It was a raw — or at best half-baked — deal in 2008 when a sharply divided school board extended Superintendent Jim Scales’ contract for four years though he was barely halfway through his first term.
The proposed renewal, kept secret from opposing board members and the public until the last possible moment, was as untimely as it was unjustified.
Now, sure enough, Hamilton County is paying a high price for that 5-4 decision. The current board plans to buy out Scales’ contract a year before it was to expire. Lament the cost of that move all you like, but the blame lies with the board members who voted to extend the contract, not with those who now propose to buy it out.
Scales’ leadership has been marked by a series of blunders, from the district’s lack of transparency about violence (read: guns and rioting) to Scales’ instant cave-in when some obscure atheist group pitched a fit over voluntary prayers at football games in Soddy-Daisy.
An equally bewildering miscue came early this year. In the midst of an economic crisis, with little doubt that the schools were going to be facing gargantuan budget shortfalls, Scales pushed for millions of dollars in locally and federally funded across-the-board bonuses for district employees. He was mysteriously flabbergasted when the board said no.
Fast forward a few months, and taxpayers are buying out Scales’ contract, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s equal parts frustrating and offensive. Considering the current polarization, though, even Scales’ supporters should realize that leaving him in office is no recipe for progress.
One thought for the school board: The public is counting on you to pick a good replacement. But even if the person you choose proves stunningly capable and popular in his first two years, let’s have no more early renewals — and no further need for painful buyouts.
We know — because she said so — that Michelle Obama was never once “really proud” of America in her adult life until Democrats started getting behind her husband, rather than Hillary Clinton, in 2008 and America started agreeing with her on what type of change the country needed.
Now the president himself has upped the ante. He doesn’t think America was a great country for most of its history. And he, too, was candid enough to say so.
Addressing taxpayer “contributions” to Social Security and Medicare — which are going bankrupt — the president opined in a speech at George Washington University, “We would not be a great country without those commitments.”
Let’s see: Social Security didn’t enter the scene until 1935, and Medicare came three decades later. So to follow the president’s math, America wasn’t “great” in the long stretch from 1776 to 1935, or perhaps even 1965. It’s only in the 76 or 46 years since those entitlements were enacted that we achieved what Obama’s exalted judgment condescends to deem greatness.
“Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were among those who led a good nation, perhaps, but not a great one in Obama’s eyes,” Chad Stafko writes on the American Thinker website. “Despite our growth from an infant republic in 1776 to the dominant nation of the world by mid-20th century, a period which included victories in two world wars, along with massive technological, industrial, and medical advances, still we were not a great nation according to Obama. ...
“Sadly, President Obama does not define the greatness of America by the opportunities afforded in this country nor by its people ... . Instead, Obama defines American greatness by government.”
Which is why he doesn’t get it when so many Americans think he doesn’t get it. He does not understand that America’s splendor is found in its limits on — not its expansion of — government’s power and size. He does not grasp what a tectonic shift our nation’s founding was away from the pernicious notion that people exist to serve rulers, and toward the ideal that rulers exist to protect the religious, political and property rights of people.
With the possible exception of Jimmy Carter, it would be hard to think of a president who has been more down on this country than Barack Obama. Now we know why he embarked on an overseas apology tour on our unwilling behalf, and suggested that America is no more exceptional than Britain or even bankrupt Greece: He was just saying what’s on his heart.
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