Outsiders as school superintendents

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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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