Our Views: An old idea, still wrong

It’s back-to-the-future time in the Legislature again, with lawmakers debating a proposal to undo a key goal of education reformers of a generation ago: appointment of a professionally qualified state superintendent of education.

That was a major battle after years of scandals involving superintendents of education who were elected statewide. As Louisiana faced the challenge of other Southern states investing in education as an economic development drive, our state stumbled with erratic leadership from elected superintendents and sometimes conflict between the superintendents and the mostly elected membership of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Those lessons appear to have been forgotten, and at least one measure to revert to an elected superintendent is in play in the legislative session. We hope lawmakers will reflect on the difficulties that plagued Louisiana education back in the day.

We are in a time of significant debates over public education. The notion of a statewide elected official as superintendent is a step back, not forward.