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

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who is Andy Smarick?

NJ Spotlight heralds the coming of Bret Schundler's #2:

The commissioner's most important appointment has yet to arrive. Schundler has named Andrew Smarick, a well-known fellow with the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, to be his deputy commissioner, the No. 2 position in the department. He starts August 2.
Much of the speculation in Trenton is around the policies and politics that will come with Smarick, a big school choice advocate and vocal critic of urban school turnaround efforts.
Few doubt Smarick will seek to shake up the school establishment, and while he wouldn't comment last week, he has indicated his own interests in bringing changes specifically to Newark, a state-operated district at its own crossroads.
Well, OK, then. I guess he has a lot of experience in turning schools around. Must be an instructional leader; maybe a background in urban school administration.

Hey, he was a White House Fellow under Bush. What's his resume from 2007 say?
Andrew Smarick, 31Hometown: Arnold, MD. Andrew Smarick serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools where he oversees daily operations of a national nonprofit organization committed to expanding high-quality public school options, particularly for low-income families. Previously he served as a legislative assistant to a Member of Congress and as an aide to several members of the Maryland state legislature. He has served on the transition teams of Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich and Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold and as a member of Governor Ehrlich’s Commission on Quality Education. Andy is a co-founder and board member of KIPP Harbor Academy, a college-preparatory charter school serving disadvantaged students from Annapolis, MD. His articles on education matters have appeared in major publications, including the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and the National Review Online. In 2006, Andy won his party’s primary election for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates before losing narrowly in the general election. He graduated summa cum laude and with honors from the University of Maryland with a degree in Government and Politics. He earned a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.
Yeah, he's a 34-year-old who cut his rather young teeth in Maryland Republican politics. Never ran a school, never taught, no college degree in education. "Started" a KIPP school - we'll get to KIPP on this blog this summer, I promise, but for now, it's enough to know KIPP has been around for a while and "starting" a KIPP school is roughly like "starting" a Dunkin Donuts franchise.

After the White House gig, it was straight to the wingnut welfare gravy train!
Andy Smarick served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education where he helped manage the Department's research, budget, and policy functions. From 2007 to 2008, Andy served at the White House in the Domestic Policy Council, working primarily on K-12 and higher education issues. Prior positions include: Chief Operating Officer for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, legislative assistant to a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and aide to members of the Maryland state legislature. Andy helped found a college-preparatory charter school for disadvantaged students in Annapolis, and he was a member of Maryland Governor's Commission on Quality Education. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, National Review Online, and Education Next...
Am I the only one who is completely annoyed at how these faux "scholars" wind up in serious positions of influence without the slightest shred of accomplishment, scholarship, or even education that is remotely germane to their jobs?

Bret Schundler is a career pol who once served a year as an administrator for a college located in the Empire State Building. Andy Smarick is a career pol who has bounced from political appointment to conservative think tank without once ever getting his hands dirty in a real school district.

These are the guys who are going to tell us how to fix our schools? Really?

Or is it so crazy to think that maybe someone in authority at the NJDOE should have some experience as an educator?!?

UPDATE: Lucille Davy, Corzine's Education Commissioner, is a former math teacher. Just saying.

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