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In Our View - Odessa American: Letters To Editor

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Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2007 12:00 am

THE POINT — Evaluating top officials depends on individual discernment.

When it comes to an assessment of how the upper-level officials in Ector County Independent School District are doing their jobs, there can be no consensus.

That’s because such judgments are in the eye of the beholder — subjective in nature and often clouded by personal opinions.

After all, there is no real measuring stick by which administrators and elected trustees can be assessed.

The closest thing to that are the TAKS scores. And those results can be bent and manipulated to fit all sorts of purposes. For instance, student scores in ECISD have been showing a general upward trend, yet in many areas they still lag behind state averages. So are the local educational bigwigs measuring up or not? And that really depends on how you want to look at the results. Is the glass half empty or half full?

But it can be said that our local school officials haven’t done much to cultivate better opinions of their work.

We can point to all sorts of issues where ECISD administration and the school board would have trouble mustering a passing grade if they were held to such standards.

For example, forming an advisory group to recommend sex education curriculum and then ignoring the suggestions didn’t exactly enhance public perceptions. Neither did the choice of Bible course direction. Nor did the reassigning of a popular high school principal. And the current haphazard approach to hiring an athletic director hasn’t really inspired confidence.

Also to be figured into the equation are the relatively sudden resignations of administrators and principals, some of whom express frustration in general terms yet are reluctant to make public their specific reasons for leaving the district after many years of service.

School board trustees serve neither themselves nor their constituents well when they go out of their way to bend public policy to coincide with their own personal beliefs. After all, they are elected to represent, not impose.

Perhaps our upper-echelon education officials have a point when they complain they are being cast in a negative light. But we would maintain that, in a lot of instances, they haven’t done a lot to enhance their public images.

Odessa, TX

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