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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Who needs an elected education commissioner?



Florida state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has filed a bill that would ask voters to make the state's education commissioner an elected member of the Cabinet, as it was until voters put the job under the appointment purview of the State Board of Education, itself an appointed body of the governor.

Alan Mathison, a teacher in Negron's district, suggests the legislation has a nugget of a good idea. But the real problem, he states in a column for the Stuart News, is the person who appoints the Board of Education.

"Unfortunately, the elected education commissioner position was used as nothing more than a political steppingstone to different political offices. This is why Florida voters approved legislation to change it to an appointed position. Why 14 years later would we want to change it back? Having the current commissioner with an education background has been a step in the correct direction, although recently the appointment has increasingly become a political decision more than educational decision.

The problem now lies with the board of education, which chooses the education commissioner. This group of people, who are appointed by the governor, are not education professionals and do not represent a large percentage of stakeholders in our educational system."

Read Mathison's full thoughts here. Then let's hear your views on how you think the state could better represent all stakeholder views, as he suggests, or if it's doing fine already.

[Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 11:54am]


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