During a discussion about middle schools at a recent, public Board of Education meeting, Sioux City Superintendent of Schools Paul Gausman said he once wrote an academic dissertation about middle schools, according to several citizen critics of Gausman.
These citizens told The Journal they want to see a copy of the dissertation and say the fact the local school district won't produce it leads them to question whether or not Gausman, in fact, wrote such a paper.
One prominent critic, Dan Greenwell, told The Journal a request for the dissertation was made to the school district. According to Greenwell, the request was denied because the document was a "personal record of Dr. Gausman, not a public record."
The position of these citizens is, essentially, this: If Gausman cites a dissertation he wrote as evidence of his expertise on middle schools, he should be willing to release the document in support of his statement.
In our view, that's not an altogether unreasonable expectation.
We take Gausman at his word about existence of the dissertation and we do not want to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but refusal to give the citizen critics what they want does give the appearance the superintendent is hiding something.
We offer this suggestion to local school district leaders: Don't let this issue simmer to an eventual boil.
In other words, the Board of Education should direct Gausman to provide the dissertation for whatever level of public consumption exists.
In our view, taking that step should end this dustup by silencing citizen critics on the issue.