Two years ago, after the resignation of their superintendent, the Ogden, Utah, school board chose one of its own members to take over as the leader of the schools. Brad Smith, a lawyer, may be the only superintendent in the state who has never been a teacher and has no credentials.

This is innovative, for sure. Nations like Finland and Korea would never allow a non-professional to take over a leading role in the profession. It demeans all those who worked so hard to darn credentials.

Things did not go well for Superintendent Smith. Last spring, angry parents crowded into a meeting to complain about budget cuts, overcrowded classes, and layoffs for librarians (aka “media specialists”). Smith boasted that there had been more change since he took over than in the previous two decades, but a local university professor responded that students’ lives are harmed by too much disruption.

Smith managed to find the funding to retain 7 out of 20 media specialists, but parents worried that veteran teachers were leaving the district.

Some community members complained that the source of the budget shortfall was not teachers’ salaries but administrative bloat.

Despite community concerns, the board voted two weeks ago to renew Smith’s contract. The head of the Democratic Education Caucus was baffled by the superintendent’s bonus in a time of austerity.

She said: ““We’re hearing of classroom sizes of 38, and even as high as 45 in core classes,” she said, noting national recommendations were for 26 in a secondary class. Irvine also criticized Smith’s performance-based bonuses.

“Based on an article in the Standard recently, we discovered the superintendent has received bonuses in the last years upwards of $50,000 total. How can this be when this year librarians have been eliminated, teacher and staff assistants have been either eliminated or cut full time to part time?”

Clearly, Ogden has decided to utilize a business plan. The superintendent has no education background. Class size doesn’t matter. Librarians don’t matter. The voices of concerned parents are ignored. As long as those test scores go up, the school board will declare success. After all, trained seals can perform no matter how many are in the pool.