Superintendent of Schools elected by the citizens? Director of Education appointed by a handful of people?
The Republican Philosophy clearly states as one of its tenets, “That the most effective government is closest to the people.”
In 1992, when Democrats were firmly in control of both chambers of the TN Legislature, the change was made to have the top educator in Tennessee counties appointed by a handful of individuals, instead of being elected by the citizens by whom the position is paid and, at least in theory, serves in the respective counties. Some of the supposed logic behind such a move was that it would ‘take the politics out of education.’ Not so surprisingly, at least for me, it did quite the opposite.
With the move from a superintendent elected by the citizens to a director of education appointed by a handful of people, in essence what it did was remove it from “the people.”
Currently working their way through the Tennessee Legislature are HB0902, sponsored by Rep. Frank Niceley, and SB0787, sponsored by Sen. Stacy Campfield. You can see an abstract of the proposed legislation here.
The question seems very easy for me: Do you want to be able to make your voice (i.e. “the people“) heard in regard to who serves you (i.e. “the people“) as the top educator in your county or do you feel like you need a handful of others (i.e. some other people) telling you what is best for you and your children?
When you elect someone to office, you are supposed to have elected a representative of the people, not a trustee. In a nutshell, the “representative” votes the will of his/her constituents and a “trustee” votes as he/she thinks best, because we (i.e. “the people“), apparently, aren’t intelligent enough to think for ourselves.
The latter concept of government does not sound to me to be “the most effective” and, certainly, not “the closest to the people.”
Cast your vote for or against the election of school superintendents by “the people.”