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Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007 | So let me get this straight. Superintendent Carl Cohn directs his legal department to come up with a complicated workaround that allows the district to hire Cohn’s old friend, Dick van der Laan, as a communications consultant. Cohn’s deputy, José Betancourt, apparently planned to use his Navy connections to help a private company get Navy business — in violation of federal conflict of interest laws. Another Cohn deputy, Geno Flores, claims that once the district’s new hires — largely, as the has shown, friends and former colleagues of Cohn — settle in, test scores will improve.

What kind of message does this send to students, parents and the community? Perhaps if they spent less time worrying about their friends and more time worrying about education, our students’ achievement would increase as much as the fortunes of Cohn’s clones.

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