Scottsdale Unified Superintendent Scott Menzel was recently on the hot seat in his recent assessment, where his performance pay came under light fire by board members perhaps trying to look tough in the face of potential recall elections and re-election campaigns. Superintendent Menzel recently showed why he deserves the benefit of nearly any doubt, and how he plans to help Scottsdale continue to thrive as a world-class city.
A new scale system is being implemented as part of Menzel’s performance pay, which ends up being a relatively meager 4% of his base pay if maxed out. The requests of board members Hart and Beckman seem to have been implemented, with portions of that incentive tied to various educational outcomes.
The overall structure is worth some degree of scrutiny, as a maximum bonus of 4% of salary would likely be considered by most to not be enough of a tasty carrot at the end of the stick to incentivize the desired outcomes sufficiently, but that is beyond the scope of this piece. We instead prefer to bring attention to the comments from Menzel during this same meeting. According to the Scottsdale Independent, “When asked what would be a priority among his goals, Menzel said the ‘priority No. 1’ is to ‘deep dive into math’ where there are some significant concerns and opportunities to build upon.”
That might not seem like anything earth-shaking, but it is a notable line-in-the-sand compared to our more progressive neighbors to the west. For instance, California recently made waves by proposing the elimination of advanced courses for mathematical high-achievers in high school. In a similar vein, Oregon recently eliminated standardized testing requirements for high school graduation. Both were done in the name of “equity”, the well-meaning but misguided attempt to bring low achievers (often from unfortunate socioeconomic backgrounds) up, but in reality close the gap by stunting the growth of potential high-achievers.
Imagine being an employer looking for highly educated and skilled talent. Why would you want to move to a state where the educational system purposely clips the wings of the most talented to make sure that the worst performing don’t feel as bad? Why would you move to that state?
While comparing Arizona to California and Oregon is low-hanging fruit with often very favorable comparisons, in the case of Superintendent Menzel, it makes sense. We have a Superintendent who recognizes the importance of math as it pertains to producing the leaders of the future. We applaud that, and feel very good about his leadership at the helm of SUSD. Amongst all the troubles the district has had recently, at least we’re not California or Oregon.