Sunday, November 2, 2008

As you research the State School Board candidates, find out how and by whom they were chosen. Talk to your legislator about reform.

Many of the hits on this blog recently are from people searching for information on candidates for the State School Board. I am going to link you to excellent resources for finding more out about your candidates (If you are in State School District 13, you can read on this blog 3 posts within the last few days about the candidates in our district.), but just as importantly, I am going to ask that you spend 20 minutes to read the history of how the State School Board election process was changed from a normal election process to a warped, non-democratic selection committee which allows or disallows certain candidates to run.

In effect, 80% or so of the candidates allowed on your ballot in any district for State School Board were vetted and voted upon by just 7 businessmen on a 12-person committee appointed by virtue of their close relationships with the governor's office, with power to summarily dismiss other qualified candidates who did not meet their philosophical or professional expectations. They often opposed the candidate favored by the education rep.'s who served on the same governor-appointed selection committee. And even if the "education bloc" had won the vote and allowed other candidates onto the ballot, what kind of process is that?! It is not right for a narrow, non-elected group to have power over the public ballot. Can you imagine if our candidates for governor or the state legislature were chosen that way?

The committee in several districts eliminated the candidates who were strong advocates for schools and replaced them by candidates who are more pro-voucher and "reform" as defined by the legislature. They also gave low rankings to and cut three incumbents, Teresa Theurer, Richard Sadler (the elected board chair...), and Bill Colbert. I don't even agree with Bill Colbert much, but he can't run for re-election in his own district because some insider circle businessmen don't like him? That's beyond silly.

So read all about the process and the specific sad outcome of the committee vote in June in the Accountability blog. Then contact your legislator in November and tell him/her that this is a priority issue.

Getting to know your State School Board candidates:

1. Another Accountability post shows the information available online about each of the candidates.

2. Utah Moms Care blog links to the two voting organizations which distributed surveys to the State School Board candidates on their opinions. (Check her entries for September and October for more specific information on Districts 1, 4, 7, 8, and 12, including some direct information from candidates.)

3. Utahns for Public Schools candidate surveys

4. Utah League of Women Voters candidate surveys


1 comment:

Spencer said...

As a parent with children in Utah Public Schools, I am getting tired of the UEA propaganda that anyone who has an idea for improving schools is "anti-schools." You are repeating he same retoric when you state that "strong advocates for schools" were replaced by those who are "more pro-voucher or reform." Just because someone is trying to reform our system, does not mean they are not strong advocates for schools. To the contrary, I believe our schools need reform! The local elementary school in our neighborhood just had a new parking lot installed to replace one that was perfectly fine, at a cost of over one million dollars!!! Yet, teachers in that school are underpaid and over worked. This is the system that we are so zelously defending? I vote for reformers. Lets get someone who is NOT a teacher or administrator in the school board. Someone with fresh ideas who can take on the UEA establishment and give teachers real help instead of rhetoric.