Concerns about superintendent criteria warranted
Saturday, April 27, 2013 5:00 AM
Gov. Pence is expected to sign a bill that allows Indiana school districts to hire individuals with no significant experience or training in education as their superintendents.
We had misgivings about that legislation when it was introduced and still have reservations. This is one that needs to be monitored closely.
The change is in line with efforts by majority Republicans in recent years to relax education requirements such as teachers not having to take a full complement of education classes.
Currently, Indiana school superintendents must have a teaching license and must have completed graduate work in education administration, but under the proposed law, they would need only a master's degree. Backers of the bill say this would give Indiana's 300 districts more flexibility in selecting a superintendent, and would allow them to tap into management talent from the business world. Also, individual districts could ask for stricter requirements that the state requires.
We agree that local boards should have broad latitude in choosing their superintendents, but it is a legitimate concern that a superintendent might know nothing about the many, many challenges of the classroom.
If a school district hires a teacher without experience, and it shows, that is correctable with minimum harm. But if a school system hires a superintendent who doesn't have a clue about the classroom that could impact an entire district.
As we said, keep an eye on this one.