Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Superintendent Background Research: Henry Hastings

Time presses. The school board is on a very fast timeline to make a decision about semi-finalists, and I don't have half the information I would like to have! I will add more as I find out more (at least for the finalists), but for now I'm just going to share a disorganized group of information, take from it what you can. For the finalists we will try to find out more information.

Dissertation: Making Choices About School Choice: A Study of the Legal and Ideological Issues of Education Vouchers in the United States. I couldn't find this (I am sure it is in the UM library), and I have no idea what position he takes on vouchers. Most of his other articles have been about business ethics, law, etc.

Michigander through and through. AB from University of Detroit-Mercy, JD from MSU, Ed. D. from University of Michigan.

Comments about his class on Rate My Professor are uniformly (and very, very) positive--this is not so easy to do. Here are a few examples:
Interesting will not fall asleep in his class! You can expect drama, exercises in critical thinking, discussions concerning moral and ethical delemas, a trickling of philosophy, and a good dose of business law in every class session. If you have trouble forming opinions about things, this class is a pill you need to take. 
EXCELLENT guy, I highly recommend him. Very clear, very concise, very fair. 
Phenomenal. Probably the best teacher I've ever had. Engaging, lucid teaching style.
You can watch him on video on an EMU TedX talk about moral values:

TedX EMU: The Importance of a Moral Point of View: A person must have a willingness, and ability, to live in a world of should and should not, rather than in a world of can and cannot. When the moral dimension is lacking, it often leads to a nihilistic view of life. Without a moral point of view, you are more likely to suffer a harm of some sort or another. You only need to view the news on any given day to witness the countless social tragedies that result from an insufficient consideration of others. A moral point of view is necessary for a life of meaning and fulfillment.

Warning: the video has an annoying whine in the background.

Dr. Henry Hastings was Acting Director, Michigan Institute for Safe
Schools and Communities, Michigan State University. In that capacity, he drafted the definition of unsafe schools for NCLB for the state:

This policy is widely viewed as an effort to expand use of public funds for charters. The document above says he used Don Witherspoon’s work as a starting point. Don Witherspoon is the emergency financial manager of Muskegon Heights. 

From the MEA: “Emergency Manager Don Witherspoon’s ruthless takeover of Muskegon Heights Public Schools is an unimaginable attack on democracy and public education.”

My question is: Where does Hastings stand? Is that what he intended to do? It seems possible that this is not what he intended to do, but that the statement he wrote has been misused.

I love that Hastings included a statement of philosophy in his application.

Hastings clearly has varied experiences, and a long history with K-12 education. I'm not clear they add up to Superintendent, though.

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