Archives for category: Administrators, superintendents

EduShyster lives in Massachusetts, so she has more than a passing interest in the selection of the new superintendent of schools.


She presents us with the four finalists here.


One, Guadalupe Guerrero, led a school that was taken over by the state. Worse, she says, he was kicked out of a doctoral program at Harvard. She thinks he is at the back of the pack.


Then there is Tommy Chang, a TFA alum who had a speedy ascent up the administrative pole to become principal of a Green Dot charter school, and most recently, “special assistant to LA’s then superintendent, the ethically embattled Dr. John Deasy, who then further elevated Chang to a special position overseeing LA high schools in need of special attention.” One of the schools for which he was responsible was Jefferson High School, where students walked out in protest because they had no schedules; Chang removed the principal without having a replacement. Chaos. A good choice? EduShyster thinks not.


Next is Pedro Martinez, who has the dubious distinction of being a graduate of the unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy, whose graduates tend to leave in a huff, after alienating large numbers of parents with their top-down, take-no-prisoners management style.


And last, there is Dana Bedden of Richmond, Virginia. What distinguishes him from the others is that the stakeholders in Richmond don’t want him to leave. Imagine that! There is actually a petition drive to persuade him to stay in Richmond. EduShyster notes with astonishment that he does not speak edujargon. He is her candidate. Given such a field, he should be everyone’s candidate.

Denis Smith, formerly a state official in charge of charter schools, here reviews Governor Kasich’s penchant for colorful and inaccurate statements.

Smith writes:

“According to the Columbus Dispatch, the governor said “We need more superintendents who are educators, and less superintendents who are politicians.”

Evidently, Kasich doesn’t know that Ohio law requires its superintendents to be highly professional:

“State law directs that the head of an Ohio school district must hold a professional school administrator license to serve as a superintendent. According to the Ohio Department of Education website, a superintendent must “Earn a master’s degree from an accredited university; Complete an approved preparation program; Receive a recommendation from the dean or head of teacher education at the institution where he or she completed the preparation program; Complete the Ohio Assessment for Educators licensure exam #015, Educational Leadership, prescribed by the State Board of Education.”

“In addition to all of these requirements, Ohio professional administrator licensure requires that a school superintendent “must have three years of successful experience in a position requiring a principal or administrative specialist license.”

Contrast this with the lack of requirements to lead a charter school:

“Under Ohio law, there are no education or professional requirements for an individual to serve as a public charter school superintendent or principal. None. As Woody Allen might have put it, if 80% of success in life is just showing up, you’ve got a good chance of becoming the top administrator of a charter school just by showing up, with a new start-up school proposal in hand, at the offices of a charter school sponsor.

“And yes, governor, let’s say it again: there are absolutely no administrative licensure requirements in charterdom. You don’t even have to be an educator in order to open and become a superintendent of a “public” charter school.”

As for politicians, no requirements there either.

According to those who were there, about 1,000 parents, educators, and other citizens packed the statehouse in Indianapolis to let the Governor and Legislature know that they support State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, and they don’t want their 1.3 million votes for her to be nullified by petty politics.


Here is a video and text from the Indiana Coalition for Public Education.


Here is Cathy Fuentes Rohwer speaking to the crowd in a riotous speech that had everyone cheering. Cathy wrote a passionate letter that ran on this blog. Cathy said what every teacher and parent knows: “My child is not college-and-career-ready because he is a child!” She also said: “Standards don’t educate children, teachers do!”


Here is the text of her great speech. “We can’t afford a three-tiered system of charters, vouchers, and public. We tried segregation and it didn’t work.”


Here is the video of Phyllis Bush’s wonderful speech.


And if you want even more, here are articles about the rally:…/Disdain-shown-for-Repub…









Mark Neal, superintendent of the Tri-Valley Local Schools in Ohio, wrote a sharply worded statement about parents’ right to opt their child out of testing.


When parents asked if they had the right to opt out, he responded with this advice:


While I am not (and never have been) an advocate of the PARCC Testing, Ohio got into this testing debacle with little to no input from local school officials. Therefore, I feel no responsibility to stick my neck out for the Department of Education by defending their decisions. What’s happening now, in my opinion, is that parents have figured out what is being forced upon their children, and the proverbial rubber… is beginning to meet the road. However, it is not our goal to discourage nor undermine the laws of our governing body.


