Educators, not business people, need to run our school districts
Monday, April 08, 2013 11:00 AM
We're confused. In education circles, the buzzword these days is "standards." Everyone insists that higher standards must be met. Anything less is unacceptable.
Yet, some of our legislators are talking about removing one important standard ... the qualifications one must possess to lead a school district.
Most of our state legislators demand accountability based on strict standards for schools, teachers and students.
But we're a bit puzzled about a proposal advancing in the Indiana General Assembly that would no longer require Indiana's local school superintendents to hold a state superintendent's or teacher's license, which is the current rule.
So, is this where the line is drawn on high standards?
Superintendents of school districts are now required to have a teacher's license and complete graduate school work in education administration. That certainly seems to be a reasonable standard to which we should hold individuals responsible for running day-to-day operations of our public schools. A community should be able to have confidence that those selected by local school boards to be top administrators have a proven track record and a strong background in education.
We know where the new push is coming from. Proponents of lowering these standards say the change would give local school boards more flexibility to hire a business leader or someone else they believe would best fill their needs for a top administrator. In other words, they would set their own hiring standards that may or may not have anything to do with education.
Opponents have good reasons to worry. Lowering this standard would permit hiring of superintendents with no classroom or school administrative experience whatsoever.
The Senate Education Committee last week narrowly voted, 6-5, to approve the bill and send it to the full Senate for consideration. The House has previously approved the proposal.
This is a bad bill.
Should we have high public education standards or not? We think so. And those standards should start with the men and women heading up our school districts.