Truth is stranger than fiction. More than two months ago, I was approached by strangers who wanted to know what I thought about Santiago Wood, the former Fresno Unified superintendent. Seems that one of them was doing some fact-checking for a school board in Florida considering employing Wood as a super, while another was a representative of the teacher's union there.

"Long on style, short on substance," I told them, or words to that effect. "He's a demagogue, rhetorically-skilled, who will promise the moon in terms of achievement but will spend most of his time hard-balling teachers on the contract in an attempt to break the will of the union. Under his leadership, the financial records of the districts will be selectively presented to the media to make it look as if the district is facing financial ruin. Calls for an independent audit and a full disclosure of the district's finances will be ignored. Demands will be made, and if the union doesn't cave to his demands immediately, administration will hold treasured programs like athletics and music hostage even while the district allegedly sits on millions of dollars well above the statutory-required reserves. Don't trust him, he failed here."

Despite my candid assessment, as of this writing, Dr. Wood is still a candidate with that school district. Weird!

Even weirder, however, is The Strange Saga of the former Commissioner of Education for the great state of Minnesota, Dr. Cheryl Yecke. Yecker rather disgracefully attempted to implement 'equal time' rules for the teaching of ID (a form of creationism) in Minnesota public schools a few years back over the recommendation of teachers and scientists. Not only was this proposal publicly shot down, she was removed from her post by the Minnesota State Senate. Yecke then briefly flirted with a run for Congress before accepting a job in Florida at the behest of Governor Jed Bush.

Apparently not satisfied with native Floridians, the Sunshine State is now intrigued by the potential of Dr. Yecke to serve as their state's Commissioner of Education. Dr. Yecke is apparently so keen to obtain this hallowed post that she has engaged a legal firm to harass prominent critics on the Internet with threats of legal action.

Hmmphf. Substituing rhetoric and blind faith for evidence, style for substance, a failed carpetbagger from another state for a Florida educator. Sounds eerily familar.

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