Keep education standards high for superintendents
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 10:00 AM
A school superintendent's work is more than driving between schools to check on the welfare of kids.
There's a great deal of handling staff and parent complaints. There are endless meetings to plan academic courses and boost grades. There are sessions with a school board to address community issues.
A CEO might be able to take on those issues in a private firm. But when it comes to quality education in a public setting, superintendents need to take classes and obtain state licenses.
They need to be educators.
Rep. Todd Huston, a Republican state legislator from Fishers, believes "a locally elected school board should be able to hire who they feel best meets their needs."
He is sponsoring a bill that would allow local school boards to hire superintendents who do not have training, experience or background in education. Superintendents wouldn't need a state-issued teacher's or superintendent's license.
For the money that most Indiana school superintendents make, Hoosiers should expect their education leaders to meet the highest standards available.
Huston's bill, House Bill 1357, received a 9-4 approval by the House Education Committee and goes to the full House for consideration.
HB 1357 comes from the same legislator who has proposed in another bill that provisions be dropped that at least four members of the State Board of Education be actively employed in schools and hold a teacher's license. Again, for positions of leadership concerning Indiana's public schools, Hoosiers expect worthy representatives exhibiting the best education knowledge.
Huston, who was chief of staff under former Indiana schools superintendent Tony Bennett, is taking similar Bennett-type swipes at education associations. His bills seem to ask whether teacher groups are needed if there are no standards requiring licensing of superintendents or members of the state education board.
His unwarranted bills seem to be lowering the standards that many Hoosiers want to see raised.
It's not easy being a school superintendent. The job requires a balance of being a harsh taskmaster and serving as a community cheerleader for education. Let's keep the standards high for superintendents.
We're molding young minds ... not widgets.