Education chief to get confirmation hearing

Posted at: 02/28/2013 5:49 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The state's acting secretary of education is scheduled to face a legislative hearing Friday that could determine whether she will keep her job or lose it.

The state Senate Rules Committee has put off Hanna Skandera's confirmation hearing for two years. In an unusual move, they will hold her hearing with just two weeks left in the the sixty day legislative session.

Skandera is the lightning rod for the Republican governor's education agenda - an agenda that gives most Democratic lawmakers major heartburn.

But that's probably not enough to justify rejecting her as a cabinet secretary. Instead, capitol veterans think the Democrats, who control the Rules Committee, will focus on her lack of classroom teaching experience. The state constitution says the education secretary must be a "qualified, experienced educator."

Skandera has worked in high positions in the U.S. Department of Education, and the education departments in California and Florida, but not in the classroom teaching.

That's one way Democrats can threaten, and even get rid of Skandera, but it may be hard to sell this one to the taxpayers. Skandera has been running the department for two years, and if the issue is so important now, why wasn't it important two years ago?

There's another education secretary who doesnt have any classroom experience - Arne Duncan. He's the U.S. Secretary of Education -handpicked for the job by President Barack Obama.