Therefore, our position as a school district is that we do not discourage nor encourage a parent’s decision to opt out their child. We must respect parental rights at all costs. This is the very reason I advocate for local control. Our own Tri-Valley Board of Education is in a much better position to make sound decisions for the families of our school district, than are the bureaucrats in Columbus and Washington. I say that with no disrespect toward our own legislators, whom have worked diligently behind the scenes to address the over-testing issue. The unfortunate reality is that the parents who have contacted the school district up to this point, are the parents of high achieving students who undoubtedly would do well on these assessments. We will effectively be rating school districts and individual teachers based on test scores that do not include many of their highest achieving students….


I am quite confident that reason will ultimately prevail. In the meantime, we will respect the rights of our parents to make the best decisions for their children while simultaneously following the laws and policies of the Ohio Department of Education.


For defending common sense and speaking plainly to his community, I place Mark Neal on the honor roll of the blog as a champion of American public education.

This afternoon many educators and friends of public education gathered to show their support for Glenda Ritz in Indianapolis. Ritz, as you know, is trying to do her job as state superintendent while Governor Mike Pence is undercutting her at every turn and trying to nullify her election in 2012. She won more votes than Pence. This has to bother him.

Here is a first-hand account of the rally:

“I heard on the 6 pm news that it was “hundreds” but I am pretty sure it was near a thousand. I shared an elevator in parking garage with a group of teachers and one of them had spoken to a security person (we had to be metal detected one at a time as we entered the state house with our coats off and belongings scanned like airport…I had to be wanded and lift my pants legs to show my shoes) who told her it was just over 1000. I think that was what I would have guessed…maybe 900. Some of those could have been there for other business but the atrium was packed, as many standing as seated and up the stairs and around the balconies during the 2 hours of speaking.

“Glenda opened her office after she spoke and greeted all who entered and posed for pictures. I was touched by the college students who were there and obviously they were impressed to be there and so excited to pose with Glenda.

“The cheering and chanting were quite loud at times and the speakers well received. I lost count but 10-12 speeches were given. My favorite was Cathy Fuentes Rawher, an Indiana parent whose “rant” was posted last week in this blog. I saw children as young as two and elders who looked near 80. I saw school buses as well as motor coaches delivering folks.

“We had a couple of inches of snow early this morning and the southern part of the state got 6-7 inches and wind chills were an issue. I think it was an impressive turnout considering the bad weather and that many schools were making up days missed due to snow. The legislators were meeting and we were LOUD!”

This afternoon, hundreds of supporters of Glenda Ritz turned out at a rally in Indianapolis to show their support for the embattled superintendent of Indiana public schools. Governor Mike Pence and his allies in the legislature have been trying to strip away the powers of her office, even though she was elected by more voters in 2012 than Governor Mike Pence.


1.3 million voters chose her over the Republican reform idol Tony Bennett, then superintendent of the state. Since then, the governor and legislature have waged constant war on Ritz, either because she is a Democrat or because she is a woman or because they fear her ability to win votes, or all three.

A few days ago I was interviewed for this podcast by Justin Oakley, whom I met last fall in Indianapolis. Justin gave me a wristband that says “Just Let Me Teach.”


We talked about the effort by Givernor Pence and the Legislature to crush State Superintendent Glenda Ritz. We speculated: is it because they want to destroy the only elected state official? Is it because she is a woman? Is it because she was elected by a bipartisan coalition and won more votes than Governor Pence?


Let’s apply Occam’s Razor, the logical principle that says one should look for the simplest, most obvious reason. It’s clear: Governor Pence is afraid of Ritz. She got more votes than he did. He has to smear her her and diminish her, even if it means nullifying her election. She might run against him and beat him.


Join the rally at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Monday to show your support for public education and Glenda Ritz!

David Gamberg, superintendent of the public schools in Southold and Greenport–two independent districts on Long Island in Néw York–denounced Governor Cuomo’s “education reforms.” Gamberg was blunt. He has the full support of his board.


Gamberg said that the Governor’s desire to make test scores count for 50% of teachers’ evaluation “could devastate the faculty and, thus, the students of Southold.


