About three weeks after the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers dropped a public bomb on the district administration and the school board club, the Daily Pilot got around to covering the story. The headline reads, “Investigation will look into claims made by principal in Gold Ribbon Award application.”

My headline would have read, “Teacher Union charges school with ‘untruths and inaccuracies’ in award application.” But that’s me. At least they got around to it.

At this point, everyone is running for cover, including the Orange County Dept. of Education, which, according to the Pilot story, sent a validation team to the school and reported that the information in the application was consistent with its findings at the school. The story also notes that the OCDE does not plan to intervene, stating that they are here “to support the district, we’re not an overseer.’

Uh, sorry, but overseeing is exactly what this crack validation team did when they visited the Mariners campus. I could not help but wonder whether they took a cue from the N-MUSD school board club and rubber-stamped the Gold Ribbon application. After all, there are numerous charges of “untruths and inaccuracies.”

Then there is the investigation by the firm of Nicole Miller and Associates, which has been a past services provider for the district. In order maintain absolute impartiality, the district should have consulted with the union to come up with an investigative firm that has no previous ties to either body. But that’s just me.

And where is the superintendent in all of this? Good question. He was not at either Mariners meeting, he did not comment on the scandal at the last school board club meeting, and he is not quoted in the Pilot story, preferring, it seems, to let others do the heavy lifting.


Steve Smith