Skubick: Outgoing state school head: Take politics out of picking state Board of Ed. members

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The state School Superintendent is leaving at the end of the month after ten years as Michigan’s top educator. Mike Flanagan’s also leaving behind a recommendation on how the state school board should be selected.

Flanagan leaves office as the longest serving state school superintendent in the country and goes out the door with some advice for the two politicial parties, advice they may not embrace.

Currently members of the state Board of Education are nominated by the political parties. Mr. Flanagan believes that can get in the way of helping students get a better education.

“I do see more and more the party positions come to the surface and it should be totally kid focused,” said Flanagan. “Why have that burden?”

When voters elect state board members, he worries citizens don’t know anything about the candidates. “The news media does a pretty good job of covering candidates but do people do their homework to find out who they are voting for? I doubt it.”

Mr. Flanagan also reports 50% of the schools in Michigan do not take federal dollars to feed disadvantaged children. He says he doesn’t understand that. “It’s federal money on the table. There’s a problem about how do you run the program but there’s no excuse,” Flanagan states. “If a kid’s hungry they are not going to learn.”

Mr. Flanagan will write a book after he “detoxes” for a while. What about running for something? He’s clear on that question. “I’m not running for anything.”

He’s out the door June 30th.

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