Superintendent Accused of Theft and Nobody Draws Conclusions

Talk about a double standard. When a charter school advocate misrepresents his credentials it’s the end of education reform as we know it, but when a superintendent of schools is accused of stealing money from a school district, it’s an isolated incident with no overarching ramifications whatsoever?

That’s what a reader might be led to believe in the Hartford Courant.

The Courant has reported quite a bit recently on New London superintendent candidate Terrence Carter and former Family Urban Schools of Excellence CEO Michael Sharpe.

Carter and Sharpe have at least three things in common: Both are black men, both have roots in education reform and both were accused of misrepresenting themselves as doctorate holders.

The incidents, according to Courant reporter Kathleen Megan — who quoted union leaders prominently — suggest “that nontraditional school-reform efforts are unraveling and could collapse under their own weight.”

Meanwhile, union leaders, education advocates and the Courant’s editorial board are silent when news that the superintendent of Plymouth schools was suspended after being charged with misappropriating school district money in Hebron, where she previously served as superintendent of schools.

Eleanor Cruz is neither black, nor male nor rooted in education reform. Draw your own conclusions.

The truth is, allegations of fiscal misappropriation are not unique to Cruz — not by a long shot. It’s a sad truth but a truth nonetheless: No school district is immune to criminal behavior.

Every child and every teacher and every school in every district must be protected from that kind of misdeed when they crop up, and, make no mistake, they will.

The education reform community is not “collapsing under their own weight”as a result of the concerns about Sharpe and Carter, any more than Hebron’s school district is going to collapse as a result of Cruz’s alleged activities.

What do you think?

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