Tuesday, December 19, 2006

First Moves?

I posted my thoughts about the election results and a few people were surprised I was so horrified. Let me state again that I am more than pleased with how Democrats did nationally, but I am still sickened with the statewide results.

BYUI Dems blog commenter jamesp, wanted proof that Tom Luna was going to single handedly destroy public education in Idaho. I can't provide that proof and if I had that proof available, I would have shared it with everyone who would listen to ensure Luna wouldn't win the election. My opinion is still that Tom Luna will be a disaster for public schools and will seek to undermine public schools, but let me share some type of proof, in my opinion, that might lend credence to my opinion.

I would like to give thanks to the Royal Mountain Valice's blog for sharing some information about some of Luna's first moves as incoming Superintendent:

"The incoming superintendent, Tom Luna, has begun the process of restructuring the Department by firing 19 top level administrators, including key Bureau Chiefs and Coordinators. In addition to the 19, 8 more have resigned. Outgoing Superintendent Marilyn Howard identified the 27 in a memo sent out Monday to Idaho Superintendents, Principals, Business Managers, Charter School Directors, Title I Directors, Special Education Directors, Testing Coordinators and Technology Coordinators. According to Howard, this is just the 'first wave of firings.'"

Lastly, I would like to publicly announce my intentions to start my own personal blog that will be politically centered though not solely about politics. I still would like to blog here, if I am allowed, but would like the freedom to venture into other subjects. Thank you!

4 comments:

Peter Nguyen said...

Jessica,

Thanks for your contribution. To play devil's advocate, how are these changes bad?

A smaller, yet more efficient government is a good thing, no?

Can you show us the direct and indirect impacts of these changes?

Could it be that these fired administrators were poor employees of the state?

Thanks.

Jessica said...

How would Tom Luna have any idea how bad these employees are or aren't? He hasn't spent one day working as Superintendent. He also has no significant background in education and certainly doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to judging the expertise of those that work at the SDoE, or at any school.

One person remarked that most of those fired are PhD's. Not that education is everything, but we could certainly use more educated people working in our state departments.

As far as smaller government, you aren't realizing these employees will be replaced.

Also, I am wondering if you didn't read the post over at Royal Mountain Valice. That blogger was able to point out some pretty disturbing things about the firings...as well as quote Marilyn Howard's own words as this was only the first round of firings...

Let us also remember that Marilyn Howard saw fit to give just about every employee at the SDoE bonuses. "Bonuses" meaning she was happy with their work. Not that Marilyn is the perfect administrator, but I trust her judgement and how she views employees. She has been the administrator over there for 8 years, let's remember.

However, it is now Tom Luna's job and he is certainly able to fire and hire who he wants...

DrBlues said...

Jessica,
Thanks for the link to my blog. As I pointed out in my post, what is most disturbing is both the number and the depth of the firings. Peter asks, as Devil's Advocate, if a smaller more efficient government is not a good thing. Unfortunately, in this case, smaller means less efficient. These firings lead me to believe that Luna simply does not understand the relationship between school districts and the State Dept of Ed. Idaho School districts, particularly small districts, depend upon the State Dept to provide the experise necessary to function efficiently within the context of state and federal rules and regulations. I would be less concerned in the firings had been limited to Bureau Chiefs, but when the Coordinators are fired on-going programs and processes are disrupted. As administrators from the Boise and Meridian districts pointed out in the Idaho Stateman, what is lost is "institutional memory." Of course, "to the victor goes the spoils" and, just as Otter is doing at the Statehouse, Luna has the right to bring in people he trusts and can work with. I am just afraid that he is not a real advocate of Idaho public schools and is more interested in dismantling that in coordinating.

By the way, let me know when you start your blog and I will put a link on my site.

Jessica said...

Thanks drblues: Here is my blog: http://seattleiteinidaho.blogspot.com/