No Experience Necessary

Meet the new Superintendent of the Camden Public Schools: EduShyster

There is only one thing thing tempting enough to rouse me from the vaca coma in which I’ve spent the last 10 days: a handsomely compensated new job with a career trajectory heading up, up and up. Reader: I’ve got excellent news to share. No longer will I be toiling away in unpaid anonymity. Instead I’m taking my disruptive and innovative show on the road—to Camden, New Jersey. Meet the new Superintendent of the Camden Public Schools: Me! Now I’m sure you’ve got lots of questions about my new position and I’d love to pretend to answer them. Shall we get started?

This is a joke, right? I mean you have like no experience leading anything so who in their right mind would choose you to lead the Camden Public Schools?
Silly reader—experience is for status quo lovers! In case you’ve haven’t heard, no experience is the new black, especially when it comes to leading school districts that happen to be almost entirely Black. You see, in the olden days experience was mistakenly believed to be an attribute, or worse, a necessity. Today, nine out of ten reform advocates agree: a lack of experience is the handmaiden of disruption and the first cousin of innovation. In other words, what was your question again?

Correct me if I’m wrong but have you ever actually been to Camden before?
If by “been” you mean passed through while riding the Amtrak to somewhere distinctly non-Camden-like, well then the answer is absolutely! At any rate, I can assure you that from what I saw through the window of the cafe car, the diagnosis couldn’t be more obvious. This patient is in serious need of some disruption, not to mention some innovation. And while we’re at it, how about a little merit too? Doctor: bring on the leeches.

How exactly did the citizens of Camden choose you to run their schools? I don’t want to sound rude but you don’t strike me as the most, ahem, obvious choice.
Did someone say choice? Well, while we’re on the subject of choice allow me to remind you that “choice,” the civil rights issue of our time, is so paramount that there is no need for Camden-ites to actually choose it because the choice has already been made for them and, great news: the choice that’s been chosen is choice! And I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to the city of Camden and her (his?) people on their outstanding choice. They couldn’t have chosen better.

What are you most looking forward to about your new job?
Other than leaving it and moving onto greener pastures, you mean? Did I say that? I meant [insert assortment of reformy platitudes and cliches here, including but not limited to: high expectations, 21st century skills, no excuses, raising the bar, accountability, college preparedness and a culture of opportunity]. And of course I’m eager to get started on replacing all of the old low-expecations seats in the public schools with new high-performing seats…

So let me get this straight. You have no experience, you’ve never led anything and you’ve never set foot in Camden. What exactly do you bring to this job?
You mean, other than [insert assortment of reformy platitudes and cliches here, including but not limited to: high expectations, 21st century skills, no excuses, raising the bar, accountability, college preparedness and a culture of opportunity]? Vocabulary, reader. I bring the kind of excellent vocabulary only a PhD in English can provide. And since my new job requires such skills as 1) speaking out of both sides of my mouth and 2) explaining to parents in the Camden Public Schools how less choice actually equals more choice, I’ll be needing vocabulary a plenty.

I hate to break it to you “Ed,” but you’re not actually a real person. Last time I checked, fictional characters weren’t eligible to run school districts, even in New Jersey.
A mere technicality, reader, and almost certainly something that a quick round of legal shenanigans can take care of. Besides, since the debate about how best to *improve* our failed and failing public schools is amost entirely fictional, why not make the big check out to someone who is literally fictional? Just saying…

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  1. “I hate to break it to you “Ed,” but you’re not actually a real person.”

    Well that’s easy enough to fix – just incorporate yourself and you’ll be a real person. Voila!

    Congrats on the new job. I would recommend no one higher than you!

  2. Wow, a functional literate literal fictional! I am amazed you came from the totally disyfunction American school system, real or fictional!

    Well done.

  3. Your Best and Brightest Excellent-ihood-ity comes ringing off the page, and I look forward to observing your serial Innovative Disruptivess in many cities over the coming month, or until you go on to even bigger and better things next year, if you have to even wait that long.

    I mean, teaching kids, it’s such a dead end and backwater.

    Fortunately, my children are no longer of school age, so I no longer need be concerned about sacrificing, er, enlisting them in your Civil Rights Movement. Meanwhile, you have my full support in making no excuses and taking no prisoners.

  4. Congrats on your new job. Just concentrate on ridding the system of the fictional bad teachers, of which research suggests is around 5% – this coming from the reformers themselves and which doesn’t deviate much from what we see in other professions. The ignorant public will love you, and the politicians will kiss your butt. The corporations will probably slip you some money under the table for your ‘disruption’.

    You’ll do great if you abide by these principles.

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