Bev Perdue must have been reading my post from Sunday. She wants us all to know that "The buck stops with me." That is, even with North Carolina's convoluted educational hierarchy, the governor is the one responsible for successfully educating our children.
What about our Constitutionally mandated and elected Superintendent of Public Instruction? Well, Perdue says "I don't believe an elected statewide official is a figurehead and I resent that on behalf of June Atkinson and the voters of North Carolina." That's not what she her actions indicated. Today she suggested creating a new position of Chief Executive Officer for the Department of Public Instruction. When there's a CEO, what's the Superintendent supposed to do? Perdue has asked her to lead a special commission on career development and workforce issues.
Sure sounds like something you ask a figurehead to do...
If the buck doesn't stop with Perdue or the Superintendent, then maybe it will stop with Bill Harrison, whom she has tapped for the new position. Harrison would take the CEO job to run day-to-day operations at DPI, and she wants him to be Chair of the State School Board too. Big job. Perdue said "This is the most important job in North Carolina at this point in time. He literally has North Carolina's future in his hands."
Meanwhile, Perdue is keeping on one of Easley's appointments: Howard Lee. She has asked him to give up his unpaid job as chair of the State School Board and his paid position on the NC Utilities Commission. He'll get a newly created paid position as Chair of the NC Education Cabinet, which convenes all of our major educational bureaucracies.
Harrison is well respected, and I like Perdue's proposal for combining the policy creation responsibilities of the board with the implementation arm of DPI. Still, I'm feeling a little snarky because she dodged the Superintendent issue. "It’s up to the General Assembly and others to deal with the Constitutional question," she said. Read: I'm not willing to call for eliminating an elected position, but I want my people doing her job.
In my previous post, I tried to show how confusing our educational management and accountability is. This is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, there are a host of other issues from local control to funding equity that she hasn't even touched. Not to mention "the Constitutional question"...