Newsmakers with JR
New Show: What's Behind SBUSD Teachers' Revolt Against Hilda; Fractionals, Fire & Elxn Angst
Raucous wrangling and rowdy slanging perfused this week's episode of Newsmakers TV, amid clashing views of the loud and growing protest campaign by Santa Barbara Unified School District teachers against the leadership of Superintendent Hilda Maldonado.
The unusual outbreak of public criticism by teachers, who dispatched angry letters to SBUSD trustees and demonstrated outside this week's school board meeting, sharply divided our all-star panel of top local journalists, who put forth widely divergent viewpoints of Maldonado's performance since her arrival from L.A. in the teeth of the pandemic almost two years ago.
Josh Molina, whose consistently tough coverage has peeved some district leaders, reprised his recent reporting about the teachers' disparagement and denunciations, not to mention ad hominem attacks, against Maldonado, while the not-so-genial host responded with a defense of the superintendent's effort to bring change to a hidebound institution while simultaneously managing the impacts of the worst public health crisis in a century.
Indy education reporter Jun Starkey entered the fray by emphasizing the complexity and nuance of the ongoing story of friction and falling-out between the superintendent and several hundred classroom employees of the district; behind the public narrative lie a batch of back stories, from the precise, private and personnel reasons for the departures of a string of holdover top administrators and factionalism within the teachers' union, to simmering racial resentments and lingering bitterness over Covid vaccine mandates.
Astonishingly, it was left to Nick Welsh, the Angry Poodle his own self, to emerge as the voice of moderation and calm amid the verbal storm und drang, as he offereds the very sensible observation that the experiences of the past two years have made everybody basically nuts.
There were no injuries.
Plus: an update on high fire season; a look at the latest housing battle, a neighborhood dispute over "fractional ownership"; and sad commentary on the most anemic election season in memory.
It's all here, right now on Newsmakers TV. Check out the show via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here.