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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Elect? Or appoint?



Florida soon could find itself in an even smaller minority in the world of selecting superintendents.

The state of Mississippi now is looking into doing away with the election of school district chiefs as part of its Quality Education Act of 2008, the Hattiesburg American reports. The goal, it seems, would be to remove politics from education as much as possible.

That would leave Florida and Alabama as the lone holdouts that allow politician superintendents instead of appointed CEOs heading their school districts.

Of course, Florida lets county voters determine whether they want to give up their right to choose the superintendent. Most of the biggest ones have done so. But the majority of districts, with the biggest being Pasco County, have rejected the idea.

Lake County voters recently made the switch: Their board is conducting a search now. Marion County voters are the next in line to decide what to do about the elected superintendent's job. But if history serves as a guide, they're likely to reject the School Board's request to appoint the district leader again.

Some say it takes a major scandal or catastrophe to get voters to let loose of their right to choose their leaders. But others suggest that the general public should understand that a superintendent should require more qualifications than popularity, residency and a voter registration. It will be interesting to see where Mississippi goes on this, and whether Florida will follow.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:27am]


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