Monday, September 25, 2006

The Texas Textbook Hoarder

A middle school principal in El Paso, Texas was removed from his post recently for not distributing texts to students even though school has been in session for some weeks:
El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Lorenzo García removed the principal of Bassett Middle School on Tuesday -- just days after it was learned that students at the Northeast campus had not been given textbooks for nearly a month.

Principal Oscar Santaella was reassigned to another position in the EPISD and today will be replaced by Steven Lane, who will be interim principal until a permanent one is named.

"I believe in servant leadership," García said. "The administration at that school needs to do all that's in their hands to make it successful."

Bassett administrators had kept all texts in the book room for nearly a month because the campus did not have a book clerk who could distribute them.

EPISD spokesman Luis Villalobos said the last round of textbooks were issued to Bassett students on Tuesday.

Originally, teachers were given classroom sets of books to use during instructional time, but for nearly a month students were not allowed to take those texts home for homework or review.

Last week, Alexandra Villanueva, 47, whose son attends alternative classes at Bassett, said that although her son doesn't get textbooks, she has had problems with textbooks in the past.

"This school is very disorganized," Villanueva said.

"Last year I had to pay for three books my son left in his friend's locker, and I found out that the school has been losing a lot of books. It's terrible."

García said he met with teachers at Bassett on Tuesday and began creating a committee that will report to central office on any needs at the school.

"We're empowering that team to give us suggestions. Not just on books -- on anything that is happening there," he said.

Bassett is one of 22 schools that the district has labeled as a priority because of low or failing test scores. The school is one of two in the district facing severe state and federal sanctions.

Damon Murphy, the associate superintendent for priority schools in the district, said the changes at Bassett will help it perform better.

"We're trying to systematically evaluate these schools," he said.

"Dr. Lane is a very experienced principal that is highly respected," he added. "He'll be able to make a difference there."

Lane, who formerly was the principal of Kohlberg Elementary School, had until Tuesday been the interim principal of Magoffin Elementary School.
Out here in California's notoriously corrupt "Imperial" Valley, the removal of public school administrators from their jobs is very rare.

Here in our mid-sized elementary school district, (+6000 students) not one administrator has ever been fired or reassigned to the classroom in over 14 years, even though numerous classroom teachers have been fired from their jobs due to their (supposed) ineffectiveness.

Update:(PM) Ms. Cornelius of A Shrewdness of Apes asks an interesting question in our commenting thread:
"Did he think by keeping 'em locked up together in the dark they might breed and create more?"
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