Saturday, January 03, 2009

Senator Bennet (D-School Reform)

Senator Bennet (D-School Reform)

Denver school superintendent Michael Bennet will be appointed (rather his appointment will be announced, natch) to the U.S. Senate tomorrow to fill out the term of Senator Salazar who is joining the Obama Administration as Secretary of the Interior.  Bennet is one of the most thoughtful and effective school superintendents on the scene today.   

One anecdote that says a lot:   When you visit schools with him in Denver and drop in on classrooms the students tend to know his name and recognize him, and Denver is not a small school district with just a few schools.

Not since Strom Thurmond dined…?  In the trivia department, I think the last school superintendent to serve in the Senate was Strom Thurmond.   If that’s wrong someone please correct in the comments. 

Multiple Intelligences: Although given his current job the education angle is getting the attention (I’m guilty, too, just look at the title of this post), in fact Bennet has worked successfully in several public and private venues, he’s an impressive guy.   But, there are obviously high hopes he’ll be a reformer in national office given his track record on the education issue.

Don’t believe everything you read:  This AP story from a few weeks ago has a misleading top - implying that Bennet modified Denver’s differentiated teacher pay plan to increase teacher support - that seems to now be framing some of the bloggy and other reax and coverage of the Bennet story.  In fact, the issue on teacher pay was a long-term redistribution of salaries from some veterans toward newbies that was highly contentious at the time and where Bennet ultimately prevailed by hanging tough under pressure.  More here and here.   It’s true that in the end more teachers voted for the most recent contract than the original pay plan, which is good but more complicated than AP  lets on.

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