The Chronicle is right, but late

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The Chronicle‘s top editorial this morning is about HISD’s finalist for superintendent:

After a perfunctory search, HISD trustees appoint the first Hispanic to be superintendent, a job thatapparently was his from the start.

Abelardo “Abe” Saavedra might be the best person in the nation to lead the Houston Independent School District. Unfortunately, Houstonians have no way of knowing. After a search that did not rise to the level of the pro forma, HISD trustees named Saavedra the only finalist.

Several HISD trustees had made it plain from the start that the job was Saavedra’s to lose. Saavedra has been interim superintendent since Superintendent Kaye Stripling retired in June. To ensure that Saavedra did not lose it, HISD’s search team limited the list of candidates to unemployed or soon to be unemployed school superintendents from much smaller districts.

Running one of the nation’s largest school districts presents a daunting challenge. There is no person alive who can single-handedly ensure that every penny of the district’s $1 billion annual budget is spent efficiently; every child is taught and encouraged to succeed; and all parents take an interest in their children’s studies. However, if the search team could not find more than one talented leader from the field of public education, it should have broadened the search.

Certainly we agree with the Chronicle, as evidenced by blogHOUSTON’s previous posts on this search. However, it would have been more helpful if the editors had spoken out like this BEFORE the sole finalist was chosen. A little prodding from Houston’s one major paper could have pressured the trustees to put more effort into the superintendent search.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.