Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

District Heads Have the Best Job

October 07, 2020 1 min read

To the Editor:

In Education Week’s August 26 issue, a brief discusses a report by the American Enterprise Institute that summarizes a series of conversations with school district or Catholic diocese superintendents (“In Coronavirus Era, Worst-Job Honors Go to District Heads”). The article’s title mischaracterizes the leadership of superintendents in America’s public schools.

While I cannot comment on the role of a private school superintendent, the public school superintendents who were among the 12 interviewed for the report were undoubtedly frank and truly characterized the “unwinnable situations” presented to them throughout the pandemic. However, the small sample size does not represent the American public school superintendency.

I am a public school superintendent and I am not in the worst job in America. I am one among hundreds who are the chief advocates for public school children, prioritizing and championing efforts to serve students in healthy, safe, and academically engaging environments.

Being a superintendent means resisting political pressure and railing against inequities perpetuated by state governments. And, yes, sometimes there are impossible choices to be made in the midst of competing priorities. But the job of public school educators and school leaders is one of the best on the planet. My colleagues and I have the opportunity to wake up every day to wonder, strategize, and deliberate in creative educational environs.

In the midst of unprecedented times where politics has created confusion, I offer congratulations to my superintendent colleagues for a job well done! Navigating challenges to better the lives of children, and facing inevitable criticism, is what we do best.

Bob Ike

President

New York State Council of School Superintendents

Albany, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the October 07, 2020 edition of Education Week as District Heads Have the Best Job

Events

School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools

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

School & District Management From Our Research Center How the Pandemic Is Shaping K-12 Education (in Charts)
Surveys by the EdWeek Research Center show how schools have changed during the pandemic and what adjustments are likely to stick.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School on Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School in Rye, N.Y., last fall.
Mary Altaffer/AP
School & District Management Opinion Ed. Leaders: Discuss Race, Call Out White Supremacy
Downplaying the realities of racism leads to misunderstanding school problems and developing inadequate solutions.
John B. Diamond & Jennifer Cheatham
5 min read
Hand writing the word racism on blackboard. Stop hate. Against prejudice and violence. Lecture about discrimination in school.
Tero Vesalainen/iStock/Getty
School & District Management 'You Can’t Follow CDC Guidelines': What Schools Really Look Like During COVID-19
All year, some teachers have said that enforcing precautions to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms can be nearly impossible.
13 min read
Guntown Middle School eighth graders walk the halls to their next class as others wait in their assigned spots against the wall before moving into their next class during the first day back to school for the Lee County District in Guntown, Miss on Aug. 6, 2020.
Eight graders walk the halls on the first day back to school in Guntown, Miss., on Aug. 6, 2020. Teachers in several states told Education Week that since the beginning of the school year, enforcing precautions such as social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has been nearly impossible.<br/>
Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP
School & District Management Opinion School Reopening Requires More Than Just Following the Science
Educators can only “follow the science” so far. Professional expertise matters too, writes Susan Moore Johnson.
Susan Moore Johnson
5 min read
Illustration of school and bus
Getty