Editorial: Failure to communicate

Seeking School Superintendent Karen Baldwin’s resignation must not have been an easy decision for the Board of Education to make, but it was the right call.

In today’s world, technology has made “cut and paste” practices easier, probably more common, and perhaps even more accepted. But it is still wrong.

Students are warned not to plagiarize. They’re punished for it if caught. It is, after all, stealing someone else’s work. For the superintendent of schools to be caught in the act is simply not acceptable.

Dr. Baldwin’s tenure as superintendent and the circumstances of her departure raise an issue the school board should focus on as it seeks a new $200,000-plus-per-year leader for the school system: the ability to communicate.

Ridgefielders who listened to the tortured bureaucratic jargon that so often dominated discussion at school board meetings in recent years may well wonder if the instinct to borrow words didn’t mask a lack of confidence in simple speech — the good old-fashioned practice of saying things in a way people can actually understand.

It’s hard not to wonder how the school board, back when it was last hiring a superintendent, didn’t see the reliance on bureaucratic edu-babble as a red flag.

This time around, it should remember that mistake, and be skeptical of candidates who seem estranged from direct statements and simple declarative sentences.