Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has signed on with “Chiefs for Change,” a group of current and former state school superintendents pushing for education reform.
Luna was appointed Friday. In an interview with Idaho Education News’ Clark Corbin, Luna said he was asked to join Chiefs for Change when the organization was founded in November 2010, but declined because he was serving as president of the Council of Chief State School Officers and wanted to devote himself to that work.
“I knew that at some point in the future if the opportunity was there, I would officially join Chiefs for Change and they reached out,” Luna said. “When you look at Chiefs for Change, the focus is on meaningful reform and helping improve student achievement. I have a lot in common with them and their work, so it’s a natural fit. It’s an opportunity to have a focused conversation and relationship with a handful of other state superintendents around the country.”
Chiefs for Change is funded by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the Tallahassee, Fla.-based nonprofit run by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. On its website, Chiefs for Change says it is “committed to putting children first through bold, visionary education reform.”
“The chiefs question the status quo every day and work tirelessly to bring about change to benefit all students. By talking regularly and challenging each other’s work, Chiefs for Change members provide each other much needed reflection on the policies and actions that matter most.”
The eight-member group is bipartisan, but largely Republican. Aside from Luna, only one other group member is elected: Oklahoma state superintendent Janet Barresi, a Republican. Four chiefs for change were appointed to their statewide posts by Republican administrations. Delaware secretary of education Mark Murphy was appointed by a Democratic governor. Deborah A. Gist, Rhode Island’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, was appointed by Lincoln Chafee, who served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican, ran for governor as an independent, and recently changed his party affliliation to Democrat.