The rumor mill has been working overtime at Legislative Plaza. Word is that “Mr. Popularity,” commissioner Kevin Huffman will be gone by summer. Whether this is a real possibility or just the fervent wishful thinking those who want Huffman gone (and that is a very LARGE number) remains to be seen. But after the butt-whipping the Governor maybe headed for on Common Core/PARCC, Huffman’s demise would come as absolutely no surprise.
But Huffman’s departure will not satisfy the critics. His successor will be asked some very uncomfortable questions about the disaster that is the DOE. Questions like:
- Did Huffman’s department actually have a $41 million account that effectively operated as a slush fund for promoting and funding administration policies that they knew would not find favor in the legislature?
- How much of the $501 million Race to the Top money ended up inside the DOE (we hear it’s around $250 million)? And what has that money been spent on? Specifically, how much went to Teach for America? Did SCORE get any of that money? How much was spent on PR, promoting Common Core, etc?
The betting pool on Huffman’s replacement has already begun. The odds are it will be someone from Tennessee (it had better be). One key consideration is whether they will promote someone within DOE who had been part of Huffman’s arrogant reign of terror. If that happens, the administration can expect no relief from the difficult questions as well as future legislative setbacks.