So far, state Rep. Jon Draud is saying the right things about his new job as Kentucky Commissioner of Education.
He's committed to the goals of the 1990 Education Reform Act and determined to achieve those goals by the 2014 deadline. He believes his long education background as teacher, coach, principal, school board member, school superintendent and legislator will help him be successful in his important position.
But Draud also arrives with baggage that will not be helpful in carrying out his responsibilities.
The State Board of Education process that led to Draud's unanimous hiring Sunday was a yearlong joke that became more pathetic as time passed. The Board ignored the request of Kentucky's next governor to reopen the process to seek a commissioner of national stature. It gives the distinct impression that the process had more to do with politics and a political agenda than it does with moving Kentucky schools forward under education reform tenets.
Thus Draud's first order of business is to convince skeptics that he does not represent that agenda, but rather is a dedicated proponent of education excellence for all Kentucky students and for sufficient funding for all schools to reach their reform goals in the seven years remaining.
Skeptics will wonder if the retired superintendent of the tiny Ludlow Independent School District has the managerial skills to lead a sprawling state education bureaucracy.
We hope Draud proves those skeptics wrong and quickly. There is too much at stake and too little time remaining for the Board of Education to have made a unanimous and costly mistake.