Knowing where the buck stops

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 2004

In a time when admitting even the possibility of a mistake is seen as a sign of political weakness, and that nobody seems to takes responsibility for anything, it was refreshing Tuesday to hear Suffolk’s top school official explain a situation which will no doubt leave hundreds of parents deeply confused.

&uot;We just blew it,&uot; Superintendent Milton R. Liverman said in explaining how hundreds of letters went out to Elephants Fork parents last week by mistake.

The letters informed the parents that their child’s school had failed to meet achievement standards set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act and that as such, some of them could have had the option of sending their children to another school.


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But, wait a minute, a closer inspection of the data revealed that Elephant’s Fork did meet the NCLB requirements, so on Tuesday officials sent another letter correcting the first one.

It would have been easy – and certainly tempting, no doubt – for Liverman to simply lay the blame for the fiasco at the feet of an overly eager, or even incompetent, underling. Instead, he chose not absolve himself of responsibility.

He handled the situation correctly. He is, after all, ultimately the one responsible for anything that happens with regard to the schools.

It would be nice to see our national leaders adopt the same &uot;the buck stops here&uot; mentality.