Column: Down the road, make school chief appointed

For more than 20 years, periodically, this newspaper has called for the Indiana Legislature to make the superintendent of public instruction an appointed position rather than an elected one.

It never made sense to us that Indiana might end up with competing educational agendas, should the governor and the superintendent be of opposing political parties. It actually happened when Republican Suellen Reed held the post under Democratic governors Evan Bayh and Frank O’Bannon, and to her credit, she made it work. But at the time, education in Indiana was not the lightning rod of disagreement it is today.

Also, most governors prefer to have their own education advisers on staff, thus giving the state two education chiefs, both paid by the taxpayers.

But for most of these past years, we’ve been whistling in the wind. No one in the legislature or state government was really very interested in doing the heavy lifting of gathering support for such a change. A lot of officials told us it was a good idea, among them Gov. Mitch Daniels, but no one really wanted to champion the cause.

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