State school superintendents leaving the field
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
10/03/12 at 2:53 AM
The foes of public education - and we all know who they are - undoubtedly will cheer the news that more than 300 Oklahoma public school district superintendents have resigned since 2006. But that's anything but good news, and in fact should be cause for alarm.
State Education Department records show that 312 superintendents have resigned those posts between 2006 and 2011, and another 218 have retired or been fired during that same time.
Another handful already have resigned this year, and more are expected.
The records show that dozens left each year during the period examined, with the most - 75 - resigning in 2008.
Obviously there are several reasons why so many superintendents are leaving, but it's just as obvious that the uphill battle they must face year in and year out in trying to provide quality education for youngsters is a major factor.
Derald Glover, longtime Fort Gibson Public Schools superintendent, summed the situation up for a report in The Oklahoman.
"There are always local challenges in schools," said Glover, "I think now there are more state and federal challenges being placed on educators, in general, than ever before."
Glover, a third-generation school superintendent, pointed to actions by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi as among the factors at work, citing specifically a new system for giving schools a letter grade.
"We have a lot of reform being pressed down on us all at once," Glover said. "It is extremely difficult to manage the day-to-day local functions and local visions of the school when you have reform measures piled on very heavily. I think that's why you're seeing more and more people get out of this profession and fewer and fewer getting in."
Glover went on to say superintendents aren't necessarily against some of the reforms, adding, "they're just being tossed out a bit haphazardly without a lot of thought on how to, realistically, implement them."
When more than half a state's superintendents leave the field in half a decade, something's not right. While it's popular in some camps to insist the state has too many school districts at 532, the fact remains these officials provide needed services as well as useful experience. Some of them serve in other capacities besides superintendent.
Sadly, the situation probably will only get worse in years to come.
Original Print Headline: Revolving door