"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Superintendent or Superman?

Today, Sen Brian Nieves and Rep Andrew Koenig spoke to a local republican group, giving a wrap up report of the last legislative session in MO. Mr. Nieves' main point was that, when ensconced in the heart of the legislature and forced to deal with its inner workings, political posturing, and party loyalty or pressure, it is important to celebrate the little victories.

When asked what little victories there were for education, he threw up his hands. There were none, despite a majority of republicans in both houses and the presence of strong conservatives in appreciable numbers for the first time in many years. When asked why, it was Mr. Koenig who mentioned the presence of supermen who wander the halls of Jefferson City wielding their super powers to stop education legislation in its tracks. These mighty men are from the Union of Superintendents and they, apparently, have the power to make or break political careers, a fact that they remind representatives of repeatedly. So, despite the support of many constituents, education reform legislation can be killed by a single disapproving look from a single superintendent.

When you thought it was your representative calling the shots for education, it was really your superintendent. Legislators shrink back from supporting what they want to support, because their superintendent does not want them messing with the status quo, and the representative wants to get re-elected. And you thought all a superintendent did was call off school for snow.

Not only can they kill legislation with a single phone call, they have the clairvoyance necessary to sign a RTTT grant application, knowing it's efficacy and cost without knowing what's in it that they would have to adopt. They can summon money from thin air to apply to your running mate come election time. These truly are super men (and women).

So I was thinking, now that school is over and there is a little break in the action, maybe it's a good time to get to know your superintendent. Give them a call. Invite them out to lunch. Because, parents, if you want changes in education, these are the people you are going to have to get them from.

1 comment:

  1. In Florida, the legislators did not speak to the Superintendent's in the areas they represented. I remember one in particular saying he didn't realize he needed to. My own legislator was unfamiliar with the details on the items he had to vote on.

    In this State, strong forces influenced education and they did not come from the local level and definitely not from the parents.


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