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.