Scrap Calif.'s Schools Chief Job, Gov. Schwarzenegger Says

July 14, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As Yogi Berra would say, it’s deja-vu all over again in California, where, for the 19th time out of the last 25 years, the state has started a new fiscal year without an approved budget. And, as in the last several years, lawmakers are grappling with how to close an eye-popping deficit—a gap that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says has to be closed without raising taxes.

Last week, the governor (who has just got to be ecstatic that this is his final budget battle) took to the radio waves to call for ways to “streamline bureaucracy and to make government smaller.” His first idea to do that?

Get rid of the elected statewide schools superintendent!

OK, so he doesn’t outright say that California should dump the state supe’s job. But here’s what he does say:

...In California, we elect the superintendent of public instructions. [sic] But why? We already have a secretary of education and a board of education. Why do we need a superintendent of education?"

There are a couple of reasons, says Hilary McLean, a spokeswoman for Jack O’Connell, the current elected state chief. She tells the folks at the online investigative news site California Watch that scrapping the job would save the state a whopping $151,427, the salary for that position. And still, as McLean points out, you’d have to hire someone to run the state education department.

And there’s the matter of the state constitution. The state superintendent of public instruction is a constitutionally mandated position. The governor rightly asks why the state needs an education secretary, a state board, and an elected state supe. There’s a good argument to be made that there are too many chefs in the kitchen.

But he fails to mention that the appointed education secretary’s position was created less than 20 years ago when Pete Wilson was governor. Or that the current secretary, Bonnie Reiss, is pulling down $175,000 for a political appointment that carries little authority. The governor could save the state an extra $23,573 if he got rid of that job.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.


Teaching Webinar Examining the Evidence: What We’re Learning From the Field About Implementing High-Dosage Tutoring Programs
Tutoring programs have become a leading strategy to address COVID-19 learning loss. What evidence-based principles can district and school leaders draw on to design, implement, measure, and improve high-quality tutoring programs? And what are districts
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)