The CRCT scandal might just go down in local history as the scandal that wouldn’t die. At first, we were told that it was over. Gov. Deal apparently had seen enough and decided to move on. Then we were told, “Not so fast,” it isn’t even close to being over.
Last week, we learn from investigators that they already have some confessions from teachers within the Dougherty County School System. This corresponds with information I gathered from sources earlier this week. (These sources were secondhand sources, anyway, so they are basically unusable for me.)
Also last week, we have the schools superintendent, Dr. Joshua Murfree, opening his mouth to tell state investigators that they really don’t need to pay attention to anonymous tips. He couched it in language that may sound more benign, but it was really nothing more than an effort to try and tell investigators how to do their job. Make no mistake, they won’t take anonymous tips at face value, but they will listen. The truth is those anonymous tips are a key factor in being able to find leads on where to start and who to talk to.
Dr. Murfree’s comments seem to be nothing more than a hedge; a way to stack the deck of public opinion in case it turns out that these anonymous tips uncover the cheating that is already apparent to so many in this town.
Of course, this followed accusations from the chief investigator that Murfree was “uncooperative”. Even the investigator maintained that it made no sense, because if anyone in the DCSS is clean, it’s him. I concur. There’s a lot you can say about Murfree as superintendent, but it’s a significant stretch to tag him with this one.
However, it seems many in our community see any criticism of Murfree as being over some imaginary line. On a local newspaper’s website, anonymous comments abound with people claiming that Murfree has been perfectly cooperative. There’s no mention of actually how people know he has; perhaps they are just taking Murfree’s word for it. Plus, once again, any criticism of Murfree is slapped with the “racist” label. Honestly, it’s kind of pathetic.
The lead investigator, Richard Hyde, maintains that Murfree has shown up at locations when investigators are conducting their work. That alone can be obstructive. Teachers aren’t likely to talk freely to investigators with the superintendent standing right there. His presence alone can be an obstruction. An intentional obstruction? No. But an obstruction, nonetheless.
Murfree and his supporters need to understand one important thing. That thing is that this scandal needs to be thoroughly investigated. Parties involved in wrongdoing need to be dealt with appropriately. If that calls for Murfree to stay in his office, then so be it. They don’t need him to investigate, so stay away. It’s just not that hard to figure out.
As a community, we need the answers. We need to know what exactly happened and who is responsible. It would take so radical a leap to implicate Murfree that there’s no reason for him to be involved at all. He should just sit in his office and straighten his bowtie or whatever. I honestly don’t care what he does, so long as he stays out of investigators’ way.
Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out what happened and can work to improve our CRCT scores the right way.
Written by Tom Knighton. Tom Knighton is the managing editor of Laws-n-Sausages.com, a political blog focusing on SWGA. He is the former co-owners of SWGAPolitics.com and currently serves as the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia