These days Russell is employed as business development coordinator for Scientific Learning, an education technology firm. Later this month the school board will consider approving a $290,500 no-bid contract with Scientific Learning to provide software and consulting services to 40 schools. During the board's September 5 meeting, when the issue first came up, Crew told his bosses the district had been doing business with Scientific Learning even before his son was hired. He recommended approval, adding that his son's job with the software developer had nothing to do with the choice.
On page 95 Crew writes, "A particular school in Miami had been for many years ranked as an F under Florida's school grading system. I wasn't happy about it, and neither was Manny Diaz, the mayor of the City of Miami. But instead of just hoping things would get better or pointing fingers, he committed himself and the City of Miami to helping us turn around that school. Mayor Diaz put a lot of the city's money and time into mentorship programs and after-school programs, and by God, that school got off the F list. Since then, the MDCPS and the City of Miami have made a commitment to have absolutely no schools graded lower than a B."
Reality: There are 19 C schools, nine D schools, and five F schools in Miami.
School board member Marta Perez, a vocal critic of the superintendent, says she purchased her used copy of Only Connect for six dollars on Amazon, where it is ranked 6534 in books sold. "With all the time he has spent writing and promoting his book," she says, "how does he find the time to run our schools?"
And she adds, "Many of these programs [mentioned in the book] were already being done by the district before he was hired. He just renamed, repackaged, and remarketed them."
Indeed Only Connect is unlikely to have a profound effect on American education. But it might help Crew get a better job. He lost out on a bid early this year to become Washington, D.C. superintendent. Early this month he visited Atlanta, just a few days before that city's public schools chief Beverly Hall got her job review. She met only half of her 59 goals and received a reduced bonus.