More on Superintendent Davis -- His Community Impact

Aside from the comments found in my earlier post, there's another perspective out there too -- about the positive community impact that Superintendent Davis's administration has made.  Here's how one of my neighbors put it in a public email thread to us all:
 OK- so maybe you think, I don't have kids in school, this really doesn't
matter [sic] to me.

You could not be more wrong:
-Take a look at your property tax bill: app. 45% is the APS school tax,
plus bonded indebtedness
-Property values are *directly* related to the desireability of local
schools: go a ahead and re-paint and put in granite counter-tops, but if
you want to be able to sell quickly and for a fair price, fix the schools.
-Crime/public safety are also directly related to the schools: good
schools keep after truants, a major source of mischief and mayhem, plus
they give their students marketable skills, so instead of being a drag on
society, they contribute to it.

Davis can be prickly, but he takes a dispassionate look at problems, and
that is something that is rare in schools systems, because politics ranks
so highly with most involved at the executive level. He doesn't care: he
came out of retirement to do this job, and while APS pays him well, he made
his money during a long, varied and successful career.

Surely the community gets a say, right?

More after the break...

But, to be fair, there is more than one side to the "community impact" that I'm declaring Superintendent Davis had.  For example,Superintendent Davis made the decision to remove administrators at a local high school.  Here's what a Davis opponent said (in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

Molly Woo, a vocal opponent of Davis since he removed six administrators from North Atlanta High in October, said it’s little wonder the board has had a difficult time making up its mind to extend the contract of a superintendent who was backed by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Gov. Nathan Deal and approved by a unanimous vote of the board in 2011.
“He started out as a good administrator, but he seems to have devolved,” said Woo. She said she backed him until he removed the administrators from North Atlanta High, which sparked an outcry from parents and students that still echoes during public-comment periods at board meetings.
The superintendent, a former chancellor of the University System of Georgia who came out of retirement to take the job, has also weathered criticism over redistricting and changing bus routes.
Woo said her son, a senior at North Atlanta High, was relying for his college applications on the recommendations of some of the administrators Davis removed. “He just made a decision that destroyed the education flow of about 1,200 students,” she said.
Woo and others say Davis’ actions have largely discredited all the work he’s done since he took over as superintendent the same week the state released its report implicating about 180 APS educators in cheating on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. The school system is seeking to remove those educators, many of whom have challenged their firings at tribunals. Davis has sometimes been a witness.
A long-time reporter (not just a casual blogger like me), make the immediate connection between the North Atlanta High School removal, and the delayed Board of Education vote.  Maureen Downey writes,

The Atlanta School Board delayed again a vote on whether to renew the contract of Superintendent Erroll Davis Monday night, a clear result of the clumsy way he handled the removal of top administrators at North Atlanta High School two months ago.
Along with exposing rifts on the school board, the delay in the Davis vote also speaks to the power of organized, angry and determined parents.
The suddenness of the purge at North Atlanta left many parents and students frustrated and upset. And energized to oust Davis from the APS superintendency.
Whether the change in top management at the high school was warranted is still being debated, but there is consensus even among Davis fans that he underestimated the backlash his decision would cause and created unnecessary grief for himself and the district.
And that was evident Monday in the board maneuvers resulting in a postponement of a vote to extend Davis’ contract.

So, do decisions like removing educators cloud Superintendent Davis' tenure?  Should they?  Or, does having the ability to take a "dispassionate look at problems" show the kind of leadership Atlanta Public Schools needs? Is it possible to be "dispassionate" and still appreciated?  Cue the chorus of examples from Michelle Rhee in D.C. 

Uh oh.

Maybe that last comment went too far?

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