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'Schools Miss Point: Education'

October 11, 1987

As a major object of discussion in Joseph Bell's commentary of Sept. 27, "Schools Miss Point: Education," I feel compelled to respond. My purpose is to clarify the misconception under which he wrote his somewhat hurtful commentary.

Let me explain the context of the "four major goals." In responding to a question on my perception of the role of a superintendent, I mentioned a recent national study of school boards that identified four major interests: positive image, improved test scores, labor peace and winning athletic programs. Although I might include these in a much longer list of personal objectives, these are not my goals.

Actually, the common interests of boards when understood in the proper context are not that unworthy. Nevertheless, I do indeed recognize that my primary responsibility to the children of Irvine is to maximize the quality of instruction and provide the best comprehensive education possible. What is more than mildly irritating is the fact that a colleague in the greater educational community would not exercise a minimal level of investigative effort before launching what I feel to be an unfair attack.

I have no quarrel with The Times' misquote. Although I must admit I was bothered by the article's focus on goals that are not mine, I felt I would have an appropriate opportunity to explain the error. I was wrong.

Frankly, I might suggest that Bell's public commentary is inexcusable. The fact is, however, that forgiveness plays a significant role in my life. I need it often enough to recognize it must be given as well. I, therefore, accept his comments in the context of misunderstanding in which they were written.

My contract with the Irvine Unified School District calls for the submission of specific targets for the district in December of this year. I would certainly want Mr. Bell and any other interested citizen to express concerns if they find my direction lacking in depth or substance at that time.



Irvine Unified School District

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