Thursday, June 10, 2004

Cure to Dropout Problem: Hispanic Superintendent

Houston Independent School District (HISD) is searching for a new Superintendent. The current Superintendent, Dr. Kaye Stripling, is expected to resign. Her resignation will open up the top job in the nation's 7th largest school district, and will spawn a nation wide search to find the best person for this job.

As one might expect, the laundry list of qualification requirements is lengthy. Obviously, candidates must have experience as teachers, principals, and district administrators. Dr. Stripling, for example, has served as principal at 3 schools and worked in district level administrative positions for 15 years prior to being named HISD superintendent.

Although Dr. Stripling has not resigned yet, some political activists in Houston are already expressing their opinions regarding the new Superintendent. One might expect to hear that the new Superintendent have a Doctorate in Education. One might expect to hear that the new Superintendent must have previous experience as a Superintendent at a smaller school district. However, one does not expect to hear that the new Superintendent must be Hispanic. But that's the battle cry of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Here is what Mary Ramos, state Deputy Director of LULAC, has to say about the new candidate: "I truly want it to be a Hispanic so we can take care of the dropout problem. If it's not a Hispanic, there will be a tremendous outcry, I can guarantee you that."

Mary Ramos

Please tell me, Mary, how are Hispanics uniquely qualified to lead school districts? How are Hispanics uniquely qualified to handle dropout problems? Does LULAC really believe that a 16 year old kid in an HISD school is going to think twice about dropping out because a Hispanic is in charge of the district? Exactly what is it about Hispanic candidates that makes them better candidates? Is there some District Administration gene that is unique to persons of Hispanic origin?

Perhaps Mary doesn't buy into all that bunk that our nation's founding fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence. Or perhaps she's unaware of the contents. So as a public service reminder for Mary and the rest of LULAC, here is a brief excerpt from our nation's Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Ms. Ramos, those words were written over 200 years ago and still hold true today. Our nation is great today because millions of political, civic, and corporate leaders have held them dear. For you to espouse such blatantly racist views is an insult to your fellow Hispanics, and to every man and woman who have fought to make this nation great.

My advice to Ms. Ramos: If you really think that it is essential for School District Superintendents to be Hispanics, I'll gladly draw you a map to Monterrey or Tijuana. I can guarantee that the Superintendents of those cities are Hispanics. In the meantime, I hope and pray that HISD hires the most qualified person for the position, be they black, white, Hispanic, or Samoan.

No comments: