Democrat June Atkinson has been elected multiple times to administer the state of North Carolina’s public education policy. State senator Jerry Tillman(R) — a former educator and currently that chamber’s majority whip — says he will be filing legislation this session to transform Atkinson’s job from an elected position to an appointed one:
[…] Presently our Community Colleges and our Universities operate exceptionally well with appointed presidents. Our K-12 schools now operate with an elected State Superintendent of Schools. They are far from exceptional in their operations.
We currently have a system of K-12 schools who lack much in their management and the results expected from them. Test scores and achievement have stagnated and/or declined. There will be a myriad of reasons for this decline. One of them is the three-headed and often conflicting management style. You have the Governor, the State Board of Education and the State Schools Superintendent calling the shots. In the business world, employees don’t respond well to orders from three different bosses. It doesn’t work in public education either.
An appointed State Schools Leader would streamline the process and hopefully align all forces, making real progress and change possible. With the Governor and the State Legislature working in concert, positive and meaningful reform is possible.
This should make some heads start spinning — possibly exploding — over at NCAE HQ. Tillman — even though he spent decades as a public schools teacher and administrator — is an outspoken FOE OF common core and proponent OF more local control in public education.
Atkinson has had her hands on the state’s education policy for many years now, but — somehow — Gov. McCrory and the GOP majority in the legislature have been taking the heat. An appointed superintendent, selected by the governor and approved by the people’s representatives on Jones Street, would create a single point of accountability on public education. The “buck” would “stop” at that mansion on Blount Street.