Journal and list all the positive things you find that the lcoal government has done lately.
anonymous
|
September 06, 2012
Just asking, why don't you just tell us a bit about all that "positive" government stuff you are mouthing about? And while your at it, tell us a little about the good things Charles Manson has done...don't be negative.
just acsking again
|
September 07, 2012
JA, it was the "Boy who Cried Wolf"
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides