In the coming months, the Ohio Board of Education must figure out how to integrate a new federal core curriculum and redesigned state curricula, develop a fair method to evaluate principals and teachers, and determine when third graders read well enough to enter fourth grade. So why does Gov. John Kasich want to put someone on the board who has no evident experience in education?
Mr. Kasich recently named Stanley Jackson to serve out the last six months of the term of board member Dennis Reardon, the former head of the state's largest teacher's union. The Ohio Senate must ratify the appointment.
A spokesman for the governor told National Public Radio that Mr. Jackson, a Republican from Marion, Ohio, "shares the governor's views." That appears to be his chief qualification for the post.
Mr. Jackson, 37, played quarterback at Ohio State University, where he was part of a team that won the 1997 Rose Bowl. He did not graduate, but left school early to play in the Canadian Football League and Continental Indoor Football League for several years.
These days, Mr. Jackson does sports commentary for a Columbus radio station, is part owner of the indoor football team he played for, and reportedly is preparing to open a charter school for black males. He says he has mentored young people since his college days.
According to the Marion Star newspaper, Mr. Jackson wants to start a TV station "geared toward black Christian conservative values." He told the newspaper that he's an "everyday American," not an "education insider" -- whatever that is.
Mr. Jackson would diversify a board that has just one African-American member. But his stated intention to run for an elected seat on the board suggests an alternate interpretation of his appointment. The patina of incumbency is a powerful political tool.
The ability to make informed policy decisions about curricula, teacher-evaluation criteria, and other issues takes more than a commendable desire to do good. It requires expertise that cannot be learned on the job.
If the Republican-controlled state Senate is serious about improving elementary and secondary education in Ohio, it will flag this ineligible receiver.