Free Hanna Skandera!

Debate over former state/federal official Hanna Skandera’s nomination to be state education chief in New Mexico heating up.  People lobbying on her behalf.  And her hearings resume today.

Short version of my take, via Twitter, here.

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.

6 Replies to “Free Hanna Skandera!”

  1. New Mexico constitution:

    Sec. 6. [Public education department;
    public education commission.]
    A. There is hereby created a “public education
    department” and a “public education
    commission” that shall have such powers
    and duties as provided by law. The
    department shall be a cabinet department
    headed by a secretary of public education
    who is a qualified, experienced educator
    who shall be appointed by the governor and
    confirmed by the senate.

    Her supporters view why the constitution can be ignored:
    Larry Langley, head of the New Mexico Business Roundtable, said it is old-fashioned to think all educators are in classrooms.
    “Please understand that to be a highly qualified educator doesn’t require you to be in front of a classroom,” Langley said. “Every one of us in this room, I hope, are some kind of qualified educator. I’ve certainly learned things from the chair of this committee. I have learned things from the ranking member of this committee, and from many others. You have been my educators, and you have been qualified educators.”

    So, according to Langley, if anyone ever learned anything from you, you are a “qualified, experienced educator.”

    Your mechanic is a “qualified, experienced educator” if he explained to you why you need to change your oil.
    Your local grocer is a “qualified, experienced educator” if she gave you a recipe for grilled zucchini.
    The guy behind the counter at your post office is a “qualified, experienced educator” if he showed you how to fill out a change-of-address form.
    Clyde Frazier is a “qualified, experienced educator” because I heard him on TV the other night explaining how Carmelo Anthony comes off of screens to get open shots.
    My kid is a “qualified, experienced educator” because he told me how to turn off the X-Box.

    Teaching Bashing Example #665

  2. I left out that this line of attack to be expected from the Professional Education Reform Movement.
    Screw the laws.
    What’s the quote of Nikolai Lenin that Reagan loved to quote:
    “Promises are like pie crusts. They are meant to be broken.

    Nikolai, meet Andrew.

  3. Hay Guys, Humans have always considered education and competition important issues, both in the past and in the present. So, I came across this Free online test papers site which has free multiple choice questions.

  4. “(just as president’s should)”

    Um, no. Just, no. Mix in an upper-case P and lose the offensive apostrophe.

    “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.” Nice rhetorical bait, not biting. It’s only “politicizing” when your side is on the losing side. And you’re not going to get away with the diversion of her trips abroad. The real issues with the appointment revolve around her qualifications and her ideology. And you know it.

    Your side is losing ground. It’s not so much that your tactics are being discovered by the educational mainstream and parents/citizens; it’s that your efforts simply are not working. Y’all talk a good game and champion what you shape as victories in educational transformation but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

  5. From the Journal today:

    At another point during Saturday’s hearing, in which senators focused more on administrative controversy than education policy, Skandera touted improved statewide graduation rates for Hispanic and Native American students.

    “We are closing the achievement gap,” she told committee members.

    That prompted Sen. Jacob Candelaria, an Albuquerque Democrat, to say some of Skandera’s education initiatives — such as a new teacher evaluation system — have been in place only for a short time. He chastised her for taking credit for the trend.

    “I want to make sure that we don’t politicize data, and we don’t politicize outcomes,” Candelaria said.

    And thus, Jeff, the reason for Andrew’s love for her.
    She knows how to spin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.