Slightly longer take:
1) Assuming a nominee is qualified, and Skandera obviously is, Governors should have wide discretion here (just as president’s should), this is one reason why we have elections. If the nominations dysfunction that plagues Washington spreads to the states it will be costly for policymaking. I don’t agree with Hanna on everything – who does with anyone? – but politicizing education nominations like this is a bad road to go down.
2) The issue about her out-of-state travel seems like politics. Reasonable people can disagree, but my view is that we want people to travel and learn about things around the country and the world. So, within the bounds of reasonableness (you don’t need a week in Paris to learn about a math curriculum), as long as there is strong and meaningful real-time disclosure so all the facts around any relevant decision are known, then I don’t see a big issue with third party payments for trips. And everyone up in arms about Skandera’s travel should be equally outraged about all the public money that supports teacher’ union activities and all the teachers’ union money that supports educational trips and activities. The outrage here seems pretty selective…and if we create an environment where people don’t cross-pollinate it’s going to make education policy-making even more insular than it already is.