Sunday, July 26, 2009

Paul Pastorek: wrong target

It might feel good to demand the head of the State Department of Education, especially when the policies coming from his department seem dedicated to a.) blaming teachers for most of the ills of public education, b.) narrowly focusing on single, high-stakes tests to judge student performance, c.) taking over and chartering as many schools as possible and d.) spending as much money as possible on private contractors to do work that could be done for less by qualified state employees.

But that is only so if you believe that Superintendent Paul Pastorek is a rogue agent, acting on his own volition against the wishes of the governor who supported his reappointment to office and gave him a ginormous pay raise to boot.

The facts are, as LFT President Steve Monaghan pointed out, that elections have consequences, and that Pastorek's policies emanate directly from Governor Bobby Jindal's office.

And Gov. Jindal has a big agenda that stretches far beyond the boundaries of Louisiana.

Today's editorial in The Advocate dwells on the disconnect between Jindal's spin on the state of the state and the reality in which we live. It is a disconnect required by the governor's ambition for higher office.

It is that same ambition that prompts Pastorek to push for questionable goals in the name of "education reform," goals designed more to satisfy an ultraconservative national base than to improve our schools.

The governor has already signalled his unwavering support for the prickly Pastorek. The superintendent has already stated that he has no intention of stepping down. It is in fact doubtful that the superintendent would leave now under almost any circumstances. In the glare of the national spotlight, that might make the governor look weak.

Bobby Jindal is the governor, and those in his cabinet do his bidding. His agenda can be defeated, as was shown in the recent legislative session. But to focus on one of his water-carriers is to waste time on a side-show instead of the main event.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny how ultraliberal bureaucrats can see Jindal and Pastorek as anything other than fiscal moderates. They are correct to feel threatened.