Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lottie Beebe on selection of a new superintendent

Lottie Beebe, Member-elect of the District 3 seat on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, has written a letter to the editor of newspapers around the state, making the case for a real search for the next superintendent of education. In case your local paper doesn't print the letter, here it is:

Dear Editor:

BESE’s first order of business will occur in January. With the announcement of Acting State Superintendent of Education Ollie Tyler’s resignation effective January 31, 2012, BESE members will need to find a replacement. I strongly advocate the search for a state superintendent of education who can offer leadership to the education profession.

BESE’s action in January is critical to school improvement and education reform. It will set the stage for success or failure. Consequently, it is imperative that BESE fulfills its responsibility to Louisiana’s citizens. There should be a national search for a superintendent who has a proven record of success relative to school improvement.

The individual should be one who has no political obligations and can make sound, responsible decisions independent of Governor Jindal, or Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and others outside of Louisiana who may have contributed to the campaigns of BESE members. He or she should possess credentials required of district superintendents.

To deviate from such standards is irresponsible and confirms the adage, “It is not what you know; it’s who you know.” This is the wrong message to communicate to our students. On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, BESE’s student representative voiced his support of a state superintendent who has the credentials expected of local district superintendents. I commend this young man for recognizing the importance of standards.

According to my research, the individual who is being embraced by Governor Jindal as the next state superintendent of education is one who has only a BS Degree in English (most superintendents have a Masters plus 30 hours with many years of academic leadership), has served as a Teach for America Executive Director, and deputy superintendent in a New York School System. My understanding is that he has completed the BROAD Academy for Superintendents—a ten-month program requiring weekend attendance. This is insulting to educators who have worked two or more jobs to financially aid themselves in the pursuit of higher credentials and positions of leadership.

There are numerous issues and challenges that await BESE during the next four years. Again, I reiterate that the first order of business for BESE will determine the future of public education and our state for years to come. BESE needs to conduct a thorough national search for the best candidate for state superintendent before a decision is made.


Lottie P. Beebe, BESE Member Elect
District 3

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