Turnover at the Department of Education: Normal, Cause for Alarm? Skepticism?

There’s been some shuffling of personnel at the Kansas Department of Education.

According to this article in the Lawrence Journal-World, “Jeannette Nobo has been named director of professional learning communities at the Kansas Department of Education.”

Professional learning communities?

We hope the best for Ms. Nobo, and we recognize that every industry has its jargon, euphemisms, and insider language. But “professional learning communities” is an example of how disconnected the education industry is from the wider world.

Meanwhile, turnover at the department was 21 percent last year. Bob Corkins — perhaps we should name him “Bob (Lightning Rod) Corkins — is being blamed by some of his critics for an increase in turnover. Says Janet Waugh, “I think people are not happy, so they’re leaving.”

Perhaps they are unhappy. That could be bad. Or it could be good. We don’t know yet; we should wait to see what the department produces and how it operates in the years to come.

More importantly, we might want to wait to see what happens to achievement and fiscal performance–though it’s hard to tie those outcomes to specific changes in an administrative department.

But the larger point is that the KSDE, or any government agency, exists to serve a function. That function is not the maintenance of a stable workforce. A stable workforce can be good. Or bad. Time will tell.

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