Friday, April 3, 2009

Spotlight on OEA?

In the early 1990s, the Office of Education Accountability was regularly in the news. OEA investigations generated multiple cases where Commissioner Boysen brought charges and the state board conducted removal hearings. And then, around the time Boysen left Kentucky and Penney Sanders left OEA, that stopped.

It's been a puzzle. I'm sure district leaders got used to their new legal duties, and misconduct declined. But did it end, like a faucet suddenly turning off? Or did Did OEA stop uncovering it and sending cases to KDE? Or--option 3--did KDE stop bringing charges in cases OEA referred?

Ronnie Ellis of the CNHI news service has now offered a clue:
Lisa Gross, KDE spokeswoman, said no board members have been removed in Kentucky since the mid-1990s. She said such tough OEA recommendations are typically referred to the Education Professional Standards Board or the Attorney General’s Office.

“Generally, we point out the error and help them fix it,” she said of OEA recommendations to local boards.

Moberly would like to see the OEA given more enforcement authority in such cases. But he said OEA findings are usually effective even without additional enforcement power.

“No school district likes for OEA to come in,” Moberly said. “So when OEA makes suggestions, the district usually feels they have to follow them.”
The full Richmond Register article is here. It sure sounds like KDE is saying they don't bring charges--even though the law makes that a duty of the Commissioner. And it also sounds like Representative Moberly is not fully satisfied with that arrangement.

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