Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Confirmation debate 

The PioneerPress has run a pro/con on the nomination confirmation of MN Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke. The con point is written by -- surprise! -- a middle school administrator who doesn't like Yecke's book that critiques the modern middle school movement. Apparently, to this person, she's not entitled to an opinion on this.
The role of the commissioner of education is to promote the good that is occurring in Minnesota schools and to start conversations that result in improved schools for students. The commissioner's job is not to use hyperbole, political zealotry and mystification to confuse, bewilder and obfuscate the truth.
But principals can use them in editorials, eh?

The pro is written by Mitch Pearlstein at the Center for the American Experiment, one of the hated think tanks that doesn't hew to the Education Minne$ota line. He warns of the dangerous precedent the DFL-controlled Senate is creating. Imagining a world in which Yecke had not been confirmed he writes,

Was it because certain groups and individuals disliked how she orchestrated the writing of new academic standards for elementary and secondary schools to replace the dreadful standards of the discredited Profile of Learning? That was a large part of it, though "disliked" doesn't approach describing the visceral and exaggerated contempt certain critics seemed to have both for the new standards themselves and for their main author.

Or might the DFL-controlled Senate have gotten rid of Yecke because they saw an opportunity to slash and draw blood from the popular Republican governor who had appointed her? I make it a point to rarely question motives, but it's hard to believe that something nakedly partisan of this kind wasn't at work in the thumbs down.
It certainly isn't her credentials. Pearlstein concludes with an echo of something Governor Pawlenty said six weeks ago.
Is there a cricket way of getting rid of executive branch officials? Of course � it's called an election, and once every four years it provides an excellent opportunity to clean one house or another.
Winners lead; losers now stonewall and accuse the winners of lack of leadership. Q.v., Daschle's attempt to forestall every last Bush appointment.