School Board Needs a Shake-Up (7/19/11)
Kentucky Senate President David Williams wants to do away with the Jefferson County School Board and place the entire operation under the control of Louisville's mayor, who would be responsible for appointing a superintendent.
While we differ on some of the details, I agree with his basic reasoning because our current board structure has been dysfunctional for a long time. I'm sure the members are nice people, but they possess no unique qualifications that make them education experts -- and it shows in their decisions.
Some people insist being directly elected by the voters makes board members responsive to constituents. But in reality, so few voters take the time to learn about so-called "minor candidates" that we tend to just automatically reward incumbency or choose whoever can afford the most yard signs – which is almost always the candidate supported by the teachers union.
On the other hand, the choosing of a superintendent would be one of the most important duties of any mayor. And you can bet he'd get all the expert advice possible to make sure his list of candidates represented only the best of the best, because his own job could well depend upon it.
Making the community's top elected official responsible for one of the community's most important institutions has worked in cities like New York and Chicago. Maybe it's time to try it here.
Call and let us know what you think.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.