Jorea Marple's lawsuit against the taxpayers of West Virginia is a sad end to a distinguished career as a teacher, principal and superintendent.
She spent whatever sympathy her firing generated by suing the state. Suddenly it's no longer for the children. It's about her.
Still, I thank her for filing this frivolous lawsuit because it is very telling about the state of education in West Virginia today and the priorities of its administrators.
Technically, Marple is suing the state Board of Education, but the board works for the taxpayers and the taxpayers will foot the bill for defending board members.
The board fired her as state school superintendent in November because board members were not satisfied with her and her staff's response to an independent review of the state's public schools that found our schools to be expensive and ineffective.
West Virginia is eighth among the 50 states "in education expenditures relative to income," the report by PublicWorks said.
Teacher pay is seventh "relative to the state's income levels" and so forth.
The report authors seem to have factored out the money the state socks away each year to cover the hole in the teacher pension fund.
Those payments average $333 million a year - or double what we spend on prisons.
"In sum, West Virginia, unlike most similarly poor states, cannot be said to stint on education spending," the report found.
But academic achievement fails to match that Herculean effort by state taxpayers to provide a high-quality education to the second-poorest kids in the nation.
The trade publication Education Week for years has given West Virginia taxpayers A's for funding and our schools F's in student performance.
I do not blame Marple or any other educator and certainly not the teachers for this situation. Too many parents do not take education seriously.
You cannot jump-start a dead battery.
What I do blame her for - and why I supported her firing - was her inability to recognize that an overhaul is needed.