I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Should a politician get paid more than a school superintendent?

Assemblyman Dave Rible (R-Big Surprise) has a proposal out to cap school administrator salaries at $5K less than the salary of the state Commissioner of Education:
Citing information from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) which shows more than 725 school administrators making more than $141,000 annually, including nearly 60 school superintendents drawing annual salaries of $200,000 or more, Rible said, “Such exorbitant salaries are, in part, to blame for the high cost of property taxes associated with education in New Jersey and the state’s chronic budget deficits...
Believe it or not, I know a little about the private sector. If you tried to get someone to run a business* that had 500 employees and $50 million in revenue for under $136K, you'd be pretty disappointed at the resumes showing up on your desk.

But aside from that, what makes Rible think that the Education Commissioner is more qualified to run anything than a school superintendent?

A super needs at least a masters degree with specific courses in educational leadership. She has to pass a test. And good luck getting your foot in the door without at least five years supervisory experience.

Now let's take a look at the bio of our current Ed Commissioner, Bret Schundler:
Schundler began his career in finance in the sales department of Salomon Brothers. While he had no experience in the field, his interviewer thought that anyone who could sell Hart in western Iowa had a future in finance. In 1987, he moved to a different firm, C. J. Lawrence, which has since been absorbed into Deutsche Bank. He retired in 1990...
(I just love Wikipedia entries that were so obviously written by campaign staffers)

Add to this Mayor of Jersey City and two failed gubernatorial campaigns, and you've got the resume of a real educational leader, yes?

Schundler is a politician. He holds no advanced degrees. His only educational experience appears to be less than one year as COO of a college that apparently hires professors without advanced degrees, and is located in the Empire State Building. Seriously.

If Schundler applied to become a school super, his resume wouldn't make it past the circular file. But that's who we want to pattern our educational leaders after: politicians with no qualifications.


(*Schools are NOT businesses)

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