Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Aren't We Talking About Superintendents?

Dallas's new state legislator Stefani Carter weighed in on the crisis facing public education funding in Texas. In doing so, this freshman legislator demonstrated how little she can be counted on to offer practical solutions to the crisis. Her comments came in an interview with The Texas Tribune's editor Evan Smith. Unfair Park's Rob Wilonsky highlights the money quote from Carter on the subject:

"Says Carter, instead of talking about laying off teachers: 'Why aren't we talking about superintendents? Why aren't we talking about administrators?'"

After the jump, why this is wrong in multiple ways.

Most obviously, Texans already *are* talking about superintendents. We *are* talking about administrators. For example, consider this news from the Plano school district (Carter's home until she moved and filed to run in House District 102), as reported by Jessica Meyers in The Dallas Morning News:

"The Plano school district will eliminate the position of its second-ranking official in a central-office shakeup that stems from fears of drastic budget cuts. Deputy Superintendent Danny Modisette confirmed he won't return next fall to a district considering cuts that could reach $65 million. Administrators would not elaborate as to why they chose his position or about other administrative shifts. But they called this the first round and warned of future layoffs that could touch teachers. 'You don't have to be a math whiz when you look at the state deficit and its significant impact on the district,' Modisette said. 'We started with the central department and campus-level positions.' ... The school board last week approved layoffs to save the district $1.4 million a year in administration and support service costs."

Carter is unaware of what's already going on in the schools. Is she not talking to superintendents? Is she so programmed with conservative talking points that she can't see what's already happening out there? Is she trying to drive a wedge between teachers and administrators instead of offering real solutions?

$1.4 million in cuts in administration and support service costs would be deep cuts in normal times. With PISD facing cuts of up to $65 million in total, much deeper slashing will be necessary. You simply can't get there just by cutting waste. Carter's attitude is naive and impractical. She lacks the experience needed to offer practical solutions instead of ideological talking points.

"Why aren't we talking about superintendents? Why aren't we talking about administrators?" Maybe the better question, given the representation offered by the likes of Carter, might be, "Why aren't we talking about freshman legislators?" All Texans are going to pay a big price for sending neophytes like Carter to Austin to cut spending.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

In another sign of how oblivious Stefani Carter is, the Rockwall school board Monday night approved cutbacks in school district administration and support services personnel totalling $1.8 million. The cutbacks do not include teachers at this point. Come on, Carter, talk to all the people back home, not just the ones who think our schools are full of fat and waste.