Shadow School Superintendent, Shadow School District
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, March 27, 2015 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
In his state-of-the-state address in January, Governor Deal announced that he would create an Education Reform Commission to implement his “vision for k – 12 education … system driven by student need [to give] local school and district leaders [real control and flexibility].” The 33 people he appointed to that commission will report back to him.
There’s more to the Governor’s statement than meets the eye. To legalize that particular “vision for k – 12” the State Constitution must be amended. So, the Governor had his Senate floor leader introduce S.R. 287 to add a new paragraph to the State Constitution, which allows the creation of a state-wide Opportunity School District. If voters ratify that change in the 2016 General Election, the Governor would appoint a “shadow” school superintendent who could identify and take over, or close, or re-staff, or reconstitute, and manage and control 20 “failing” public schools, annually (up to a total of 100).
That plan means the current constitutionally elected state school superintendent will lose authority over schools the appointed shadow superintendent selects and commandeers. Rather than giving “local school and district leaders real control and flexibility,” the plan strips control from the state-wide elected-by-voters school superintendent and locally elected boards of education. Meaning, the Governor’s plan, drastically, weakens the power of voters and over-rides local control over education. Continue reading