This week's column is on the weird two-headed system that governs the state education policy. Cross-posted from Ex.
One suspects that as of this writing, State Superintendent of Education June Atkinson and her public affairs staff are huddled somewhere writing a response to a recent Winston-Salem Journal editorial that says her duties are so light, she "goes to work every day, maintaining her trademark cheerful and positive attitude about life, while the deputy state superintendent of public instruction runs the department."
This, as the Journal points out, is due to a sharp reduction in the super's duties mandated in the mid-'90s by the then-GOP-led House after a row with then-state super Bob Etheridge.
Now, Atkinson, who had to fight a long court battle over a recount of the 2004 election to win her seat, is even pulling down $25K a year less than said deputy, J.B. Buxton, a former education advisor to Gov. Mike Easley, who was hired last week by the State Board of Education. And Buxton, defeated by Atkinson in the '04 primary, reports to the board, not Atkinson.