Cronyism comes before Children in Nevada
In August of 2013 those of us fighting the Common Core Standards started to delve into our individual states’ bills and administrative rules to see just what our states had done to become compliant with the federal government’s demands to become eligible to compete for Race to the Top funds.
We found a lot of disturbing things including, here in Oregon, our state’s passage of laws that would enable state government entities to coalesce data on our kids and share with virtually anyone, including the federal government.
Common Core Standards fighters in Nevada found some interesting information that leads me to believe that cronyism and personal friendships come before the children in Nevada’s schools.
Here’s the breakdown. Dale Erquiaga is the former senior advisor to Nevada’s governor Brian Sandoval. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Mr. Erquiaga applied for the position of State Superintendent of Schools in July of 2013.
Although Mr. Equiaga has held numerous high ranking positions in Nevada’s government, here-to-fore he has not been able to apply for this position. According to the article, “Erquiaga has experience lobbying for the Clark County School District and deep political ties in Nevada. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UNR and a master’s degree in leadership from Grand Canyon University.” There is one problem with this illustrious list of credentials though. Nevada’s statutes were written as such:
Superintendent must have, 1. Attained the age of 21 years at the time of his or her appointment and hold a master’s degree in the field of education or school administration…”
There are two more qualifications as well, but this last one is the most important.
Erquiaga has a master’s in leadership and a bachelor’s degree in political science–but he does not hold a master’s degree in the field of education or school administration.
I’ll play the devil’s advocate. Dale Erquiaga is obviously well connected on the political scene in Nevada and has some experience working with Clark County School District. He’s got friends in high places and he does possess a degree in leadership, as ambiguous as that sounds. There’s a big difference between, say, leading a restaurant and leading a school district.
If we are going to play by the rules here we do have to take into account that Erquiaga does not have that master’s that the position requires. Of course in this nation’s volatile political climate where none of the players seem to follow rules it would seem like an easy thing for the leaders in Nevada to ignore the fact that Erquiaga isn’t necessarily qualified, at least by the letter of the law.
But, no, they actually did something right. Technically right, anyway.
Nevada’s legislature had senate bill number 476 on their docket this year. That bill was for the Committee on Finance and included a slight change in the qualifications to be State Superintendent in it. Can you guess what that what change was? I’ll give you a hint. It looks like they removed the requirement stating the applicant must “Hold a master’s degree in the field of education or school administration…”
How very interesting. Seems as though the fact that Governor Sandoval and his old friend Erquiaga are best friends forever and feel the need to change certain parts of law or statute to maintain that relationship are above what might be best for schools.
Frankly, I do not know if Erquiaga is a good fit for the job or not. That is not the question. The question that rings out loud and clear in my mind is this: Must politicians always put friends before duty? Partners before professionalism?
They may have went ahead and changed some things around so that Mr. Erquiaga could submit his resume for the position of Superintendent of Nevada in July of 2013, nary a month after things were altered in the legislature to make it possible.
But is that right? Technically…they covered their behinds. But morally? I would say no. And I think a lot of Americans are with me on this one because our children come before their cronies. The wellbeing of children’s education in Nevada should above all.
The children in Nevada do not seem to be his priority, in fact. Superintendent Erquiaga has made sure that all of students’ data is collected and dispersed to interested entities in the way that it should be. And right after he took office he made sure that parents in Nevada knew that their children could not opt out of the assessments tied to Common Core.
If you are in Nevada or know someone who is, I encourage you to follow what is going on in that state on the Parent Led Reform Nevada Facebook page. The wellbeing of children’s education in the entire United States should be above all.
Of course, looking at the ins and outs and incestuous relationships between politicians and their friends and corporations, this is really no surprise. Just look at the shenanigans going on in the Oregon education system right now. Politicians and corporations make for some great bedfellows; they share resources, don’t they? You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
Americans are tired of this. It’s time to boot all of them out of office and make them take their cronies with them.