Vidrine’s contract should not be extended

Behind closed doors Tuesday night, school board President Bill Wilson, reportedly began lobbying board members for an extension of the Superintendents contract. That decision would be premature.

If South Monroe schools have not improved academically, parents and the community are locked out of decisions and even Southside board members are routinely ignored, why should any Southside board member seriously consider extending Vidrine’s contract?

Under Vidrine, Southside academics has been a complete failure. Some elementary schools have bottomed out in English and Math, resulting in state scores that reveal less than ten percent of students at several schools are proficient in reading and math.

Nearly 150 students begin the first grade each year as much as two years behind, without benefit of preschool or headstart, making it literally impossible for principals to improve performance with a growing number of students ultimately entering high school two years behind, and extremely low reading and math skills.

Vidrine has not shown any interest in addressing the root cause of the South Monroe problem.

The Southside‘s two high schools have not improved academically. While Carroll High School has a “C” letter grade the state says it is an “F” academically. It’s “C” grade is the result of bonus points for participation in the state Jump Start Program.

Academically, Carroll has not moved. Neither has Wossman, which has a “B” letter grade, but the state says its students perform on the “D” level academically.

Like Carroll, Wossman’s “B” letter grade came as a result of bonus points it received for Jump Start participation. Its academics did not improve.

This is not a reflection on the teachers or administrators, but it is a failure on the part of the district to address the root cause of poor Southside performance.

What have we gained from Vidrine that has helped South Monroe schools academically?

Very little.

We have some new buildings, but our average ACT score is still 16, and not improving. Our graduation rate has improved because Vidrine pushes programs that give many students diluted diplomas that they can’t use to attend four year colleges.

To renew Vidrine’s contract would be a mistake.

We can do better.

We deserve a fresh approach that can address the root cause of our problem.