“The governor has proposed a teacher rating system that would base 50 percent of an instructor’s evaluation on student performance on state tests — an increase from the current 20 percent.


“If this plan were to become law, I will provide the board with direct, accurate evidence of [the teachers] who will get swept up — that should not get swept up — in this metric to the detriment of the students of Southold,” Mr. Gamberg said. “I think it would be the highest irresponsibility for our school district to just sit by and allow it to happen….


““It can not go through because it is, without a doubt, the worst construct of improvement in public education that has been enunciated in the history of New York,” Mr. Gamberg said.”


Cuomo is holding school districts hostage, said Southold school board president Paulette Ofrias, by promising them a 4.8% increase in funds, but only if they implement his ideas.


“The New York State teachers’ union did not endorse Mr. Cuomo in his bid for re-election last year and has fought his reform agenda in recent years.


“I know he’s doing it to get back at the teachers, but the bottom line is it hurts the children in New York State,” Ms. Ofrias said about the governor’s latest plan. “It’s just deplorable and disgusting.”

Thomas Ralston, superintendent of the Avonworth School District in western Pennsylvania, was thrilled to be invited to the White House with other superintendents, where they met President Obama and Secretary Duncan and mutually pledged to be “future-ready.” He was pleased when Secretary Duncan declared that testing was sucking the oxygen out of classrooms.


Thus, he was stunned and disappointed when Duncan endorsed the status quo of annual testing in the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. How could he?


Ralston knows that standardized testing is an artifact of the past, not the wave of the future.



He writes:


“The age of standardized testing has de-emphasized creativity and innovation by overly relying on test performance as a criterion of school and student success. This emphasis has resulted in limiting school curricula, robbing students of experience with the arts and other non-tested subjects….


“Standardized tests do not acknowledge the developmental differences in children. When we endorse them we subscribe to the belief that all children learn the same way and at the same rate.


“Likewise, standardized tests fail to measure the skills that employers have identified as essential for success now and in the future: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity….


“With the overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on the horizon, education in America is at a critical crossroads. Rather than continue with an iteration of the act that brought us No Child Left Behind in 2000, I hope it is reauthorized in a way that captures the essence of the Future Ready Pledge.


“It is time for our government officials to display courage and do what is best for children. The rest of us must make sure our voices are heard as we demand that all children receive creative and engaging learning experiences that will best prepare them for the opportunities of the future.”


I am happy to name Superintendent Thomas Ralston to the honor roll for speaking with courage and clarity on behalf of children to those in power.

Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana Legislature plans to strip State Superintendent Glenda Ritz of her powers toreros. She was overwhelmingly elected by the voters, receiving more votes than Gov. Pence.

Protest this assault on democracy!

There will be a Twitter storm this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. EST.

The vote on HB 1609 to strip Superintendent Glenda Ritz is going to happen at 1:30 tomorrow. The hashtag to use is ‪#‎iStandWithRitz‬


4:00 pm EST the TwitterStorm begins. Tweet as much as you can until 5:00 pm EST.

Removing Glenda Ritz as Chair of the SBOE is not acceptable!

You can send the messages again and again, as long as you change one character, period or something, so Twitter sees it as a unique tweet. If you send the same message, you will get a notification that you’ve already sent that tweet.

Tweets: (feel free to add on to this list, so we can help each other) Then at 4:00, copy each one and paste it and/or create your own tweets

.@GovPenceIN@INHouseGOP CECI & SBOE caused the dysfunction, not Ritz # ‪#‎iStandWithRitz‬

.@GovPenceIN@INHouseGOP Glenda Ritz is more than a librarian


.@GovPenceIN@INHouseGOP You can gerrymander our votes, but you can’t gerrymander our voices


.@GovPenceIN@INHouseGOP Stand in the way of the 1.3 million voters voted for Ritz at your own peril



Welcome to indiana where our votes don’t count & ethics don’t matter #iStandWithRitz

.@GovPenceIN@INHouseGOP Don’t mess with Glenda #iStandWithRitz

@GovPenceIN @INHouseGOP @IndyStar @nwtimes Ritz is against the high stakes in tests. #iStandWithRitz

@WishTV Ritz stands for kids against high stakes madness #iStandWithRitz


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