Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Will SecEd nominee Mark Murphy become Markell's Harriet Miers?

It is not only that veteran educator and longtime DOE veteran Horacio Lewis today raises questions about Mark Murphy's credentials to replace Lillian Lowery as Delaware's Secretary of Education:

Mr. Murphy, while promising as a future education innovator, may not yet be ready to garner the necessary respect, audience and support required as we tackle the important issues of Delaware’s STEM education and other Race to the Top initiatives.

It is not only the fact that education-oriented bloggers around the First State, from Kilroy to Transparent Christina to The Colossus of Rhodey are reacting negatively to the Vision Network's chief's nomination as the new SecED.

It is not only the fact that massive numbers of Rodel-PAC mailers (some scorchingly negative, as in Christina School District) are provoking a potential anti-ed reform backlash in school board races across the state next week.

It is not only that charter schools, from the expansion of Newark Charter to the current melt-down apparently in progress at Pencader, have become more controversial than at any point in the past ten years.

It is not only that I hear rumors of a counterweight public education advocacy group organizing to bring some different voices to the table (more on that upcoming in the next few weeks).

It is that all of these issues and events combined have formed "the perfect storm" (how's that for a grossly over-used reference) driving public education policy issues to the forefront in Delaware during a major election year, at a time when an open, free-wheeling, often bitterly acrimonious debate will be . . . exactly what many candidates around the state most fervently wish to avoid.

But they are not going to be able to.

One has to wonder, as one has never wondered before:  will Governor Markell stick with his own Harriet Myers in the face of what could become mounting opposition?  Will somebody in the State Senate discover sufficient cervical veterbrae (that is, find the backbone) to ask the tough questions and become the first legislator to call on him to drop the nomination?

Again, rumors suggest that a couple of them are considering it, but the waters are murky and the risks of crossing this governor at this time . . . are not risks to court likely.

But then again . . . remember Harriet Miers.

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