Hallelujah! Yecke Out as Florida’s K-12 Chancellor

20 12 2007

Breaking education news today:
“Jeb Bush ally Yecke out as state K-12 chancellor”

Is there anything left about public schooling that is truly educational rather than merely political?

Yecke, a Republican who was briefly employed by a conservative think tank, dropped a [Republican of course] campaign for Congress in Minnesota to take the Florida job in 2005. . .

Some Minnesota lawmakers disliked her hard-charging style and complained her conservative agenda was turning education into a political battleground. . .

She was fired in MN after only 16 months. That’s about how long she lasted here, less than two years.

How you see this news will depend on how you see the world, I guess. Education is politics and too often it is religious politics, but this isn’t one school board somewhere — we’re talking about whole states now, and she might set her sight on YOUR state next. Today the news media seem to be playing down her authoritarian, anti-science reputation but maybe that’s because she hires attack dogs to go after anyone who dares suggest her education professionalism is compromised by her personal world view. (Ever hear of a service called “reputation defender”?)

“When you’re a public figure, you have to try to manage fact from fiction,” she said.

From my secular and professional pov, Florida in all our cosmopolitan diversity and major investments in education, never should have hired her if there was even a whiff of concern, especially with our science standards on the line.

At least today’s news makes it a mistake of months rather than years, and with a more moderate governor in office, probably minor effect.

OTOH replacing her with yet another standardized testing maven isn’t much of a policy improvement, but just for today let’s drink a holiday toast to one small victory. . .

About why the biblical literalist mindset a la Yecke poisons pretty much everything including home educator conversations about choice, tolerance and individualism, see this and then check out a provocative pseudononymous new blog Daryl recommends, Unity-N-Diversity.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ”

—Voltaire