The process for hiring the state’s next commissioner of education already looks questionable.
There may be no decision more important to the future of Kansas public schools than the selection of a new commissioner of education to replace Andy Tompkins when he leaves that post in June. The people of Kansas should pay close attention to the search process employed in filling this key position.
Right off the bat, Kansans should be aware of how the board plans to review applications for the job. Rather than thoughtfully choosing members of a search committee to ensure a good mix of educators, administrators, academic experts and other stakeholders from across the state, the board has agreed that each of its 10 members will appoint one person to the committee. No qualifications were set out. The 10 appointees and one representative of the Department of Education will review applications and narrow the field that board members will consider.
What sort of search committee will this produce? It seems very likely that the search committee members will reflect the philosophical differences of the board members who appoint them. …
Unfortunately, the planned search process already is lowering hopes that the state board will put qualifications and experience ahead of politics in its selection of Tompkins’ successor.
This isn’t how any search I’ve ever seen works. They should appoint a committee, which should write a set of qualifications, which will be publicly debated. Then they should go to a headhunting firm and get the best commissioner possible.
Instead, they’re abusing the process for partisan gain, and damn the cost to our kids.