Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dr. Crew's Office: To Serve the Governor or the Public?

Oregon Save Our Schools met with Dr. Rudy Crew last year, a few months after he was hired in Oregon.  We wanted to open a dialogue with him to share concerns of the voice of the public to include parents, teachers, and community members.  After meeting for over an hour, which Dr. Crew and his staff graciously stayed longer than what was scheduled, it was obvious that the voice of the public was not in his job expectations.  It was clear that his job was to push and support the education reform plans put out by Governor Kitzhaber and the OEIB.  It was a true disappointment, but it was also a reveal as to the agenda put forth by those in power, and that the public was at best, an irritant.  Below is a reflection of one of our members, Tom Olson, from that meeting.  -- Oregon SOS

by Tom Olson

Right after our 90 minute "dialogue" with Crew shortly after he arrived, several of us decided to launch a poll contest. The question was: "Guess how long he'll stay in this job?" The answers clustered around 2 years.  He firmly committed to a three year contract. But we all had done the research on his past history. Left Tacoma under a test cheating cloud.  Then left after being fired from the New York superintendent's job (left with a $500 million" "parachute" that he negotiated; left after being fired from the Miami job (guess what....ANOTHER half million $ parachute). Many other issues--some even more concerning--- arose when we did our research on his background (obviously  the OEIB or Kitzhaber either didn't know about this shady past, or they didn't give a damn.)

Throughout our entire 90 minute interview with him, he never asked us ONE question. He bloviated throwing meaningless phrases around like fairy dust, and then lost his cool when I, as moderator, said that we needed to move on in the discussion.

He does not care about classroom teachers/administrators or board members. He only cares about his own damned Herculean ego. Any competent person assigned to do a background check on this guy would discover this.

I cannot find one iota of indication that he has listened carefully to educators on the "front line". I cannot find one bold position that he has taken that would respect educators' much deeper knowledge of teaching and learning than he has. Clackamas County hosted an Education Summit involving more than 200 people. He "blew in/blew off/ and then....blew out---BEFORE hearing reports from 13 discussion tables of people who represented the front lines. When I asked why he left so abruptly, I was informed that he explained to the conference coordinator that he was "simply too tired to stay." Our district has an international reputation for its teacher-driven uses of technology. When invited to visit and see our schools's work on this, he didn't even have the damned decency to return the call. He only attended two of the 8 public forums that OEIB held---supposedly to seek public input on the "strategic investments".

Even worse, he actually violated Senate Bill 1581 when he rejected 1/3 of the school districts' achievement compacts. He had absolutely NO authority under that law to reject them. Then he, worse, BLOVIATED about how too many local districts had too low standards and how they were "gaming the system" (THAT's a direct quote!)

Bottom line, I don't know how we would do much worse than Crew. But Looking at Kitzhaber and his business buddies on the OEIB record so far....I'm now convinced they could actually do worse!

Since Crew committed to a three year stint as CEO, his desire to interview for greener pastures is a gross violation of professional ethics. If, on the other hand, this is a ruse that covers up that Kitzhaber is trying to push him out, why not just do that instead of playing this game? And why did Crew's Chief of Staff (formerly his "marketing director" when in Miami) leave her $130,000 job after only a year? I never have been able to discover whether there was actually any search/competition for this job---or did they just let Crew decide to hire her? So much for affirmative action?

But "Game playing" is what it's all about when it comes to Kitzhaber/OEIB/Crew. So enjoy watching the game now.

Ain't nothin' gonna get better until the legislature "sunsets" the whole OEIB charade. But I'm not counting on that. That would take some courage, and some examination of the actual facts that this whole thing is a stinkin' travesty.

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