This from KSBA:
New ed commissioner must follow summer of rumor
with fall of specifics
If its timetable holds, the Kentucky Board of Education is nearing the end of its search for the state’s fifth commissioner of education. Of course, maybe we should label whoever gets the job No. 6, considering the several times interim commissioner Kevin Noland has held that title.Hughes reminds us of the challenges ahead:
Either way, the selection will end eight months of speculation, gossip and “I heard that…” since Dr. Jon Draud revealed his retirement plans last December.
Will it be Superintendent so-and-so or any superintendent in Kentucky? One superintendent confirmed his application and the rumor mill identified at least three more as having acknowledged interest. Others may have joined but kept their cards close to the vest.
- Cutting funds at the department, district and school levels
- A requirement for secondary schools and higher education to get together on preparing high school grads for college course work.
- A complete redrawing of the state’s assessment and accountability system.
It would be easy for the next commissioner to hunker down in the Capital Plaza Tower for the rest of 2009, working to get his or her hands around the operations of the agency, the mandates for immediate action and the preparations for legislative work come January.
It also would be the worst thing the new commissioner – and the state board – could do.
But Hughes advises Kentucky’s next education commissioner to hit the road, speaking to local and regional groups, like, coincidentally, KSBA, as well as some school board meetings, chambers of commerce, Lions and Rotary Clubs.
Hughes advises the new commish to sit down with the dwindling number of experienced education-focused journalists (and I'm sure he meant to include education-experienced bloggers) to share his or her insights and to clarify goals.
Really go out on the edge and work with the department’s communications staff to create your own Web blog or other frequent electronic communication to the elementary and secondary education community. Encourage all of the alphabet soup K-12 groups (KASA, KASC, KASS, KSBA, etc.) to distribute those communications to our members as broadly as possible.
And put some meat in your message, for gosh sakes. We all want all students to achieve at high levels. We all support a challenging curriculum that pushes the at-risk as well as the gifted-and-talented to pursue a college degree. We all want higher test scores, higher pay for teachers and higher public confidence in Kentucky’s public schools. Tell us – at least in broad terms – how you want to spend your first year pursuing those dreams.
In the history of education in Kentucky, every significant advance occurred when a strong advocate used the bully-pulpit to rally grass-roots support for better schools.
Kentucky will depend upon the new education commissioner "to help boost the only goal that really matters – giving every child in Kentucky’s public schools a life-enhancing education."