The #1 statutory responsibility of the State Board of Education is to hire the Superintendent of Public Instruction, a task given special importance by the circumstances under which former Superintendent Richard A. Ross retired in December.
Some of my recent updates have discussed this process. January’s “Survey Says” announced the survey being used to identify the most-desired characteristics of the new superintendent, and February’s “Superintendent Priorities” identified a problematic item that I ranked low on my survey.
At the February meeting, the Board heard the results from search firm Ray and Associates. The first surprise–to me, at least–was the number of responses received: over 6,500. Knowing the political differences in the state over educational issues, perhaps that high number of surveys reflects some organizations mobilizing their members to “vote” in their organizations’ interests. (It could be argued that that’s what I was doing!)
The Board’s discussion started out businesslike and nonadversarial, but it didn’t stay that way for long. The Board hasn’t settled on a compensation amount to advertise. The issue of a performance bonus for the superintendent, floated last month by House Education Committee Chairman Andy Brenner, may be lurking under the surface. As I wrote in “Superintendent Priorities,” I fear that a performance bonus would lead to even more misapplication of test results.
Kasich appointee Todd Jones accused Board members of demagoguery on the topic, which drew an angry response from Board member Mary Rose Oakar. Jones charged that “It sometimes happens that if I take a position, or [Board President] Mr. Gunlock takes a position, . . . then certain members of this Board immediately gravitate to the opposite.”
So the process stalled for another month, while the Board tries to get its act together on superintendent compensation and review the 2,445 comments people wrote. We’ll see how the process continues at the Board’s meeting on March 7-8.
Note: Survey results are available at ftp://ftp.ode.state.oh.us/StateBoardBooks/2016%20-%20February/Search%20Firm%20Materials/33%20Qualities%20Survey%20Results.pdf. (You may not see a link; copy and paste the URL into your browser in order to view them.)
This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education, http://bill4board.us.