Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bergeson’s COLA: 10%

Alternate Title: Because She Earned It
Alternate Title: Mrs. Bergeson Gets a Raise

So the Citizen’s Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials met recently and decided that everybody gets a raise. Governor Gregoire jumps up to nearly $164,000. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown will go up from $44,311 to $49,280, which isn’t all that much more than I make.

The curious one to me is Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson getting a 10% raise, from $107,978 to $119,234, more than an $11,000 raise. In the article from the Spokesman-Review (which you can’t read because they’re horrible about bogarting their web site; go to the Seattle PI instead) Commission member >Alan Doman cites a need for “comparable pay” because “we don’t want to get behind the process.”

I’ve joked about this before, but let’s be out with it: if we’re judging Dr. Bergeson on her merits, right now it’s an awfully hard case to make.

In this past legislative session Bergeson was, by nearly all accounts, a non-factor. Hell, she was the Incredible Disappearing Superintendent. The big issues in education in Washington went on around her and not a one seemed to involve her.

Take, for example, delaying the math and science WASLs. No one in this state has more invested in those tests than Terry Bergeson, but during the discussion the people you heard from were Christine Gregoire, Skip Priest, members of the House, Mothers Against WASL, the Washington Association of School Administrators...but not a whole lot from the Good Doctor.

After the session was over Terry released this statement which is a nice enough overview of what went on, but again in reading through it you see a whole lot of what other people did and very little of what she did, what she wanted, what she hoped for. She tried to portray the delay in math and science as a team effort between her and Governor Gregoire, and talks about the need for revising the curriculum and give teachers more training, but you can't ignore the fact that she's had better than 10 years on the job to try and get it right, and that it got to the point that it did is less a commentary on curriculum and more on a failure of the system she heads.

Dr. Bergeson knows education. I have a lot of respect for her; you can't listen to her talk about the state of education in Washington and not be impressed. At the end of the day, though, there are way too many metrics that we're failing in, systemic problems that haven't been corrected, and failed efforts at reform that amounted to nothing. We're reactive, not proactive, and that's not a good strategy.

Sound Politics has more, as well as the Ridenbaugh Press.

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