Drew's Views

Drew's Views

May 10th, 2013 in Opinion Free Press

A mother holds her daughter as the executive director for Chattanooga Organized for Action speaks to parents about saving their community Early Head Start program at North Chattanooga Recreation Center.

A mother holds her daughter as the executive...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

HEADLINE: Sequester brings cuts to North Chattanooga Head Start program

THE RECAP: The North Chattanooga Head Start is among sites across the nation closing because of federal sequestration. Federally funded Head Start services will be discontinued for 70,000-plus children throughout America, but North Chattanooga is the only site of the 15 in Chattanooga that will close. The move is expected to keep more than 60 children from the Head Start/Early Head Start programs.

DREW'S VIEW: Oh no! That means North Chattanooga parents are going to have to take responsibility for their own children, rather than pawning them off on a government program that has been proven ineffective. Heaven forbid!

Not one child who was, or would have been, served by the North Chattanooga Head Start program will be any worse off because it closed. That's because Head Start doesn't work. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services discovered as much in a recent study.

The government study, which hoped to find positive outcomes as a result of Head Start, instead found that, "Out of the 142 outcomes measured in four categories -- cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices -- Head Start produced no measurable patterns of beneficial outcomes for its students." Zero.

Head Start also failed to "improve the school readiness of children from low-income families," which is kind of the whole point of Head Start.

Given the total ineffectiveness of Head Start and the program's staggering price tag ($200 billion and counting), it's too bad every Head Start classroom in America isn't shuttered and replaced with a voucher that allows low-income working parents to place their kids in a high quality pre-K or child care center.


HEADLINE: East Ridge city manager pool down to zero

THE RECAP: Chris Dorsey, the last man standing in the East Ridge city manager job search, dropped out Tuesday after being offered the job and a salary of $120,000 a year. The search began with 82 applicants, but only four qualified for the position.

Eddie Phillips will remain interim city manager while also serving as public safety director.

DREW'S VIEW: With Dorsey turning down the East Ridge city manager gig -- apparently in hopes of landing the vacant Signal Mountain city manager post -- East Ridge residents (like yours truly) are left wondering why the city can't find a sizable pool of decent candidates to fill its empty city manager position.

The frequent turnover of the position doesn't help matters. Nor does the fact that the most recent city manager, Tim Gobble, was pressured to resign after a list of questionable actions, leaving a mess for the next city manager to clean up.

But the real reason East Ridge could only find four qualified applicants who wanted the position is the city's screwy charter. The nitwits sitting on the 2008 city charter commission included a passage requiring the city manager to hold a bachelor's degree in public administration.

How many people have you met in your life with a B.S. in public administration? If you know one, you know one more than most people. And how many of the small handful of people with a bachelor's in public administration want to run the East Ridge municipal government?

Here's how little sense the charter requirement makes: I have a master's degree in public policy, which is darn near the same thing as public administration -- and it's from a top-50 university -- and I'm not qualified to apply. But someone with a bachelor's degree in public administration from an online college is.

The East Ridge city manager gig isn't a bad job. The city has a lot to offer -- especially if you like tattoo shops, flea markets, payday loan outfits, pawn shops, thrift stores, fast food restaurants and disc golf courses that flood every time it sprinkles. Plus, judging by the City Council's willingness to offer Dorsey a $120,000 salary for a position that shouldn't pay a dime over $90,000, city leaders are willing to overpay significantly for the right person.

In the end, rather than trying to shoehorn in someone as city manager who isn't right for the city just to meet the charter's ridiculous requirements, East Ridge leaders should let interim city manager Eddie Phillips continue in the position until the charter can be properly amended to allow for a larger pool of qualified candidates. It's better to wait and make the right decision rather than to rush into (yet another) wrong one.


HEADLINE: Signal Mountain police arrest 17 teen partygoers

THE RECAP: Signal Mountain police arrested the students from the private Baylor School, Girls Preparatory School and the McCallie School at a house party last weekend and charged them with drinking alcohol under age. Many of those arrested are days from graduating, and the incident is not expected to prevent their graduation.

DREW'S VIEW: Oh, to live in a community where the police department's greatest concern is breaking up a house party. There has to be a better use of tax dollars and police time than arresting a few high school seniors for drinking in a private residence. If not, the Signal Mountain Police Department is overstaffed and needs to cut some cops from its bloated force.

"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared recently in the Times Free Press. Follow Drew Johnson on Twitter: @Drews_Views.