Updated February 2, 2016: This post deals with a survey dealing with people’s superintendent priorities that was briefly posted by the Ohio Department of Education. The survey is now closed. Although the survey is now closed, readers may find this discussion of priorities revealing.
The Department of Education has posted a link to a survey asking for people’s priorities in the hiring of the next Superintendent of Public Instruction. That survey is available at surveymonkey.com/r/XM7JHYQ, and responses are due by January 27. Your homework, due Wednesday, is to fill out the survey.
The survey asks that we select ten items that we believe are the most important. Scattered among the 33 are some items that I worry about, because they can be distorted. I will not be selecting the following seven (in numerical order, not related to importance). Here’s why:
11, Is able to build consensus and commitment among individuals and groups with emphasis on parental and business involvement: Note the absence of any interest in a similar process involving educators or local board of education; without that, “parental and business involvement” sounds like code for school privatization.
16, Is a non-traditional or “hybrid candidate” with background in the military or business community in addition to an educational career: While we should be open to well-qualified candidates with business or military experience, that’s not a goal: their education careers are the critical element.
27, Is comfortable leading innovation and reform efforts: Too often, “reform” is a code word for empowering top-down administration that is ignorant of and disrespectful toward the efforts already in place.
28, Is able to lead a large organization dedicated to goals of continuous improvement: While we should all strive for “continuous improvement” in our professional and personal lives, the term has become a code word for unfunded and irresponsible mandates.
29, Has the ability to develop and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship between the business community and the state department and state board: The “business community” calls too many shots now–particularly those in the “business” of privatizing Ohio’s common schools.
30, Possesses the ability to enhance student performance, especially in identifying and closing or narrowing the gaps in student achievement: The Superintendent does little directly to “enhance student performance”; emphasizing a mandate to do that will legitimize further tightening of screws.
32, Makes recommendations and decisions that are data-driven: Part of our problem now is too much collecting of, and reliance on, data. A child is more than a test score.
This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education, http://bill4board.us.