A plug for appointed commish
If you want the Florida education commissioner to be more focused on politics than schools, then elect him, says state Board of Education member Phoebe Raulerson. "I just hate for us to go away from that, where the concentration is away from education, it’s on getting elected," Raulerson told The Gradebook.
Raulerson, a former Okeechobee County superintendent, was referring to a proposed constitutional amendment, now winding its way through the Legislature, that would return Florida to the not-long-ago days when education commissioners were elected and state Cabinets served as the BOE. Under the current set-up, governors appoint BOE members to staggered terms, and the board picks the commish.
Raulerson said that system is better: Current BOE members are devoted to one issue, she said, while elected Cabinet officials (currently the governor, the attorney general, the chief financial officer and the commissioner of agriculture) would not be.
In case you're thinking Raulerson has a dog in this fight, she notes her 4-year term (she was appointed by Jeb Bush) expires this year. "So this is not my future we're talking about," she said.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter