Huston For Superintendent

Last week, the Clark County School District superintendent announced that he’ll be leaving over the summer. As the school board starts searching for a replacement, I’d like to throw my hat in the ring. Below is a list of ideas that I like. I plan to be at their meeting on Thursday, April 8, at 4 PM, to discuss my interest with them. I’d appreciate anybody’s support!

These are only ideas, not laws set in stone. These tentative suggestions are meant to illustrate my priorities and values as an educational leader. Ideas would be discussed with the public and school district legal counsel, and may need to be enacted more or less strictly in practice.

  1. All decisions about finances and policies should be made with this motto in mind: “Academic achievement above all.”

  2. Frequently and regularly conference with every principal in the district about their needs, ideas, and concerns. Be open and available to all faculty, parents, and the community. Have an open door policy, and engage the community in person and through media more often. Public schools are community schools, and everyone’s input will be valued.

  3. Reduce non-teaching personnel throughout the school district: eliminate “regions” and regional superintendents, “teachers on special assignment,” and non-academic departments such as “Equity and Diversity Education.” These and many other examples of bureaucratic pork do nothing to improve students’ education.

  4. Reduce and/or eliminate programs that encourage ongoing student failure, in terms of lowered expectations or unreasonable credit retrieval: social promotion, 50% minimum grades, certificates of attendance, and block scheduling, which will also save the school district millions of dollars.

  5. Reduce number and frequency of physical mailings from school district to homes; vast and expensive waste will be ended here.

  6. Aggressively find and eliminate waste and abuse in the free and reduced lunch program.

  7. Consider ending year round schedules in elementary schools, as another cost-saving measure.

  8. Expand an emphasis on basic literacy and arithmetic in elementary grades. Consider re-instituting tracking of students based on achievement, to better modify instruction for individual student needs.

  9. Under no circumstances will funding for arts and sports programs be cut.

  10. Another cost-saving measure: all school district materials will be printed in English only.

  11. Require every campus to survey their community about dress codes and standard school attire.

  12. Strictly enforce discipline and attendance regulations; end the “revolving door” of discipline and endless truancy allowances.

  13. Empower teachers to conduct more effective disciplinary action against disruptive students, such as immediately placing them in an in-house suspension or placing them on RPC.

  14. Make it easier for campus administrators to discipline or fire grossly incompetent teachers; likewise, advocate for reform of current licensing standards and alternative licensing to attract experienced professionals to teaching.

  15. End all emphasis and pressure on teachers to utilize “learning styles,” multicultural education, cooperative education, and any other educational trend that is not supported by research as being consistently beneficial to learning.

  16. End any doctoring of disciplinary and other statistical numbers to the school district and public; stop pressuring and punishing administrators and teachers for “excessively” high discipline rates. Secrecy is out; transparency is in.

  17. Assertively involve parents in the education of nonproficient students: at all grade levels, after each grading period, nonproficient students will be required to attend conferences with their teachers and parents to determine the causes of student failure and to make definite resolutions to fix them. There will be no “grading of parents,” but as appropriate, these meetings may lead to voluntary parenting classes or seminars, such as many campuses already sponsor.

  18. Require schools to counsel habitually truant and disruptive secondary school students to enroll in alternative placements such as virtual high school, distance learning, adult education, etc. This will reduce discipline problems on campuses and will redirect school resources to those who want to learn.

  19. Actively encourage community organizations and businesses to reward successful students, especially through promotions, discounts, and in offering good students employment; CCSD will officially recognize and endorse such organizations and businesses to encourage the community to patronize them.

  20. Sell unnecessary facilities and materials. Does the superintendent’s office have a big leather chair and a huge oak desk? If so, they’ll both be on Craigslist by the end of my first day.

  21. I will perform my duties as superintendent for the same salary I make as a teacher, with no added perks or bonuses. This alone will save the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Anyone who thinks I lack sufficient financial background for this position should know that I am raising a family with five children only on my teacher’s salary (my wife is a stay-at-home mom). If I can make that work, I can make the school district’s budget work!


12 comments on “Huston For Superintendent

  1. You’ve oto my backing!!

    If this doesn’t pan out, you can run for the school board on this platform.

  2. It sounds like you have a lot of great ideas that would make a big difference. I hope you’re serious, as I’d support you.

    (The occasional cynic in me thinks some of these ideas make too much sense for our school board to actually go for them) Best of luck!

  3. Obvious you’ve never been in a leadership position. You don’t have a clue. And not everyone in Clark County looks like you nor thinks like you (thank heaven). I hope you never teach any of my kids.

  4. Dear Mr. Huston, Being the Mother of one of your former students, it would be my pleasure to support you. Your ideas are common sense with no frivolity. Good Luck!

  5. I hope that this works out. Being in your class was one of the most rewarding experiences of my high school career, and I have no doubt that you would benefit all of Clark County School district by getting this position. Good luck!

  6. FS, even more than the nod for the superintendent position, it’s heartening to see (literate!) thanks for my work. All the best to you.

  7. Your ideas are strong and consistently have children, teachers, and school administrators in mind. Because your ideas are straight-forward, they will never see the light of day. Common Sense is NOT what the CCSD’s School Board and the bloated administrators’ union want. They want to keep the status quo; your ideas are contrary to that philosophy. Again, I applaud you, but you will only get the support of many teachers (CCEA will NEVER endorse you because you are NOT willing to play by the school district’s rules.), some parents, a few members of the community — but even if you had 95% of the folks on your side, you would be summarily dismissed because you are not a part of the problem —- you are definitely an important aspect of the solution…. and CCSD will NEVER endorse someone who is capable of running a school district like this one.

  8. Ken, thank you so much for the support. Yes, this is a fool’s crusade, but I want people to know that these ideas are worthwhile and deserve discussion.

  9. Your ideas are sound and practical. I especially liked printing all materials in schools in English.

    You will have my support should you decide to seriously run for any of the school board positions.

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