Thursday, March 5, 2015

Deregulation For Johnny Key, But Not For Thee

by Caleb Taylor | The Arkansas Project: As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has nominated former legislator and University of Arkansas lobbyist Johnny Key to be the next Education Commissioner.

As Arkansas Business notes, however, there is one slight difficulty with the Key nomination: "The Mountain Home Republican has been involved in a number of school issues since serving in the Legislature since 2003. He is not an educator or former superintendent, as is currently required.

Hutchinson has asked lawmakers to change the job requirements."

The bill that would lower the occupation requirements to serve as Education Commissioner in Arkansas is SB 681, which passed the Senate Education Committee. The bill would lower those requirements to a person “of good moral character, recognized as a leader in the field of education, and qualified technically and by experience to direct the work of the department”

Now, as loyal readers of this here blog will remember, several lawmakers supported a bill awhile back that would help with lowering onerous occupational licensing requirements for all workers in Arkansas, not just one well-connected former legislator/lobbyist getting a bureaucratic appointment.

That bill was state Rep. Richard Womack’s “Right to An Honest Living” bill. This bill would allow average Arkansans to contest the ill-founded regulations that abound in Arkansas. As we’ve noted before, Arkansas has the second most burdensome licensing laws and is the fifth most extensively and onerously licensed state, according to the Institute for Justice.

Since Hutchinson nominated Key, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that SB 681 will breeze through the legislature and become law. It’s currently sitting in the Senate Education Committee.

However, the future of Womack’s “Right To An Honest Living” is much more uncertain. Womack’s bill passed out of the House Public Health Committee with bipartisan support three weeks ago; since then, it has stalled after pretty much every special-interest group in the state lost their collective minds over the prospect of ordinary Arkansas workers having a legal means to challenge burdensome state occupational regulations.

So: does the legislature want to be seen as more responsive to the professional needs of former legislator/lobbyists like Key than the vast majority of Arkansas workers? If not, the legislature shouldn’t just pass SB 681 to benefit Key while the “Right To An Honest Living” bill, which would help far more Arkansas workers, continues to be ignored.

Tags: right to an honest living bill, Arkansas Legislature, Asa Hutchinson, Governor Hutchinson, Johnny Key, Richard Womack, Deregulation For Johnny Key, But Not For Thee, The Arkansas Project To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.


Barbara Gordon said...

Under no circumstances should someone who has no experience in a public school classroom be the head of the ADE. Such foolishness is why we are currently having to fix the PARC test & Common core in this state.

Brett Hooton said...

Though PARC and Common Core were both introduced during the tenure of "education professionals" at the Department.

Barbara Gordon said...

My point is--don't say educators are responsible for this mess. Those of us in the trenches have fought it the entire way--but we are not ones with the political power nor the hold on the purse strings--now are we?

Which testing methods specifically?

Brett Hooton said...

The ones you referenced in your comments that were put in place previously.

And I didn't say that. I was just saying that the previous leadership at the department were education professionals.

Barbara Gordon said...

Those testing methods were not effectively producing the information needed in a reliable (as in valid) manner--the tests themselves were never even noted properly on any given population or subpopulation they were used for--before being implemented in the first place.

That should have been "normed" properly.

And the reason the leadership at the ADE fell into lockstep on Common Core is because Mike Beebe could have removed them from their position (paying job) in the blink if an eye --& Beebe was one of the governor's in leadership in the Governor's Association pushing for the adoption & implementation of Common Core--again funded & pushed by those without k-12 public school experience. Teachers can't fund such initiatives themselves because we don't make enough money to pay off the politicians.

Carla Couch Fowler said...

Thank you!!

Michelle Whitlock Cadle said...

Is that why they made collective bargaining law?