A district superintendent is on record saying he plans to employ the tactics he learned during a visit to the Army War College in his effort to stop accountability and protect wasteful spending.

In a video posted by Harris County Department of Education Trustee Mike Wolfe, district superintendent, James Colbert, Jr., is seen telling colleagues of a trip he took to the Gettysburg Leadership Experience at the United States Army War College. In the video he explains how the tactics he learned will be used to battle legislative efforts to close HCDE’s doors.

“Something happened the first day we met with them. They told us the theory of war,” Colbert says. He then goes on to discuss the formula for victory (R=MxW or Resistance = Means x Will) and how he intends to use that to fight opposition.

“During the presentation I started thinking about, the bills to abolish are essentially the theory of annihilation. We’ve been hit constantly with the theory of annihilation.” He then goes on to say, “I went to the Colonel and I said look, let me explain to you my organization…What is the best strategy for me as a leader to use to help protect us?”

This should alarm Harris County taxpayers.

The district’s concern should be supporting schools within Harris County, not focusing on ways to fight for existence solely to remain employed.

colbert-signing“I’m going to tell you a little bit about James Colbert. I have infinite will; I’ll stand ten toes down and dare you to take me off my square. Where I’ve grown up I was taught don’t back down easy from anything. As someone comes to you, you step to them you don’t step back,” which elicited an applause from the crowd of HCDE employees.

“As your superintendent I promise I will do everything to protect every person sitting in this room.”

Since when is a superintendent’s responsibility to protect employees’ jobs instead of serving the public? Colbert and his colleagues are willing to wage to war not for the benefit of the children or taxpayers they serve, but to ensure they remain able to collect tax dollars.

At the end of the video Colbert tells his colleagues that at the back of the hall they can pick up a free lanyard with the “R=MxW” equation on it.

One can assume that the timing of this is due to the growing pressure from lawmakers to close down HCDE and Dallas County Schools, the last remaining county school districts in the state. Although they provide limited benefit, if any, to taxpayers, operate with little oversight, and are nothing more than vestiges of the past, HCDE is ready to go to war to continue to billing taxpayers for their existence.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.