Outsiders as school superintendents

January 8, 2010
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If it weren’t for the snow, education news might be dominating local headlines.

Yesterday, the Indiana Division of Professional Standards Advisory Board approved a proposal to allow future teachers to devote more time to learning math, science or other subject areas and less time learning teaching methods. The point is to make it easier to attract people with expertise in a subject into education, and to bring more subject expertise into classrooms through new education graduates. Read the story here.

Then, today, the Department of Education announced that high school graduation rates are rising. Here’s the story.

All good news for people who think improvement is long overdue.

However, one change largely overlooked in the teacher standards announcement was giving school boards the option to hire nontraditional superintendents—namely people from outside the education system. Licenses would be granted to these administrators only for a particular school system, but the move nevertheless broadens the potential crop of candidates.

The education department thinks school systems might look to a corporate chief financial officer if there’s need for fiscal expertise, for example. Or to a successful entrepreneur if the desire is for new ideas. Or to someone with particularly strong interpersonal skills if strife is a problem.

With every change there’s potential for problems. What are the downsides? Any upsides that will surprise?


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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.