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Is Meria Carstarphen the wrong ethnicity for Austin, Texas?

The city’s newspaper lavishes praise on St. Paul’s superintendent, but says she faces a headwind because she’s not Latina.
By David Brauer

Interesting Sunday editorial from the Austin (Tx.) Statesman, on their school superintendent search that has lured, or ensared, St. Paul education boss Meria Carstarphen.

Like any good media organization, the Stateman primarily wants all finalists’ names made public; so far, only Carstarphen’s name has leaked. But the edit (which is worth reading in full) also mixes lavish praise for the St. Paul super with the search’s politically correct machinations:

Our beef is not with Carstarphen, who has been described as a rock star in the education world. Her sterling qualifications, diverse experience, high energy and strong work ethic certainly are impressive. … She is an accomplished photographer, has studied at universities in Spain and Austria, flies planes for recreation and is said to speak fluent Spanish. If she does get the Austin job, Carstarphen would be the first African American to be hired as the district’s permanent superintendent.

… damage was done when some trustees made clear that Hispanic ethnicity would be their main priority in hiring the next superintendent. Hispanic leaders outside the selection process, having received inside information on finalists (some of whom are Hispanic), aggressively pushed school trustees to hire a Latino, citing the district’s large enrollment of Hispanic students, 58 percent.

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At its Monday or Wednesday meeting, Williams should release the names of all finalists or start the search over again, this time with an open process. Trustees owe that to Austin district taxpayers, voters, parents and teachers … And they owe that to Carstarphen, who has been left to dodge questions here and in St. Paul about the future of both districts.