State School Board Hires Former Superintendent for His Research Skills
Mask, Teresa, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Teresa Mask Daily Herald Staff Writer
Illinois State Board of Education members Thursday agreed to pay state schools superintendent Glenn "Max" McGee $125,000 to study one of the unsolved problems that led him to resign in August amid speculation he was about to be fired.
At his final meeting, the board agreed to the consulting contract with McGee to research ways to close the testing "achievement gap," where many minority and low-income students consistently score lower on state academic tests than others. The gap is one of the state's most significant problems, board members say.
They had said during McGee's tenure the lack of progress in closing the gap was unacceptable. That problem, along with the concern that many students overall still are not meeting state goals, was among those cited in a statement board members released after McGee announced his resignation last summer.
But on Thursday board members said they never blamed McGee for the achievement gap. They said his research expertise and knowledge about academic performance make him perfect for the consulting job.
"It's a mystery as to how they can commend him and then let him go," said Donna Baiocchi, executive director of ED-RED, an education and research organization representing 116 school districts in suburban Cook, DuPage, and Lake counties.
McGee will make $125,000 for six months of consulting work. Then, next July, he will take over as superintendent of Wilmette Elementary District 39, making about $200,000 annually.
Board members said they were making a distinction between what they saw as McGee's shortcomings as superintendent and his strengths in the research arena, noting that he has had work published.
Vincent J. Serritella, a state board member from Lombard, said Thursday, "We were and still are dissatisfied with our progress overall. …