The real superintendent problem: DuPont and Polsen think they’re smarter than you

A firestorm of controversy has erupted in the community after the public debut of the man chosen to be CCISD’s next superintendent, and CCISD has gone into full damage control mode.

As fearful as we are about the prospects of Loudoun County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eric Williams, the controversy shines a blinding spotlight on an even more sinister reality: CCISD’s Board of Trustees and their swampy subordinates think they’re smarter than you, they know better than you, and that you don’t deserve the right to question their decisions.

As we’ve documented, since CCISD revealed Williams as its much-hyped “sole finalist” for superintendent on November 9th, CCISD parents and others in the community have loudly voiced their concerns about the choice. This was in part because the Loudoun County parents also took to social media, some to say good luck and good riddance, some to kindly offer a warning.

CCISD’s response to parent pushback has been telling. Our favorite top-dollar PR flack, Elaina “Domino Effect” Polsen, has been working overtime pushing a damage control campaign that seemingly could’ve made Deepwater Horizon look like the Boston Tea Party.

Tuesday afternoon, once it was abundantly clear community reaction was anti-Williams, Polsen pushed out a hurried statement from Board of Trustees President Laura DuPont, stating that the board “stands behind its unanimous decision” on Williams. Pro tip: when you have to reaffirm your decision 24 hours after making the decision, maybe it wasn’t a great decision.

This had little impact, fortunately, as the CCISD community started to take a closer look at Williams and the frightening list of awful policies he has enacted in Loudoun County. Polsen realized she needed to work harder to reclaim the narrative.

Thursday, in CCISD’s Car Rider Line podcast – leave it to CCISD to name its podcast after something parents hate with a passion – Polsen hosted a discussion with DuPont and CCISD’s unofficial Snarkmaster General, Trustee Jay Cunningham. The three attempted to further justify the decision.

Cunningham was particularly condescending, with comments like, “Our Internet works too…” in reference to the board’s supposed due diligence effort on Williams. He even played the race card, suggesting that as an African American he’s uniquely qualified to give Williams his anti-racism seal of approval. Yep, it was as bad as it seems.

After the podcast fiasco, Polsen probably realized that the more we hear from the trustees, the worse this whole thing is going to go. So on Friday afternoon, CCISD rolled out a series of Q&A videos featuring Williams in his own words, answering questions about all the hot-button issues parents have voiced concerns about: closing schools, critical race theory, and special needs students.

We’ll give Polsen credit: the videos were a great idea. Too bad they were executed about as well as Crossfire Hurricane. Williams would’ve been more believable if he couldn’t be seen clearly reading the scripts that Polsen no doubt carefully wrote for him. Williams’ greatest trait was proudly on display: he does exactly what he’s told.

Throughout the week, we’ve also seen the trustees take to social media themselves, en masse, in defense of their decision to select Williams. Scott Bowen, feeling the heat from constituents for inexplicably siding with his crooked cronies instead of doing the right thing and taking a stand, posted twice on Facebook this week about the decision. Bowen said he never would have voted for Williams if he thought the board couldn’t prevent him from implementing the policies that have been so divisive in Loudoun County. Apparently the much-lauded nationwide search couldn’t turn up someone with a little less baggage.

Why are we highlighting all this? Stop and think about this chain of events. Why this “sole finalist” charade? Why the PR blitz? Why are trustees personally taking to social media – a rare occurrence — to defend their behind-closed-doors decision?

Because of you. Perhaps for the first time in their trustee careers, the CCISD board is feeling the heat from a community that usually ignores them. And all this time, while nobody’s been paying attention, they have enacted a long list of bad policies that are turning our beloved school system into their own perverse social experiment.

These policies include:

  • Eliminating letter grades for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year
  • Intermediate school students no longer needing to pass social studies and science to advance to the next grade
  • Hiding class ranking data from high school freshmen and sophomores until the end of each year
  • Years-long special education incompetence with everything from busing to IEPs.
  • A rigged school boundary reassignment process that unfairly left several adversely affected neighborhoods without representation and gerrymandered low-income students out of Clear Springs HS

That’s just the beginning, and the effects are already showing. In case you missed it, the state already sees CCISD’s quality of education in decline, dropping CCISD’s state rating last year from an A to a B. The rating not only affects how well students are learning, but also the value of real estate within CCISD boundaries. Clearly this board is not taking CCISD in the right direction.

The lesson in all this? Laura DuPont and her cabal think they know better than you, and that they’re above any level of accountability. That’s why Elaina Polsen’s PR blitz hasn’t focused on highlighting Williams’ leadership qualities. Instead it’s been focused on trying to browbeat skeptics into submission.

If the board was really interested in transparency and the opinions of the community, they would have brought several finalists before the community, welcomed community input, and then chosen a finalist. That is what happens in plenty of communities like Green Bay, Aspen Colorado, and Indianapolis, to name a few. That’s even what the Galveston Daily News is calling for: transparency. As editor Michael Smith wrote, “Part of the heat arising from this decision lies in the fact people feel hoodwinked and marginalized by the process; they might be wrong about the former, but they’re absolutely right about the latter.”

Make no mistake: there’s an obvious reason why multiple finalists weren’t chosen here. The trustees are looking for a sock puppet, someone who will go along to get along, enacting their foolish policies without any independent thought whatsoever.

CCISD’s board fears transparency with every fiber of their being. They can sense the community is waking up, and they don’t like it. What happens next is anyone’s guess. This website, and hopefully many of you, will be watching.

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