To all those who have to prove yourselves every day at work or risk getting a bad review, missing a pay raise, or getting fired, it’s time to relax.

If you own your own business, skip the daily efforts to achieve growth and profitability.

If you’re in sales, forget about your quotas.

If you’re a teacher, throw away the curriculum and test schedule and talk to your kids about what it’s like to be them in 2016 – no one will care except the kids, who are aching for this conversation.

Thanks to the standards set by the N-MUSD, and, I suspect, much of the education establishment, all you need to do to get more compensation as superintendent is this:

  • Be exceptional in promoting an environment in which staff members work together to make sure every child in the district succeeds.
  • Succeed in communicating with the board, staff members and students and seeking input from each group.
  • Be on campuses, in classrooms working with the teachers and principals.
  • Communicate on a weekly basis with the board and other staff members by email.

That’s it! Just walk around, be nice, talk it up, and send a lot of e-mails.

What you don’t have to do it show any progress in academic performance. None. Not on the list of the criteria for a merit raise just handed to Supt. Frederick Navarro, his fourth raise in a little over two years, rubber stamped 6-0 by the school board club.

(Despite this raise, which is a tax-sheltered annuity, according to my calculations, Deputy Supt. Paul Reed still makes more than his boss.)

What is particularly galling is the timing, which is clear evidence that the school board club has no concept of the message they are sending: If the Supt. does not have to be held to any specific performance metrics, why should anyone else? It cannot work both ways. Either everyone is held to specific standards of academic performance in order to qualify for a raise and/or promotion, or no one is (COLA raises not included here).

But here’s the real problem: When parents look at academic performance, particularly the abysmal Common Core scores in Costa Mesa, whom do you think they hold responsible? The school board club? Nope. The superintendent? Nope. For parents, whether their kid is doing well is a direct reflection of the quality of the teacher in the classroom. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.

Superintendent Frederick Navarro can’t need the extra $20K he just got handed for walking around and sending e-mails because he’s already making a lot of money. Instead of taking the dough, he should have put it on hold and made the following statement: “I appreciate the trust and confidence placed in me by the school board club trustees, however, I have chosen to delay receiving this taxpayer gift increase until next October when the new Common Core scores are revealed. Should those scores show an increase of [insert percentage here] I will deserve the additional compensation and be proud to accept it at that time.”

But he didn’t do that. In a way, it’s good for teachers and anyone else working in the district. As of yesterday, their performance is no longer tied to any specific performance standards. So now, they can all just relax and have a good time.

Here’s the Daily Pilot story on the latest handout:


Steve Smith