A Moody problemThe Jefferson County School Board voted last night to terminate Director of Schools (sometimes still called School Superintendent) Doug Moody in a very contentious meeting:
The 7,300-student system earned four As in value-added test scores that measure how much elementary and middle school students progress each year in math, reading/language, social studies and science.
The system earned straight As in writing achievement at the elementary, middle and high school levels, improving last year's high school B.
In achievement scores, Jefferson County improved from Cs to Bs in elementary and middle school science and social studies and maintained Bs in math and reading/language.
I'm not all that big on value-added tests as a measure of numbers, but by anyone's standard this kind of improvement is impressive. In talking to folks around town today, no one can seem to come up with a really good reason why Moody got the axe.
Alderman Mickey Smith pointed out that he serves with Moody on the Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority and that Moody is a straight-up character. In fact, everyone in White Pine I spoke with this morning seemed to like Doug Moody and few think he was doing a terrible job at running the county school system. Jim McCorkle, who is likely the living incarnation of the 19th Century idea of the Gentleman Farmer-and is the town's resident Democrat-pointed out that this sort of thing is "what we get" for allowing school boards to choose superintendents as opposed to allowing the people to choose them (as used to be the case).
Whether you think Doug Moody should have been fired by the Jefferson County School Board or not, Moody's successor will have to deal with the same ultimate issue that he had to deal with. Moody had to try and stretch every dollar in this under-funded rural county to get the most out of the least amount of money. If test scores can in any way be used as a meter for success, he actually did pretty well with what he had to work with.
I can't really say with any certainty whether the Board played politics with Moody's dismissal, but I can say that the problems he had to deal with aren't going away.
Labels: Local politics