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Sunday, May 13, 2007

New Mounds View School Superintendent No Cause for Optimism

The Mounds View School Board has named current Deputy Superintendent Dan Hoverman to become the new Superintendent. He will start at his new position on July 1.

Having watched Mr. Hoverman in action as the Deputy Superintendent over the years, this announcement cannot be construed as good news for taxpayers or parents and students. According to the official press release from the Mounds View School Board:
Hoverman's career with the Mounds View School District spans 32 years of management experience at all school levels, including positions as school psychologist, special education director, executive director of curriculum, and deputy superintendent.
Note the total lack of any private sector business or management experience. The selection of such a long time entrenched education bureaucrat insider for the superintendent position indicates that the school board is not interested in any meaningful reforms that are sorely needed.

Just looking at Mr. Hoverman's "experience" is cause for concern. He is a psychobabbler (yep, we really need that), former special education director (an area that has long been a major financial drain on the district), executive director of curriculum (another problem area) and deputy superintendent of the current lackluster (at best) administration led by Jan Witthuhn. From what I've seen at school board meetings he also seems to have more than a bit of a condescending and abrasive personality.

All in all, I see little hope that the school board will seriously address any real reforms under Mr. Hoverman. His resume indicates he is an organization man who has ridden the public employee gravy train for many years and as such has no desire or ability to implement meaningful cost controls. I seriously doubt he is going to play hardball with Education Minnesota or the other teacher organizations. Educational excellence will continue to take a back seat to public employee job security, gold-plated benefit packages, and political correctness. Put it this way--he doesn't strike me as a Reagan conservative.

It would have been refreshing to see the board name an outsider to the position with a proven track record of fiscal responsibility, efficient management, a willingness and ability to deal with out-of-control labor unions, and an understanding of limited government, the evils of taxation, the free market, and privatization of the education system. In short, the district needs someone that will kick ass and take names when needed and willing to stand up to and tell the entrenched bureaucracy and public employee unions where to stick it if they don't like it.

The education system in Minnesota is badly broken and cannot be fixed from within the system. The decision of the Mounds View School Board to appoint a hard-core insider indicates that they intend to continue to go with the flow of the government educational bureaucracy that has badly let down our students and pummeled the taxpayers. Hoverman appears to be the consummate insider who will perpetuate the status quo, propping up whatever sags or breaks along the way with more tax money and pscychobabble.

Maybe Mr. Hoverman will surprise us, but I'm not counting on it.

2 Comments:

Blogger Daria said...

A friend of mine is a teacher in the Mounds View system. Her reaction to the announcement was, shall we say, less than enthusiastic; a view apparently shared by many of her peers judging from the coffee shop conversation I sat in on.

I sensed some ridicule of Witthuhn not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the prospect of a Superintendent Hoverman did not seem to be welcome news. He apparently has a reputation of being kind of a jerk when dealing with the peons on the front lines who have to deal on a daily basis with the policies made by the board.

Interesting thing is that my friend could hardly be classified as a hard-core conservative (lets just say that she and Hook would have more than a few disagreements regarding teacher unions and a few other things) and her co-workers didn't strike me as being "Reagan conservatives" either.

Apparently the skepticism of the suitability of Mr. Hoverman for the position crosses political and idealogical bounds. This leaves me very skeptical about the future direction of the district under Mr. Hoverman's leadership.

-D

5/13/2007 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darla has it right. Those of us who work at the classroom level will not have our concerns taken seriously. This is a VERY bad decision by the board for both the teachers and the students.

5/14/2007 4:02 PM  

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