Friday, June 3, 2016

AP: Dr. Wright has a tough job.

The AP's Jeff Amy analyzed the tenure of Mississippi Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright earlier this week and wondered why she would want to stay at her job given all the criticism and some alleged micromanagement. Mr. Amy wrote:

Carey Wright wanted to be a superintendent pretty badly, but sometimes you have to wonder if she knew what she was getting into when she took the job leading Mississippi’s public schools.

Just in the last month, the governor made it harder for Wright to reorganize the state Department of Education by vetoing a bill that would have exempted the department from civil service rules, partly over concerns that the department’s chief information officer, John Porter, was being paid more than the legal limit. (No mention that MDE was already exempted for two years or that the payroll increased by $1.5 million during the exemption period. There is also no mention that the State Auditor told her that Mr. Porter's $195,000 salary was illegal. Somehow, the actual amount of the salary did not make it into the story.)

Then majorities of the state House and Senate sent ugly letters demanding that the department get on board with a plan to fight the federal government over transgender bathroom policy. Some of those called for Wright to be fired, and they all had threats of political reprisals if Wright and the Board of Education didn’t do what Republican legislative leaders wanted. (Dr. Wright did go out on a limb instead of at least meeting with her board to determine what the policy should be. That is why there is a board.).

During the run-up to Tuesday’s specially called Board of Education meeting, supporters began to fear the board was going to fire Wright. That didn’t happen, and Board Chairman John Kelly of Gulfport gave her a renewed vote of confidence after a long closed session.

Still, though, 2 ½ years into Wright’s term, history suggests that her time at the helm of Mississippi’s schools may be more than half done. Since Richard Boyd became Mississippi’s first appointed superintendent in 1984, the median length of service in the office is four years.

It’s a tough, bruising job, with less power than some observers might realize. The typical superintendent is caught between an imperious Legislature that doesn’t hesitate to dictate the details of how it thinks schools ought to be managed, and local superintendents, who can always opt to voice agreement with new state policies while waiting for the latest fad to pass....

Wright made it to Mississippi after a 41-year career as a teacher, principal and administrator. She jumped from a long career in well-regarded Maryland schools to the District of Columbia in 2009, rising to chief academic officer under Michelle Rhee, who was often embroiled in controversy. Wright applied for a number of superintendent jobs, becoming a finalist but missing out on posts in Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska.

Mississippi superintendents who look like they’ve made some progress usually win a chance to get while the getting is good. Henry Johnson got called up to Washington to serve as assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education from 2005 to 2007. His successor, Hank Bounds, made the jump to being Mississippi’s higher education commissioner after four years, and then departed to be president of the University of Nebraska. (We get it. MDE is the Southern Miss of education. Get a good coach and they stay for two years.)

If Wright is updating her resume, she can list some wins. She never wavered from Mississippi’s Common Core-linked academic standards and rode out political discontent voiced by Gov. Phil Bryant and others with only minor revisions. Wright credited strong implementation of the new standards after Mississippi was the only state from 2013 to 2015 to show significant improvement in both reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The state has also shown increases in its high school graduation rate, although some of that increase could stem from changes in how state tests are counted in high school. Now, students can fail tests in algebra, biology, U.S. history and English and still graduate.

Wright may still have enough support to be effective. But there surely are easier jobs out there. Column.


Anonymous said...

So glad I got out of Mississippi. State that is last in everything hire's someone who comes from another one of the worst school districts in America. Good Luck Mississippi the rest of the world is moving forward.

Anonymous said...

And her pay more than reflects whatever difficult time she may have.

Anonymous said...

This lady needs to working in a local high school making about $40k.She would not last a week in the real world.

Anonymous said...

She bought a Mississippi car tag a year after she took her job in Mississippi. And yet, the law enforcement let it go? WHY??????

Anonymous said...

Wow, if this story was meant to generate sympathy for Dr. Wright, she can find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis. Being a leader is hard work and often requires that one set aside personal agendas for the wishes of those you serve (yes Dr. Wright, believe it or not you are a public servant).

7:18 is right, Dr. Wright should spend some time in a Mississippi classroom - it would most definitely add stronger perspective to her priorities.

Anonymous said...

@6:56 thanks for being a loyal JJ reader and checking back in on us at every chance you get!

Can You Spell Bad Hire? said...

The post at 7:18 is dead on. The article writer is less than honest if really wonders why she's staying. Maybe because she's paid so damned well. Obviously because she wants yet another state retirement. For sure because she had applied for the same job in seven states and this was the only one that eventually made a job offer.

How much more reason does an egghead of her political mindset and history of cronyism really need to hang around? She has no desire to change anything for the better or to offer up solutions for improvement. Her goal is to hang around awhile and tote the federal mantra and keep folks confused. Oh, and of course to populate as many jobs as she can with cronies, at least one of them at an illegal pay level.

Land in here in a posh job, surround herself with cronies, populate a lot of jobs with less than stellar local characters (retreads, the incompetent and those who would never survive in a hallway at any local level) who will follow her around like little sheep and survive as best she can in PO Ole Downtrodden 'Sippi. She will not make eight years here so PERS retirement won't be an option. But, she will be able to withdraw nearly half a million in contributions when she gets sent packing. And if she hangs around here long enough to do that and still lives here at that time, there is no state tax on it.

The woman ain't dumb....just wore out and incompetent. And she was both when her plane landed here.

Zoo keeper said...

I think working at the Jackson Zoo should be a requirement for this position

Anonymous said...

6:56; To which state did you move and with which Wal Mart are you an associate? Or is it Manager Trainee at a finance Company? Who spells hires with an apostrophe? Oh, wait....somebody who went to school in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

The Educational Bureaucracy Complex is a major inhibitor to educational progress. We did not have preschool, curriculum coordinators, assistants to the assistants, etc. etc. while I was in school. I graduated from a Mississippi high school and went to receive a Masters degree. I have had a successful career.

Its not about putting more money into administration, it is about parents and students wanting an education. No amount of money will fix that.

Anonymous said...

Now that Superintendents will be appointed by State boards and not elected, we need to create a superpac or whatever the appropriate support is to help those really qualified and interested in bettering education going up to be on local school boards.

Also it's insane that we have 82 counties and even more school districts. We have a state with less than 3 milliion people.

How many republicans are going to vote to consolidate that?

I don't even know where to begin on fixing things.

Anonymous said...

7:18am and those who agree with his comment are idiots.
Dr. Wright did make it " in the real world" or don' t y'all know Maryland's ranking?
We can't keep good people who come here from out of state because of the corruption, ignorance and tribalism.
Mississippi doesn't want to improve because that would involve change and admitting that we have been colossally wrong more often than we've been right!
Frankly, I would urge anyone with a good resume to avoid Mississippi like they would the plague...especially if accomplishing anything meaningful matters to them!

Anonymous said...

8:46 AM

Last statement is right on the money.

Question still stands:

What do we do with the remnants left behind by parents who wont/cant/dont care about their kids?

Right now they occupy Jackson....but are looking to loot elsewhere now that that town is broke.

Anonymous said...

So glad I got out of Mississippi.

As oft-repeated comment from you and yet you apparently still can't get enough of Mississippi. Thanks for reading JJ, based in Jackson, Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

@9:05 - good question.

"Also it's insane that we have 82 counties and even more school districts. We have a state with less than 3 million people.

How many republicans are going to vote to consolidate that?"

The GOP-led Legislature has reduced the number of school districts from 152 to now 144 in five years...much more to come.

Anonymous said...


A blanket assessment about any one entity is usually 100 % incorrect. Your opinion represents a narrow (Mississippi) view.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Wright's mismanagement of school districts taken over by the state is abysmal. She allowed politics to influence her decision to replace a competent conservator with an egotistical, self serving politically motivated appointment.
According to David Jordan his choice, Dr. Richards will certainly bring success to the Leflore County school district. Her solution for success? Change district policy; no grade below 75 can be entered into MDE system, issue a teaching schedule which selects state standards that are to be taught then tested with tests constructed by her. Tests with incorrect answers, correct answers not given, grammatical errors, and mathematical errors abound. (Earning the huge salary she is you would think she would have someone in the district office that could proof the tests before expecting kids and teachers to try and figure out what she means) This testing policy means one full day a week of instructional time is wasted on these meaningless tests. No child can be held back even if they do not master the state standards according to her promotion/retention policy. If student passes MAP test, they pass even if classroom grades are failing. But that cannot happen since no grade lower than 75 can be given. If they fail MAP the they will pass if classroom subject area grades average 65 or above. Which will happen since no grade lower than 75 can be given. So what happens as a result of inflating grades and fraudulent mismanagement? Your child is promoted til he/she gets to third grade and cannot pass the MDE state mandated reading test. Then what? How long will students sit in third grade because of her flawed policies? There are students in the Leflore district who have been held in one grade (due to not passing state tests)for THREE years! Congratulations David Jordan and Dr. Richards your agenda will be served showing skewed success results for Leflore County Schools, Richards will be gone, district consolidated with Greenwood City and many students stuck in third grade because of the egos, politics and ineptness of Wright, Jordan and Richards. This woman is the best the state can do?

Anonymous said...

Too many people with their hand in the cookie jar. Too many politicians with friends who need a position with high pay and benefits. Too many people put in those positions that know nothing and care little.
Just simply too many crooks.

Anonymous said...

A few of her cronies and sheeple have posted. Maybe more before quitting time today.'s already past 3:30. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Keisha was from Maryland

Carey is from Maryland.

Test question: name a state with incompetent losers who acquire lush jobs pulling the wool over Mississippi.

Got Another One Wrong said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Now that Superintendents will be appointed by State boards and not elected,

That's absurd. There will BE no 'state board' involved in hiring district superintendents.

Anonymous said...

Well then… you can tell your grandchildren how the United States was once upon a time. Live in your world of nothing but the perfect ideals. I prefer to pray when and where I want. Say what I want. Work hard to leave something to my children and their families. To have the ability to defend myself. … etc. The behavior we witnessed at the San Jose rally (just like the Occupy movement) is the trade off. To basically vote for Hillary (third party) only seems naive and childish to me. Trump is patriotic at least may surprise everyone. We know what the future holds with the other option. Hillary is for sale… period. It is terrifying the people around the world that are drooling waiting for her to take control. She will try her best to take control of every area of your life... count on it.

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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