Kress and the merry morons

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Exciting? Come on. Does any fortysomething, successful Anglo male in this city actually give a damn about how pimply black and Hispanic kids do on their reading and math tests? "I live and die by the test results," Kress says. "I await them anxiously. I'm full of trepidation. It's kind of like the big law school exam. I'm the most nervous person I know. Can the kids read and write and think effectively, yes or no? And are they doing it better than last year? That's all I care about."

So let's get rid of him. Yeah. Throw the bum out. As Roy Williams, local sage, says: "You're not a friend of the black community. You're not a friend of the humanity."

Unfortunately, Williams and his friends may just get what they want. Smart men with better things to do don't stick around for more abuse forever. Besides, Kress says he's accomplished about 80 percent of what he'd wanted to do. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot more to be done, but Kress just isn't saying whether he's going to be the one to do it.

"We really do have a chance to become a first-class urban school system," Kress says, "and it wouldn't take a lot to get there. Just a modicum of racial understanding. Just a modicum of business leadership. Just a modicum of community commitment. Just a modicum of responsibility on the part of the media.

"And I don't mean white-washing the negative stories. I mean recognizing what the best negative stories are--why we can't get good people to run for the school board; why the business community won't get involved with these schools; why this city won't make the public schools its No. 1 priority."

What Sandy Kress doesn't seem to understand is that this city usually gets what it deserves. Which is why you can be sure he won't run for the school board again. And when he's gone, we'll wish he were still there--and maybe, just maybe, the noisy crowd who drove him off will miss him too.

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Laura Miller

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