THE D.C. SCHOOL BOARD is busily searching for a new superintendent. It plans to name one by July 1. But this school board should not be trusted to search for anything but trouble. The selection of the next superintendent of schools will largely define what city schools are to be like in the next few years. To give that responsibility to the current board is to go against good sense and all the experience of the last decade.
In November, parents will have a chance to say who should be on the school board, and that board should pick the next superintendent. If the current board picks a new superintendent and gives him the usual three-year contract, the incoming board will be in a bind. Either it will have to pay off the new superintendent or it will be forced to live with another board's choice. The key to improving the public schools is improving the school board, but improving the board will have little effect if the new board cannot have its own superintendent, who, in turn, chooses his own staff and makes his own plan for changing the schools.
To begin that chain of events, good candidates must forms slates to give voters some handle on the great number of unknown people who are likely to run in the election. A total overhaul of the board is needed. In the past, when some members of the school board were changed, the new members were drawn into old fights and old unproductive habits by the old members and thus were rendered ineffective. Five school board members will be running for reelection this year and every one of them should be ousted: R. Calvin Lockridge; Alaire B. Rieffel; Carol L. Schwartz; Frank Shaffer-Corona and Barbara Lett Simmons. Until the public makes that change, acting superintendent James Guines should be allowed to stay on.