As I mentioned before, Rep. Clay Cox of Lilburn is proposing to return to the days of elected local School Superintendents. Criticism of this proposal now comes from Elliot Brack of the Gwinnett Forum:
In small counties, there are only a few people who are qualified to run for an elective school superintendent. Why? Because the sitting school superintendent sees to it that qualified candidates are not hired by his school system. And any principal who shows any sort of effort to buck the administration of the sitting school superintendent, will find that he or she will not get their contract renewed for another year. They will be out of a job.
That alone does not disqualify that person from running. Most potential candidates are in education, and usually work for the school system. Yet a good school superintendent can virtually ensure that there will be no qualified candidates within his county. Essentially, it’s the quality of education and by extension the students who are hurt by such a system, since good leadership is often blocked.
How about in larger counties? Usually it’s a little harder for a superintendent to manipulate the hiring practices, but of course, it happens.
Far better is the current system, which allows local control through appointment of the superintendent by an elected board. The people of Georgia approved this system statewide by a Constitutional Amendment in 1993.
Rep. Cox maintains that having elected superintendents will make them more accountable to the public. Baloney!
Brack then reigns down blows upon Cox and the Republicans:
Rep. Cox is hard-headed. He may have a hidden agenda we don’t know about, No reasonable person wants to elect school superintendents. It may be by allowing Georgia to have elected superintendents prior to 1993, that is one of the reasons our schools have had such a low level of achievement over the years.
Electing school superintendents is dead wrong. If this is the way Rep. Cox and the Republican Party wants to lead their “new” Georgia, we are in for a bad ride.
Clearly, elected positions are more accountable to the public than appointed positions. Why Brack thinks otherwise, I’m not sure. Public Schools are one area of our society where the free market is not allowed and electing School Superintendents might inject a measure of competition where none exists presently. My inclenation is to support Cox’s proposal.
Perhaps someone with a longer memory than mine can explain why Georgia went to appointed School Supers in 1993.