– But, we are spending twice as much on it
And, once again, it’s being conducted in secret.
We went through a secret process in 2007. The public wasn’t given the candidates’ names until there were just three finalists left. Then, there was scarcely time for the public to begin considering those three people before the Kentucky Board of Education announced its final selection was Barbara Erwin.
Erwin’s selection came as a number of reporters, bloggers and yours truly were uncovering all sorts of embellishments in her resume. In the end, it turned out that anyone willing to spend a little time on the Internet and making a few phone calls could see that Ms. Erwin’s resume was loaded with “errors.”
In the end, Erwin never served one day as active commissioner.
Erwin’s replacement was Jon Draud. He was forced to resign after suffering a stroke less than a year later. By that time, the Courier-Journal indicates the state had spent $60,000 on commissioner searches since the Erwin process started.
Now, with a new price tag of $120,000, the Kentucky Board of Education is at its secret search game again.
The Courier quotes board chair Joe Brothers, “I do expect that at some point, one or more finalists will be publicly vetted. We just haven’t discussed that as a board yet.” So, there isn’t even a loose promise that the public will get to see the finalists’ names.
After the Erwin fiasco, I would be surprised if the board does as casual a job as they did before. If only to protect their own reputations, I would imagine individual board members are at least checking the Internet and making a few phone calls on their own. We might be in better shape than we were in 2007.
Still, the history lesson from 2007 is very clear – transparency matters, and allowing the public adequate time to have a say leads to more informed decisions and can help avoid huge mistakes. So far, the Kentucky Board of Education seems to still be in the “Novice” performance category on that learning exercise.