Good leaders know that the buck stops with them; others need to be reminded. So reasons the Mississippi Board of Education, which pushed through the state's House of Representatives a bill to remove underperforming superintendents from their jobs, even if they were elected by the public. (Yes, in some states local superintendents are still elected.) Unfortunately and oddly, voters selecting education officials too seldom consider educational performance and student achievement, so this tonic is more than appropriate. But the details matter. The current Mississippi plan would fire superintendents after two years of poor district performance, which isn't much time to turn around a miserable situation. Nor is it clear that Mississippi superintendents who take over terrible districts and make major gains while still falling short of certain benchmarks will be spared the guillotine. Nonetheless, the idea behind the bill is the right one: If educators are held accountable, so, too, should their bosses.
"Miss. House Passes Accountability Bill For School Superintendents," Associated Press, March 19, 2008
"Board of Education pushing bill to hold superintendents accountable," Clarion-Ledger, March 17, 2008