Jesse Rodriguez has arrived in the superintendent’s suite at the Proviso high schools. The good news, judging from his opening letter to the community, is that he will not allow himself to become entrenched or trapped on the locked away fifth floor of the Proviso Math and Science Academy where the administration was elevated out of sight several years back.

Rodriguez instead has presented all of us with a road map to his first 100 days and first year as the leader of this deeply troubled school district. It relies on building essential connections with principals – a post he clearly respects, as well as with teachers, students, parents, community leaders and, yes, even the rumpety-bumpety school board.

He describes a time of intense listening with a focus on hearing all voices, surely a novel idea in District 209. He plans intense focus on data as a basis for decisions, surely a better idea than simply relying on the churn of endless drama and political nonsense that has set this district lurching for decades.

The new superintendent, who seems to have a passion for turning Latin phrases and quoting from motivational texts, promises transparency, inclusion and strategic thinking. 

This is all very encouraging. While the road ahead is one of challenges, success is only possible with a plan and a long view.

Boykin’s wrong on deeds office

Last week the Cook County Board of Commissioners took the welcome and overdue step of allowing voters to, this November, consolidate two elected offices into one. If voters ratify the measure by referendum, the Cook County Recorder of Deeds would be melded eventually into the Cook County Clerk’s Office.

We don’t typically editorialize about county matters, but here we have two local and active players in the drama. One is Karen Yarborough, the current recorder, the former state rep from our area and the longtime Maywood leader. 

The second is Commissioner Richard Boykin, the Oak Parker who has raised the 1st District back above the line of invisibility after decades of failed elected leadership.

We are enthusiastic about Boykin and his activist efforts to focus attention and draw resources to the West Side and west suburban villages which are under violent siege and at the same time are historically ignored in terms of any government investment beyond mass incarceration.

However, in this instance, when Boykin led African-American commissioners in failed opposition to this merger of antiquated, redundant county offices, we object to his thinking and his justifications. 

Basically, Boykin said that the white and Latino majority on the county board was targeting Yarborough’s office for elimination because she is a black woman and is vulnerable as such. 

This is a race-based argument that we find grievously overstated. Surely, there are racial components to any leadership discussion within the Democratic Party of Cook County. Is it true that leadership slots are apportioned to foster racial alliances? Positively.

 And while there is an argument for such political and 

There are better ways to achieve racial equity than preserving bad governance.