02/13/09 — More layers? In this case, too many cooks won't put out the fire

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More layers? In this case, too many cooks won't put out the fire

State Superintendent of Schools June Atkinson is not the only one who is confused about who is in charge of education in North Carolina.

The recent appointment of a CEO for the state board of education suggests that someone in Raleigh in general -- and the governor's office in specific -- has some kind of plan to jump on the problems that are plaguing North Carolina schools.

But no one except a select few seems to know what that plan entails -- or who really runs the state schools.

You might think there are more critical issues to discuss than who is handling what in Raleigh when it comes to education. Or, you might simply think there are more important issues, period, to discuss before we tackle improving education in North Carolina.

You would be wrong.

The quality of the state's schools is a determining factor in everything from the businesses we attract to the bases we hope to keep.

And that is before we even tackle the importance of having schools that will train the next generation of North Carolina workers.

But what we do not need are more bureaucracy and another layer of "advisers" who are big on titles and fancy words, but slow on action.

We elected a school superintendent for the state to direct the schools. If she is not good enough, someone should have stepped out and said so, before she was elected -- even if she was a Democrat and a member of the ruling party. Waiting until after the election -- after your candidate has been elected to the post -- is more than a little gutless.

If there was a problem with how the schools were run -- and there needed to be more accountability -- why in the world is this the first anyone in North Carolina has heard about it? Why wasn't Atkinson campaigning on a team approach and new ideas on running the state's schools? The answer is simple: She had no idea a CEO was coming.

Putting someone else in charge of education -- and muddying the waters of responsibility for the schools -- does nothing except make us even more steps away from what we really need -- a solution.

It reads like a power play -- and we do not need anymore fiefdoms in education. -- even if they are run by the governor. There are already too many of those -- and not enough people thinking about how to make North Carolina schools the best they can be.

Published in Editorials on February 13, 2009 10:00 AM