This week, according to the Delaware County Daily Times, another new superintendent was named to the Chester-Upland School District.
This appointment is right on the heels of the judge ruling practically no limit to what the receiver may do to save the district from financial collapse including selling off everything, outsourcing anything, and to request proposals from charter schools to take over the schools if need be.
Dr. Carol D. Birks officially took her position as the new superintendent of the Chester Upland School District Tuesday and comes highly qualified with her HBCU undergraduate degree and Ivy League advanced degrees.
She comes to Chester-Upland as a superintendent from a troubled Connecticut school district where she previously served as assistant superintendent and chief of staff for Hartford Public Schools, and held a variety of other educational roles, including principal, teacher, adjunct professor and executive leadership coach while having served on several non-profit boards of directors, including advisory boards for colleges and universities; is an active member of Delta Sigma Sorority Inc., The Links Inc. and The Greater Fairfield County Foundation Inc.; and is a regional board member for Hartford Healthcare St. Vincent’s Hospital.
In these days of increased scrutiny on hiring practices among blacks, especially in executive and leadership roles, it’s great to see a qualified black lady take this position because we know there are probably a lot of non-black candidates looking for this kinda of work.
In the Daily Times article she stated her support for “school choice.” That’s usually a dogwhistle for being okay with charter schools. My opinion of school choice means students should be able to attend high achieving public schools within the county, but no one is talking about consolidating into a countywide school district. So, we’re left with the limited choices within our own city limits. (But why do our best athletes have no problem attending schools outside the district? That’s a form of school choice no one wants to challenge).
Folks around here better get used to seeing some, if not all, public schools go charter. Dr. Birks says she has no preference and thinks parents should have the opportunity to choose what is the best learning experience for their children. My guess is she’ll work to offload the expense of carrying the public schools as the judge suggests and get a few new charter schools to shoulder the financial burden.
I also believe the receiver will try to maintain some semblance of a Chester-Upland School District. Only time will tell how that will work.
Folks are sending around articles on Dr. Birks’ experience at her old job as evidence of what she’s going to do here. I think it does add a bit of caution to the decision but from what I read it’s hard to gauge the situation she was working under. At least here, she’ll be working directly with Dr. Baughn who believes they’ll work well together and sees something in her.
As a community journalist, she certain has this platform to express herself to the readers if she sees fit. I won’t be chasing her down for interviews because that’s not what I do, but I’ll post any submission that comes this way (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I welcome Dr. Birks. Hopefully, Chester is a much better fit for her than Hartford. We’d love to hear from her here but if we don’t we’ll just do what we do and create our own opinions based on the results we see.