Nation’s Top Educator Is Canned in Miami

Published September 12, 2008

Posted Sept. 12, 2008 – Rudy Crew, who just seven short months ago was lauded as the No. 1 school superintendent in America, was canned amid charges that his action within Miami-Dade County schools didn’t quite match the rhetoric.

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But Crew, who saw student achievement rise notably during his four years on the job and was a finalist for the prestigious Broad Prize for Urban Education, was voted out as the district’s $5.5 billion budget is in disarray and racial angst between Crew, an African American, and his mostly Cuban-American board reached a fever pitch, The Associated Press reports.

In fact, AP reports, the tension at the weekly school board meetings was so tight that residents regularly tuned in for “South Florida’s hottest reality show. 

"He is viewed highly as a respected authority in the field of education," Daniel Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, the organization that honored him last winter, told AP. "Maybe it would be best for him if he was not as outspoken, but that's who he is."

Renier Diaz de la Portilla, a board member who is among Crew's staunchest critics, said that in addition to spending too much he has failed to connect with the community.

"He's alienated the real people out there who are feeling the cut in services," said "This is about performance. It's not about ethnicity."

Still, it is difficult to argue with growth, says Crew who says he has been forced to navigate South Florida’s "horrific political landscape."

Before he got there, Miami-Dade students were at the bottom on state math and reading exams; classrooms were overcrowded; and a state audit found that the district had overpaid for property by millions, AP reports.

Was the decision by the Miami-Dade School Board to part ways with Crew a fair one? Click “Discuss Now,” on the upper right to post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff

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