Fresno Unified: Commitment to Excellence or Commitment to Failure?

Fresno Unified: Commitment to Excellence or Commitment to Failure?

Ignoring well-established best practices, narrow majority of the Fresno Unified School Board decided on March 20 to limit its search for the district’s next superintendent to internal candidates only.

As the City of Fresno’s hiring of Paco Balderrama from Oklahoma City to be police chief demonstrates, a commitment to excellence demands a statewide, if not a national search, for Bob Nelson’s successor. Balderrama has been an outstanding leader as reflected in the reduction of homicides and other violent crimes.

Bold and innovative leadership is exactly what Fresno Unified needs to end decades of shockingly low student achievement and to stem a recent tide of dropping attendance and high chronic absenteeism.

Fresno’s economic prosperity is directly linked to the school district’s performance. Until Fresno Unified produces more students prepared to excel in the workforce or college, businesses will continue to face hiring challenges and it will be impossible to diversify our economy.

Fresno Unified receives more than $2 billion a year to prepare our young people to succeed in life. However, it continues to fail students, families, and the community in this trusted mission every day and every year.

We demand that the School Board embrace best practices and conduct a wide search to identify and hire the exceptional superintendent that Fresno deserves.

Anything less is a disservice to students and a commitment to failure.

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