Despite the power and influence a school district superintendent wields in Texas, voters and taxpayers are forbidden from knowing who is being interviewed for education’s top job. This should change.
The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas recently noted the demise of Senate Bill 550, proposed by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler). The legislation would have lifted “the curtain of secrecy that prevents parents from knowing the identities of finalist candidates interviewing to be the school district superintendent of their kids.”
The legislation passed out of the Senate by a vote of 30-1. It was heard in the Texas House Committee on Public Education in mid-May, but never voted upon. (I must confess to having not even known about the legislation until reading the FoIFT blog post today.)
As FoIFT noted, Texans have the legal right to know who is being interviewed for city manager positions and policy chiefs, but school superintendents. This secrecy is both inexcusable and inexplicable.
The superintendent is one of the most powerful positions in any community. After all, Texas’ school districts are often one of the largest single employers in the community, and school superintendents are given broad leeway in overseeing multi-million budgets.
And, of course, there is the direct influence they have over the education and lives of every single child in the community.
Yet who is being interviewed is hidden from the public. Why?
There can simply be no good reason. It’s time for much greater transparency in our public schools.