A Fleck Editorial LiveJournal: Into the sea (or toilet?)

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Tim Fleck joins James Howard Gibbons, Andrea Georgsson, and Judy Minshew as official Chronicle LiveJournalists today!

In his usual style of drive-by-attack journalism, Fleck uses an editorial board meeting with HISD Superintendent Abe Saavedra to dredge up old gripes about HISD:

During a discussion last week with the Chronicle editorial board, Houston Independent School District Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra disclosed that in a continuing effort to trim unnecessary expenditures, the district had eliminated funding for its Model-Netics management training program.

Created by former American General CEO Harold Hook, Model-Netics and its esoteric bag of symbols and catch phrases arrived on the HISD scene in 1997.


This is 2005. We would urge Fleck to move past the 1990s and his “glory” days of muckraking at the Houston Press, and focus on writing quality editorials (not Editorial LiveJournals) for a newspaper that likes to think of itself as a major metropolitan daily.

Furthermore, we would AGAIN urge the Chronicle to get with partner KHOU-11 and start recording and posting these secretive editorial board meetings.

News consumers ought to know about HISD’s budget and other topics of the conversation with Saavedra that the Chronicle editorial board chose not to share with its readers. Instead, we get a rehash of the 1990s in Tim Fleck’s first Editorial LiveJournal.

UPDATE: After further consideration, we wonder why Fleck declined to tell ALL of the story from his old Houston Press “glory” days. Saavedra has no real ties to the model-netics program that Fleck criticizes. But former Brown Administration official and admitted crook Oliver Spellman thought it was great:

Parks Director Oliver Spellman lauds Haines for providing a choice of programs. After working in Cleveland and New York, he credits Houston as one of the more progressive governmental entities when it comes to management training. “I’m loving it. I think this is great,” says Spellman, a graduate of Model-Netics training. He says he’ll have staff managers trained in several alternative programs and then decide which is most worthwhile. That seems contradictory to the stated Model-Netics goal, which is to have everybody using the same management terms.

Apparently, Fleck’s employment with the Chronicle has already neutered him to the extent that he no longer may criticize former Brown Administration officials, even admitted crooks. Why bother, when HISD can be punished for 1990s sins?

The Chronicle opinion pages really should be better than this.

ANNE LINEHAN ADDS: The Chronicle editorial board had a meeting with Dr. Saavedra, and we are regaled with…a 1997 management program?

Dr. Saavedra has been swimming upstream trying to improve HISD with fewer resources. His budget, which just passed almost overwhelmingly, is innovative and far-thinking; he has allocated money so that all of the district’s eligible pre-K kids can attend pre-K programs — no more waiting lists; all teachers will be getting a pay raise (where’s Gayle Fallon?); poor students in more-affluent schools will now get the resources and support they need (relates to Title I); and Dr. Saavedra is doing all of this with less money.

All we hear out of the Chronicle is how terrible HISD is, and last week Rick Casey began a column by saying Texas schools stink. Well, for crying out loud, the Chronicle has a superintendent in its own backyard who is doing amazing things, and the Chronicle continues to rip him and the district to shreds! Why does he even bother with that paper?

If Dr. Saavedra ends up in the running for National Superintendent of the Year (or wins!), the Chronicle will look terribly foolish, and deservedly so.

Oh to have this ever-critical eye turned on some local sacred cows, like METRO, the Sports Authority, MayorWhiteChiefHurtt, the Hilton Americas/GRB Convention Center, etc.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX