From the Associated Press:
The West Virginia Board of Education has two new members.
Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday the appointments of Deborah Sullivan and Joseph Wallace to the board.
Sullivan most recently retired as principal of Charleston Catholic High School. Wallace is an attorney from Elkins.
The nine-member board has undergone an overhaul since Justice took office in January.
Curious about the picks, I did some research assuming from my past experience that having worked in public education was not a prerequisite for appointment to the board. I was not disappointed -- especially with Wallace. As for Sullivan, her last 28 years in education were spent as a principal at Charleston Central Catholic, a private school. In the course of my research I also came across this 800-word op-ed piece by Sullivan in the Charleston Gazette-Mail published two days before Justice's January inauguration as his continuing to coach basketball while being governor was being debated:
"Debra K. Sullivan: Justice should continue to coach while WV’s governor"
As sixties' folksinger Phil Ochs used to say: "Thank God for coincidence."
I was just about to publish this when I decided to wait for the afternoon paper to see if and how they would cover the story. As they often do, they skipped the "inform the reader with the news" step and instead went straight to editorializing -- it's a lot easier to leave out important details that way:
Placing someone with a Catholic schools background on the state board was an excellent idea. Kudos to Justice for doing so.
Sullivan will bring to the board a perspective that, to our knowledge, has been missing for some time. It is of a Mountain State school system that does some things very differently than public schools and - dare we say it? - may have practices and strategies that could benefit the public school system.
West Virginians cannot continue to try the same old ideas that have failed our public schools in the past. Sullivan may well help the state Board of Education think truly outside the box - and that is precisely what we need.
Okay, I give up -- what's the different perspective/strategy and what do they do differently in Catholic schools that could be adopted by the public schools? Teach religion? Discourage unions? Pay employees less? And is it a deep, dark secret that's kept from those who work in public schools? What a silly argument.
Here's a thought. Maybe we'll get better public education when we quit populating the state board of education with coal propagandists, energy lobbyists, and those who are owed a political favor.
There is no link to the editorial -- it's currently not online.