At Senate Confirmation Hearing, Hespe Takes Some Tough Questions

By John Mooney

Topics acting commissioner tackles: Abbott v. Burke, salary caps, state-takeover districts, school choice and, inevitably, Cami Anderson

David Hespe’s qualifications to be confirmed as state education commissioner were never much of an issue; afterall, he held the job a decade ago.

But his confirmation hearing before the Senate judiciary committee yesterday still came with some pointed questions as to his positions and to those of his boss, Gov. Chris Christie, that may not have swayed votes but certainly added to the debate.

In the end, the committee voted unanimously to recommend confirmation for Hespe, presumably when the Senate meets next on Monday.

The vote will be more procedural than anything else, removing Hespe’s tag as “acting commissioner” but not much changing his job.

Still, he faced questions on several of the tough issues he confronts in that job, from the state’s ongoing takeover of its most troubled districts to salary caps for superintendents statewide.

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