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Mark Binker, the Raleigh correspondent for The News & Record of Greensboro, has a good blog. He recently engaged in an exchange with GOP Governor-wanna-be Bob Orr over who should be responsible for education.

Binker wrote:

“Orr had said that responsibility for education should rest with the governor. And in my snarky way, I asked rhetorically what we should do with the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“It turns out, Orr has a not-so-rhetorical answer. There are too many players, he said, with some kind of responsibility and oversight for the state’s educational system. That lets people hide from responsibility, he said.

“‘There needs to be a consolidation of responsibility and the ultimate responsibility needs to rest with the governor,’ Orr said.”

I’m with Orr. After all, I worked for Jim Hunt, THE Education Governor.

But the untold story is how little power the Superintendent has over education today.

A capital veteran who knows more than I do about education says Governor Easley’s people have taken over the state Department of Public Instruction – and left Superintendent June Atkinson out of power and out in the cold.

It happened when Atkinson’s victory was still in doubt after 2004. The State Board of Education made J.B. Buxton, who was Easley’s unsuccessful candidate in the primary, the administrative head of the department. And gave Buxton the power to run things.

The board can do that because, under the Constitution, it has the authority, not the Superintendent.

So now, as Eddie Davis, President of the North Carolina Associate of Educators, runs against Atkinson in the 2008 Democratic primary, you have to wonder: Is the office worth John Nance Garner’s bucket of warm spit?

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