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Martin Libhart is qualified in what way?

When Bob Corkins, a lawyer with no classroom experience, was named Kansas Commissioner of Education in 2005, newspaper editorialists and education bureaucrats throughout Kansas condemned the action. How could a person with no classroom experience and no traditional education credentials possibly manage the state’s schools?

“Bob’s in way over his head,” said Winston Brooks, superintendent of USD 259, the Wichita public school district.

But what about Martin Libhart, the man who succeeds Winston Brooks, if only as the interim superintendent? According to a news release on the USD 259 website: “Because Libhart does not currently possess a district level leadership certificate, the district is working with the Kansas State Department of Education for a restricted certificate as permitted by the department.” (emphasis added)

It seems that lack of formal credentials was not an obstacle to the promotion of Mr. Libhart. But Mr. Libhart has worked for the Wichita public school district for 20 years, and it seems that loyalty is now paying dividends. Evidently it is enough to overcome his lack of classroom experience and traditional education credentials — the same inexperience that made Bob Corkins, in the minds of Kansas education bureaucrats, unfit to serve.

What exactly did Mr. Libhart do for the Wichita school district? Again, from the USD 259 news release: “During his 20-year career in the Wichita Public Schools, Libhart served for 13 years as director of the Facilities Division prior to being appointed chief operations officer.”

It seems, however, that the facilities and operations of the Wichita school district are managed somewhat less than efficiently. I say this because if you submit a records request asking the district how many classrooms and portables the district owned for the previous two years, you may get this answer, as did one citizens group:

The information is available. In order to prepare the information, it will require 40 hours of staff time @ $20.00 and 300 copies @ $.20, for a total cost of $860.00.

The Wichita public school district is telling us that in order to count the number of classrooms it possesses, it will take someone an entire workweek to produce this number. Does it seem like the district is effectively managing its resources when it will take one week to simply count the number of classrooms?

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous April 23, 2008

    When the Left at the Wichita Eagle, the government school establishment and Winston Brooks excoriated Bob Corkins appointment to Commissioner of Education because his expertise was in school finance this was front page news. Editorials and articles repeatedly flowed on this subject and often appeared in prominent places in the paper. The eagle was not the only KS paper to slam Corkins’ appointment.

    Now that Libhart’s appointment to replace Brooks as Wichita superintendent it is clear that Libhart’s qualifications related to education are significantly inferior to Corkins. A special waiver will be needed to make him superintendent. The left-wing Kansas news media buries this one-day story.

    The left protects its own and we now have another liberal in a powerful appointed position to push for more taxes and spending despite this blog’s vivid demonstration of his administrative weaknesses in responding to basic educational information about his supposed area of expertise, operations.

    Wichitaliberty.org deserves a lot of credit for pointing out the hypocrisy in the news/editorial coverage.

  2. […] is right to support the school bond, USD 259, the Wichita school district, Interim Superintendent Martin Libhart reminds us of the study prepared by Wichita State University that touts the economic benefit of the […]

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