Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Skandera's qualifications as an educator are unimportant

There is a tiff, link, over whether Public Education Secretary
Designate Hanna Skandera has the required qualifications
to be the PED Secretary.

The State Constitution requires the Secretary to be a
“qualified, experienced educator.” Since Skandera has no
experience, to speak of, as a classroom teacher, there are
those who argue she is not a "qualified, experienced educator".

The qualifications are specious. Though intuitively it seems
reasonable that a Secretary of Education be a qualified and
experienced educator, one would be hard pressed to produce
any empirical evidence that "qualified and experienced
educators" have had any success at all. And certainly not very
much more success than is had by less qualified and less
experienced educators.

The facts are, the job has always been filled with candidates
who met the "qualified and experienced" test, and yet,
not one of them has actually succeeded in fixing what is wrong
with public education in New Mexico.

The foundation for the premise that we are looking for a
top educator to run the PED, is the belief that there is a such
thing in the first place, as a top educator, a top university president, a top superintendent, or a top anything.

Imagine the education, expertise, intellect and experience of a "top educator". You will find them on the right end of a bell curve. If you compared above run of the mill top educators with top top educators, you would find them very close together on the curve in their education, expertise, intellect and experience.

There really aren't people who can see problems
no one else can see.

There really aren't people who can think of solutions
that no one else can think of.

Wait until Skandera's out of state consultants write their
reports (they are going to write reports, right?).
Examine them for

  • never before seen problems and
  • never before thought of solutions.
You won't find any, because there aren't any.

If Skandera fixes public education, it will not be because of her skill set as a teacher, it will because of her skill set in taking full advantage of resources; applying them effectively and efficiently.

Her decision to send scarce resources out of state, rather than take full advantage of top educators right under her nose, was bad management for so many reasons.

In the absence of a real commitment to engage New Mexico
educators in the decision making process,
Skandara is disqualified by her manifest unqualified-ness,
not by her credentials.

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