Keith Kline Superintendent of West Clermont: What’s next–Pee Wee Herman in The White House?
Proof of the quality of candidates becoming superintendents in public school positions is in dramatic decline and has been fully realized when Keith Kline the former principal of Lakota East High School was just named superintendent of West Clermont. The context regarding the quality of some employees over others is more about the lack of competition which allows the worst to claim they are the best, and this is what we find among the current crop of superintendents who manage public education in Ohio. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO. During his tenure at Lakota Kline was at the center of many controversies which came in my direction and there are many people who read here every day who will be outraged to learn that Kline has been given the highest job possible in Ohio public education—aside from a political bureaucrat in Columbus. The next time someone tells me that a school superintendent is doing equal work to a company CEO, I will think of Keith Kline and will know honestly that they are out of their mind.
Kline’s ascension into such a powerful position proves the motivations of these professional education types. Many people from within the Lakota School System’s halls of secrets gave me very direct information regarding the power struggles between Kline and school board member Joan Powell pointing to internal politics that make Washington politics look like a day at Chuckee Cheese’s Pizza Palace. Based on some of those controversies, I thought anybody would be insane to give a promotion to someone like Kline. As tax payers we are the employers of these public servants so a recommendation to another employer would not come from me. It was well-known that Kline wanted the top job at Lakota and one of the reasons he left Lakota was to pursue a superintendent job elsewhere once the top job went to Karen Mantia–the former teacher from Sycamore and retired superintendent from Pickerington, Ohio.
All these educators will tell their communities—especially when they are begging for money during levy requests—that they “care only about children.” But to my eyes based on my experience supported by the mountains of evidence their real intentions speak otherwise. These education professionals are simply in the business of using children to give themselves positions of social power they could get no place else but in a government school. This doesn’t make them bad people so much as people who stand in the way of real education reform by true management of tax payer resources. The personal quality of these people is dramatically and noticeably lacking. They care only about the money they can make and how they can advance their careers and little else. Those are traits that are not against the law, and in some circles of professional endeavor like lawyers, politicians, day traders, car salesmen, and education professions, it’s actually rewarded—as Kline’s promotion proves.
I know some of these people personally, and I can say that I believe that they believe the shit they are shoveling is gold and diamonds. They have convinced themselves of their own scam—but when I look into their shovels the evidence is clear as to who has the proper perspective. The whole charade game is a joke at best, and is made worse because education is an internally driven political nightmare that benefits only the very, very few. That nightmare is exacerbated by the lack of competition that would prove quickly the management skills of a former high school principal who thinks he’s a CEO to be faulty next to the skill of a real CEO who might compete with Lakota or West Clermont under a free enterprise system where costs would be forced downward and profits upward. In government schools, where there is no competition, it is tax money that drives everything, so nobody cares if the employees have any real quality about them. This allows the most scandalous and manipulative paper pushers in society to advance above those who are more qualified but are suppressed under the unionized labor force. Government favors the back-stabber, not the competitively superior, so government schools will always lack quality because of their inbred monopoly that is supported by tax revenue.
Those of us in the education reform movement joked a few months ago of how long it would take Keith Kline to work his way into the superintendent job. The joke from some of my friends was that it would be within a year of Kline transferring from Lakota to West Claremont. I actually said that the West Claremont School Board wouldn’t be that stupid–that surely they were aware of the things that went on at Lakota. Well, apparently, I was wrong. Every time I think that public education and its employees have hit a new low and proven the need for School Choice in Ohio, something like this happens—which sets the bar lower and lower. The announcement of Keith Kline as superintendent of West Clermont is equivalent for me at learning that Pee Wee Herman just became President of The United States. Any hope that you might have that the office of President had any “quality” flies out the window upon such an announcement which would seem ridiculous talking about it here. But it is no more ridiculous than learning that a person like Kline has been given the top management job of a major school district. Without question, West Clermont will be asking for another school levy now, because that is a sure sign of mismanagement and lack of leadership. With Kline as superintendent, look for wages to increase, and tax hikes to become the norm in the school district of West Clermont.
For more context to this story read below an interview I gave to the Associated Press during 2011 and measure the comments made there with the situation we see today.
All of public education exists to provide good jobs to the very few—and the process that promoted Keith Kline is a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with that system. I don’t blame Kline for playing that system to his advantage. I blame the apathy that allowed that system to be there for an advantage to be taken.