I wonder what would have happened at Mariners had the Gold Ribbon controversy not happened. Wondering about this has ramifications for every school.

In what was clearly a vote of no confidence in two site meetings, people expressed extreme dissatisfaction with former principal Laura Sacks’ performance and many of the comments had nothing to do with the Gold Ribbon mess. People spoke at school board club meetings saying the same things, though they were prompted to do so by Gold Ribbon.

So, let’s pretend the Gold Ribbon application scandal had not happened.

Parents and teachers would still have been unhappy with Sacks’ performance but she would probably still be the principal because no one would be stepping forward to complain about her. It took the Gold Ribbon application to jump start the process.

That should send a message to the school board club. It should tell them that these so-called experts on whom they rely so much and whose proposals they rubber stamp at every meeting, have failed in a key area of any organization.

That area is communication and good communication is essential to the success of any organization, any relationship, any project.

Mariners’ teachers did not speak up – they did not communicate – because they feared retaliation which, BTW, has been rearing its ugly head in the district for a long time. Parents did not speak up until teachers did.

The question that should be asked of Superintendent Frederick Navarro, a Ph.D., by a concerned member of the administration or the school board club should be, “Why did this go on so long?” or “Why did it take a scandal to bring the teacher and parent dissatisfaction to light?”

Unfortunately, neither of those questions will be asked because the Bear St. bureaucrats and the school board club do not care about being so introspective. They like the status quo and work very hard to preserve it. I’ll state again that when all is said and done, there will be an attempt to contain the Gold Ribbon scandal to Mariners El and to one person – some rogue who completed the application alone.

Bet on it.

What will never be examined or discussed are the larger issues of the lack of a proper communications channel to prevent future dissatisfaction – at any school – from reaching a similar boiling point, or whether there are “untruths and inaccuracies” on any of the other 11 Gold Ribbon applications.

The cycle of rubber stamping, complacency, arrogance, lack of transparency, insulting behavior, and shabby work environments will not end until there are term limits and voting by area instead voting for trustees district-wide. That will help generate new faces which may create a new culture on the board. I’d also like to see a living wage for the trustees to help widen the candidate pool, but that must originate in Sacramento.

Until these changes occur, you can expect more of the same.

Bet on that, too.

Steve Smith