Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Report Card on Tulsa's Dr. Z Full of Zeroes

The pressure is building on Tulsa School Superintendent Michael Zolkoski after more bad news about the embattled Tulsa Academic Center, a TPS alternative school for troubled students.

A page-one story in yesterday's Tulsa World gave details of a community team's review of the TAC, and the results were not pretty. According to the paper, TPS board president Gary Percefull called the first year of TAC a "colossal failure."

Among the most telling evidence against Dr. Zolkoski was his failure to take advice. The World quoted District Judge Doris Fransein, who slammed Zolkoski for spurning the assistance of community leaders and organizations. Judge Fransein said:

You have a superintendent who, in the past, refused to listen. Every time we tried to sit down, he knew it all…. None of us could do anything to break through and say, 'Can we help you? 'Would you listen to someone's suggestion? This is a community you are not familiar with, Dr. Z, that we can give you tips about.'

This is a damning criticism of a major Tulsa education official, a leader who, as Fransein says, seemed to know it all and refused to listen to others. Other team members had similar criticisms, none of which reflected well on Dr. Z's judgment or leadership.

Then there's the matter of Dr. Z's proposed $50,000 bonus and recent performance, which the World blasted in an editorial Tuesday. The newspaper doesn't mince words: "No bonus; how quickly can you clean out your desk?"

The editorial points out that Dr. Z presided over the TAC debacle, a school that was "crowded. violent and out of control." The conditions there, the paper continues, were unforgivable.

We're not the betting type, but we'd say the odds aren't good for Dr. Z's longevity at TPS. As the World puts it, "We can do better."

No comments: