Showing posts with label C. Mark Openshaw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label C. Mark Openshaw. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PCE wants pro voucher State School Board candidates by Thursday for flawed elections, and UEA "monopolizes" the caucus??

Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) appealed to supporters today to file and run for the State School Board. They realize informed advocates of public education on the board often intelligently oppose PCE initiatives to weaken public education and want a majority of sympathetic votes.

The Parents for Choice in Education PAC operates on extremely large out-of-state donations from anti-public ed. organizations and individuals. They literally have no grassroots financial support in Utah. They reported over $209,000 dollars sitting in their PAC account on their August 2011 report, which is the most recent posted at the Lt. Governor's website. This money came from large donations in the election years of 2010 and 2008. (The state switched systems in 2008, and the reports showing the millions of out-of-state money received during the voucher fight in 2007 and the systematic support of pro-voucher candidates in 2004 and 2006 do not show up. I know there's some way to link to the old system. I would be grateful if anyone could post a link in the comments.)

The PCE PAC received $179,000 in 2010. $4000 was from the Conservative Caucus of Utah politicians; the other $175,000 came from two national anti-public education organzations: All Children Matter, founded by the DeVos and Walton families, and The American Federation for Children, a new group (with the same founding board as the National Alliance for school Choice) founded by the same people apparently to avoid the bad publicity from All Children Matter being fined $5.2 million for hidden illegal campaign contributions in Ohio. (It looks like PCE was one of the final recipients of All Children Matter funds before it became defunct) The AFC is apparently also closely affiliated with ALEC and its proscriptive model bills to weaken public education. In 2008, the PAC received just over $342,000. $175,000 came from All Children Matter; $164,000 came from Patrick Bryne, the CEO who contributed millions in 2007 to the voucher campaign and continues as one of the only 3 sponsors of Howard Stephenson's Red Meat Radio program; the other $3424 was donated by the Board Members of PCE.

PCE has poured tens of thousands into State School Board elections before, and appears to be ready to enter the fray this year again. They are looking for candidates in all districts having an election this year: 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15. Here is part of PCE's plea:
Dear School Choice Supporter,

If we want to empower parents with quality school choice options, both public and private, we absolutely must recruit like-minded candidates for the State Board of Education. The innovation and reform necessary to improve our public school system will require a majority of supportive board members - something we currently do not have. This upcoming election provides us with a rare opportunity to change this!

We urge you to please consider becoming a candidate for fthe Utah State Board of Education. If, we ask you to help us recruit good candidates to run for the 9 spots up for election this year.

We need committed individuals to serve who understand how critical it is that we find solutions for an outdated public school system that will better meet the diverse learning needs of our students. 21st century innovation has the power to transform our one-size-fits-all system. The State Board of Education and the legislature have the most direct influence on our state's K-12 education. We can't expect change unless we are willing to get involved!
The whole process for State School Board elections is literally run by special interests, as a committee of industry lobbyists and then the governor get to select which candidates the public gets to vote on in this non-partisan election. This is detailed here, here (with more links to the 2008 vote), and here. (Gov. Herbert has expressed his desire for an open election, but the latest in many attempts to un-rig the elections, HB 331, appears to have had a weird provision for the primary date, increasing costs, and was killed by the House Education Committee without a hearing)

In 2008, there were shenanigans in my State School Board district 13, where the election winner resigned the day the election was certified because he suddenly "discovered" that he didn't live in the district, ensuring that the BYU Education professor who would have otherwise been eligible to contest the seat had no opportunity. The erstwhile winner, C. Mark Openshaw refused to answer opinion surveys and emails while campaigning, literally putting up no signs and making no campaign appearances. His family's blog said he didn't even want to win!

It appears Mr. Openshaw is running again from the state candidate website (Scroll to the bottom), and unopposed, though his paperwork is not linked like the others as of this moment. What kind of school board member was he the last 4 years? I have no idea. Maybe I would actually love his representation on the board, but I have no easy way of knowing. I saw his name mentioned one time in the paper with a lukewarm comment about the upcoming school grading system. The State School Board needs to get some sort of public vote display up on their website showing official votes of each individual on proposals. That would be positive all around and give voters better information on which to base their votes.

Two of the districts, 10 and 12, have no candidates filed today, two days before the deadline. The positive thing is that if only two candidates file for a district race, they get to completely avoid the flawed lobbyist selection board and governor narrowing. The scary thought is that some of these candidates might run unopposed. Who will sign up for an automatic State School Board seat on Thursday afternoon? We'll see how it shakes out.

PCE also encouraged supporters to run for delegates at the caucus with this comment:
The teacher's union works hard to monopolize the caucus system, ensuring their powerful stronghold and dominance over our taxpayer-funded, public school system. YOU can make sure this doesn't happen! Get involved in the legislative process and become a Delegate.
After years of barely fighting off destructive voucher proposals and other bad policy, I only wish public education supporters had more "dominance" PCE. I only wish. If more teachers would run and become delegates, maybe we could get support for more legislators in Utah Valley who value public education like the silent majority does. Our "taxpayer-funded, public school system" needs to continue to serve the public, not the whims of out-of-state multi-millionaires.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Results in State School Board District 13 and double-disenfranchisement shenanigans?

First, I was wrong in my prediction that vote totals for State School Board District 13 would be significantly lower than the 2004 election. The unofficial results (pg. 3, lefthand column) show just a few hundred fewer votes than the race in 2004. Kyle Bateman defeated C. Mark Openshaw with 17,509 votes. I hope the almost 300 votes not for either candidate on the ballot were mostly write-ins for A. LeGrand Richards, the highly-qualified BYU professor excluded from the ballot.

However, my frustration with the apathy and lack of communication demonstrated by Bateman and Openshaw, as well as the entire school board candidate selection process, has been confirmed by subsequent events. In a minor, but indicative Election Night note of the silly process that allowed seven businessmen not living in District 13 to choose our candidates, Openshaw confirmed my suspicions that the candidates represented the same viewpoints: "I know Kyle well," he said. "I like him. We agree on many things, and so I give him my full support." And in keeping with the theme of his successful campaign, it appears that Bateman was the only victorious candidate in Utah County who did not return the Daily Herald's phone call after winning election on November 4th.

But the Tribune yesterday revealed that the situation has become even more sneaky and non-representative.
Bateman said he has two homes -- one in his district in Provo and one that his company bought as an investment outside his district in Mapleton. He said he intended to live in the Mapleton home for a time and sell it eventually while keeping the Provo home as his primary residence.

In his letter, however, he said he sought private counsel, who recently told him the law "would not likely support" that arrangement.
So he was going to move out of the district he was elected to represent to "eventually" return to his "primary residence" as soon as he was able to profitably flip that investment home in today's market, and he honestly thought that was no problem? I personally have trouble giving credence to the assertions that Bateman: A. sincerely believed that his living arrangement would meet state requirements and B. that this belief was "recently" disabused by private counsel so he could conveniently withdraw on the last possible day. If he cared about serving, why couldn't Bateman stay in his Provo home that is ostensibly his primary residence? He is apparently financially secure enough to own two houses, so living in the Mapleton house is a personal preference rather than a necessity in order to sell it. I also have trouble believing that Openshaw did not know this was coming.

So voters in my district were subjected to a political farce on two levels. First, they were arbitrarily denied the opportunity to have the most qualified candidate, A. LeGrand Richards, on the ballot, and second, the two candidates chosen to be on the ballot refused to campaign...literally. Neither Bateman nor Openshaw spent one penny on their campaign beyond the $15 filing fee. They didn't return phone calls and emails from organizations asking their positions and even voters in their district.

They expect us to believe that they somehow knew, independently, that they wouldn't need to spend any money or even respond to questions to win an open State School Board seat? They just assumed the other guy wouldn't campaign either in a year when increased scrutiny has been paid the board because of the voucher dispute and the faulty selection process? They "would love to have served," but put forth no effort to campaign in a district where the winner in 2004, Tom Gregory, spent $300 dollars of his own money to buy signs? The district was important enough to local politicians in 2004 that the defeated candidate, Brian Woodfield, raised over $1000 for flyers and signs from Becky Lockhart, Curtis Bramble, and Micron (i.e. Stan Lockhart), and the voters are supposed to believe that those political interests just went away? Bateman has close associations with PCE through his position on the Children First Utah advisory board, and they didn't donate money to a candidate in need? (I don't know if the PIC Development that Bateman was chair of is this PIC Development based in Orem Utah, but the lack of specifics and "Board of Sages" sound vaguely Koerberian. And Bateman's house flipping "investment" that is more important than the election he just won seems vaguely similar to "equity milling"... I bring that up because PIC Development is still the job listed on the CFU website and he is now president of Action Target, Inc. (I think that's him in the middle of the top picture) and holder of several shooting equipment related patents...which then makes absolutely no sense as to why he would be forced to live in the Mapleton house "his company bought as an investment.")

So a lot of things don't add up here. Why would two apparently competent and successful businessmen, both in high CEO/President positions, run apathetic, careless campaigns that actually alienated any of their constituents that did any research? How could they not post one sign, deliver one flyer, walk one neighborhood, or even answer an email inquiry? They could not have become successful in business if this was their normal persona. (Openshaw's company actually specializes in facilitating communication!) How could they have honestly thought they had a chance to win the election with such a campaign if they didn't know that their "opponent" was going to do the same thing?

Furthermore, why would Bateman's shooting supply company even be involved in real estate flipping and why would that force Bateman to move to Mapleton? How long has Bateman known he would be moving? Why did Bateman continue running at that point? He is the president of the company and just won election to state office--does anyone believe he could not stay in Provo if serving on the school board were important to him? How big and how nice is the "company" house in Mapleton that the company president is going to live in "for a time" that Bateman values the move more than the public service he ostensibly sought? Why wait until the last day of vote certification to make that decision public? Why move your family at all if you're just going to sell the house anytime in the near future?

I don't believe either Bateman or Openshaw is that clueless. I think the circumstances point to exactly what current State School Board Member, Kim Burningham, and excluded candidate, A. LeGrand Richards decried in the Tribune article...a willful collusion to ensure neither candidate had to face Richards on the ballot. The initial faulty process gave us two candidates with similar views, eliminating a choice for the district's voters. Bateman planned to move to Mapleton, whether before or after he signed his oath that he met residency requirements upon filing for candidacy on March 17th, I don't know. (Though I think that ownership of a home in Mapleton by either Action Target or Kyle Bateman and the date purchased would be part of public tax records...) Bateman knew that the next highest choice of the selection committee, A. LeGrand Richards, who differs philosophically from Bateman and Openshaw, would be put on the ballot if he dropped out--this was confirmed as the public education choice in District 11, Ralph Haws, who also finished third in committee rankings behind two voucher supporters, almost replaced Ted Heap on the ballot over a finance reporting mix-up. There was contact between Bateman and Openshaw in order to communicate the plan, i.e. that Bateman would remain on the ballot and that neither needed to waste any time or money campaigning since the result was a foregone conclusion.

This is admittedly conjecture, but I don't know how else you can spin the actions of these two intelligent men. I would love to hear their explanation for their non-campaigns, their non-responsiveness, and how much they honestly communicated before, during, and after the election. I don't think a run-off election would be allowed or cost efficient, but a run-off between Openshaw and Richards would be the best way to allow District 13 voters a real choice of representation on the State School Board. Are there any provisions for something besides appointment if extenuating circumstances are found to exist...such as a candidate willfully misrepresenting his intention to abide by residency requirements of the office?

Tribune Article: Kyle Bateman "discovers" he lives out of area and declines State School Board 13 position


I underlined a couple of important passages of the article.

Key Questions that might be answerable: When did Kyle Bateman know of his residency problems? It appears to be a situation where he knew about this for some time. Did C. Mark Openshaw or others know of the probable outcome of the residency problems?

Key Question that we'll never know: Did Kyle Bateman seriously think it was OK to move outside of the district he was elected to represent? He signed an oath that he did...

Snarky, but relevant question: Does Mark Thomas of the Lt. Governor's office really think it's OK for candidates to lie on their oath and that it's up to others to challenge those assertions?! For example, how would one possibly prove that a candidate did or did not know of the residency requirement they were apparently planning to break soon after being elected?
State ed board race winner drops out
Residency » Worried he didn't meet requirements.
By Lisa Schencker
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 11/17/2008 07:18:01 PM MST

The winner of a recent state school board race has decided not to take his seat because of problems related to residency requirements.

Kyle Bateman, who won the race for the District 13 board seat two weeks ago, sent his letter of resignation Thursday. His opponent in the election, C. Mark Openshaw, will now likely take the seat, said Mark Thomas, administrator at the Lt. Governor's Office.

"This is just me trying to follow the law," Bateman said. "I would love to have served but I didn't want to get up there and find out there was a problem and create controversy."

Bateman said he has two homes -- one in his district in Provo and one that his company bought as an investment outside his district in Mapleton. He said he intended to live in the Mapleton home for a time and sell it eventually while keeping the Provo home as his primary residence.

In his letter, however, he said he sought private counsel, who recently told him the law "would not likely support" that arrangement.

Bateman said the confusion was due to a misunderstanding. State school board member Kim Burningham, however, said he believes Bateman purposefully waited until now to drop out.

"They knew this ages ago," Burningham said, referring to the residency problem, "and they have just purposefully manipulated it."

Burningham said he believes Bateman waited until now to drop out to prevent other, possibly anti-voucher candidates from appearing on the ballot. A total of six people originally vied for the seat. Those six names went to a governor-appointed committee, which narrowed the list to three candidates, ranked in order of the committee's preference. The governor then chose the top two ranked candidates to appear on the ballot.

Had Bateman dropped out after today -- the day election results become official -- the matter might have gone to the governor or to court, Thomas said.

Had Bateman dropped out much earlier, Openshaw might have had to run against the committee's third-ranked choice, A. LeGrand Richards, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations at BYU.

"The democratic process has been totally sidestepped," Richards wrote in an e-mail Monday. "Voters were not allowed to decide on the candidates in the first place and now their choice doesn't matter either. It looks like a great way to stack the deck."

Bateman said he did not purposefully wait until now to withdraw to cut anyone out of the race.

"I don't know anything about that," Bateman said. "I'm not trying to play the system. I have nothing to gain from doing this."

Openshaw, co-founder and president of AirComUSA, a fax and business services company in Provo, said he also thinks Bateman's withdrawl was due to an honest misunderstanding.

"I don't think there's anything nefarious about it," Openshaw said. He said he thought Bateman would have made a good board member, but he'll take the seat if that's what state officials recommend.

Thomas said candidates sign an oath when they file for office stating that they meet the requirements, and it's up to others to challenge those assertions if they feel them to be untrue.

Several lawmakers and the governor are now pushing to change the election system to so voters directly elect board members instead of first sending the names through a committee and the governor.

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


Saturday, November 1, 2008

A. Legrand Richards in State School Board Distict 13...Could the rules be broken if the others don't even show up to play? Sign search...

OK. Tom Gregory, the current State School Board member from District 13 let me know about some technicalities, and I found the stats from 2004 when he won his seat.

In 2004, Mr. Gregory won his seat on the state board with a total of 16,865 votes, while his opponent received 13, 310. My candidate of choice, A. Legrand Richards obviously will not be receiving that many votes. Plus, for reasons unknown, the county doesn't count votes for write-in candidates if they don't register a "Write-In Candidacy." Can someone please explain that to me? Candidates register with the state or county in order to get on the ballot, not to be a resident citizen eligible for office. Why should their registration have any bearing on my right to cast my vote as a desire for them to represent me? What if in some unusual circumstance, an undeclared write-in candidate won? It's not like he or she would be "cheating." Why should those voters be ignored?

This is just reality, but it's really frustrating because I will be surprised if either Kyle Bateman or C. Mark Openshaw receive even 10,000 votes. Has either one even put up a sign? I am certain that A. LeGrand Richards would have beaten either handily if he hadn't been undemocratically disallowed as an eligible citizen to run for elected office. I also think that if we had started a month or two ago, he would have had a much better chance as a write-in candidate than normal because of our two candidates' complete lack of interest in campaigning. Neither has a web presence. When you search for their names, the few newspaper articles about the race and some blogs, including mine and the Accountability Blog show up. I am receiving dozens and dozens of hits each day from people searching for information on the mystery men.

As I said, neither has a website or has given out their email or phone numbers except when required to for candidate registration. Neither provided contact information to the Tribune. They ignored some requests from organizations for their positions. Kyle Bateman at least responded to the Utahns for Public Schools questionnaire. I emailed C. Mark Openshaw as a citizen (after searching out his email on the state candidate registration) and asked what he thought were the most important issues and he didn't answer me. I honestly wonder if either has put up even one sign, walked even one neighborhood, or reached out in anyway except when cornered by the newspaper? Even the current rep., Tom Gregory posted that he can't find anything the two candidates. Do they care about what voters think? And that doesn't mean they would have needed to spend a lot of money either. I'm joking around about their signs, but you could run a campaign for State School Board and at least articulate your values and answer questions for free if you wanted. A blog costs nothing. Answering an email is just common courtesy and a responsibility of an elected official in my mind.

I disagree philosophically with Kyle Bateman and I'm assuming from circumstances, C. Mark Openshaw, but I sincerely disagree more with their aloof attitudes towards their constituents. I do not support Mark Cluff in District 12 either, but I can at least respect him as a competent, hard-working, and communicative person from what I've heard.

I don't know much about A. LeGrand Richards, but he has more qualifications than either of the other two candidates. He is the current Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations at BYU, was the choice of all the school representatives on the governor's selection committee who got to interview him, and made some great points on temporal and spiritual education in a campus devotional last year. Tom Gregory has commented on this blog that he has met him and was impressed. Read what you can and make a good decision. I recommend that all write in A. LeGrand Richards for State School Board District 13 and let the total stand as further evidence as to why the State School Board selection process should be reformed.

On a final, lighter note, has anyone seen even one sign posted for either Openshaw or Bateman? I would love if someone could post a picture and confirm the existence of said signs to mildly rebut my assertion that they haven't put forth any effort. Signs are nothing, yet still a basic indicator of some level of involvement in the campaign. The local Alpine School District Board races have signs up everywhere. Those offices are not any more important and those candidates are not any more wealthy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


That’s it. This post is now the unofficial headquarters for the write-in campaign for A. LeGrande Richards for State School Board District 13.

See my frustration with the two candidates. Kyle Bateman is a voucher proponent with little to no relevant experience; C. Mark Openshaw most likely holds similar views, but also has no relevant experience and literally will not answer a polite email from a potential constituent asking why he is running. He refuses to answer any and all questions from any group besides one vague paragraph that he “will do stuff” to the Tribune, but he refused to even give out his contact information.

Then finally, last night, I attended a small cottage meeting to hear State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Two women were discussing the State School Board District 13 race. One said she had heard nothing about either candidate. The well-connected lady replied (This is a paraphrase of what I heard, not an exact quote.), “Neither one is really campaigning. They see it as a 50/50 shot. They get picked by a weird process, a committee and then the governor approves them…They are both similar. They were chosen by the same people. My husband and I just each voted for one.”

They won’t even campaign?! It’s a 50/50 shot?! Apparently it’s not just my neighborhood and my emails going unanswered. That’s arrogant and unacceptable. The corrupt selection process eliminated the BYU professor in the School of Education who has experience and was the choice of all of the public school members of the selection committee…A. LeGrande Richards.

I could and should have a choice of viewpoints on the ballot to vote for, but 6 businessmen and a charter school representative—and none of them live in Provo and Orem I believe—chose two under-qualified voucher proponents for me. That’s undemocratic and wrong. I sincerely believe A. LeGrande Richards would have beaten either of them handily if he had been allowed on the ballot instead of arbitrarily eliminated by 7 non-participants in the election.

See the Accountability Blog for a great summary of all these problems. Especially see the results of the vote on June 2nd when the business representatives voted as a bloc for Bateman and Openshaw, with none of them voting for A. Legrande Richards.

Here is A. LeGrande Richards' biography page at BYU.

Provo residents and south Orem residents up to about 400 North…. Write in A. Legrande Richards for State School Board District 13. I would have had a homemade poster up at my house last night, but I fell asleep sitting at the computer after midnight. Make a poster; call a friend; send an email. No one knows who the candidates are. Almost everyone will listen to a friendly recommendation for a State School Board race where they know none of the candidates. We can actually make a difference. Your homemade poster may be the only one people see.


I don’t know if we can turn the tide in only 6 days, but I think we would actually win this election if we had a month. Make a difference.

Monday, October 27, 2008

State School Board District 13 Candidates are MIA; A great validation of the selection process

HEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?! C. Mark Openshaw? C. Mark? C. Mark run...away from all contact with possible constituents. (Bad pun made worse by the fact you're probably reading this on a Monday morning.)

I know the State School Board is unappreciated, unheralded, and probably less than 1% of the population could name their representative on the board, but we saw how important they can be as principled advocates for education during the voucher campaign. (They took hypocritical cheap shots, but were vindicated as representing the people in the end.) I admit that I did not always pay attention to these races and that teachers mostly don't know who their State School Board Representatives are either. In fact, until last week I thought my representative was Mark Cluff of State School Board District 12 and was all set to vote for his opponent, Carol Murphy.

Oops. I actually fall into State School Board District 13 which has been represented for the last 4 years by Tom Gregory, by all accounts an effective board member whose blog allowed him to communicate well with constituents, as well as being one of the original proponents and a signer of the omnibus lawsuit.

Gregory is not running for re-election, and the political committee process of appointing candidates via anti-public-school voting blocks gave us the candidates Kyle Bateman and C. Mark Openshaw.

They are both new to the local educational scene as far as I know. I would wager about 99.9% of their district has not heard of either of them. They are trying to win an election for public office. Yet, when being profiled, neither of them saw fit to provide the Tribune with any contact information for the public to ask them questions. Not every candidate for State School Board had a website (Which is becoming almost mandatory these days so people can see where you stand 24-7.), but I believe EVERY other candidate provided the paper with their email address and in many cases their home telephone number so that voters could contact them. Kyle Bateman and C. Mark Openshaw were the only ones to stay incognito. They also ignored the voter information questions from the Utah League of Women Voters and only Bateman responded to the most detailed questionnaire given out to State School Board candidates by the Utahns for Public Schools advocacy group. (Hat tip to Utah Moms Care for putting both of those links in one place.) Why?

Now, I believe that both men are probably very nice people who care deeply about Utah schools because they have children in them. But why do they think they can run for an important elected office and provide the public with no information? Who are they? What do they believe about education in general and their role as State School Board members? Who knows?

I tracked down the email addresses and phone numbers that the state collected when they registered to run for office: and 801-226-8033 and 801-377-0790

Currently, Mark Openshaw has not returned emails from community members, including teachers, and at least one current member of the State School Board. His responses to the Tribune's questions were the shortest and most generic of all the candidates as well. He has not responded to questions from any other voting organizations that I am aware of, and in fact, I cannot find any position of his anywhere on the web. Is he under-prepared or just unresponsive? How I am supposed to tell the difference?

The problem is that his opponent, Kyle Bateman, is closely tied to Parents for Choice in education and has problematic views on vouchers, the "inefficiency" of education funding, and his role as an advocate for the schools. Besides his one response to UPS, he has avoided public comment as well.

Bateman was far and away the #1 choice of the biased "business block" on the governor's selection panel. Openshaw was the 2nd choice of the same block, and could likely hold similar views to Bateman since he was vetted by the same 6 people.

Right now, I'm feeling ripped off by the process and disappointed that the two candidates don't even care enough to state their positions somewhere.

So...what am I to do? I'm early voting this week , and my current plan is to write in A. LeGrand Richards as my choice for State School Board, unless C. Mark Openshaw puts up a website or something and really wows me with his views. Richards was the 1st choice of most of the school representatives on the selection committee and has excellent qualifications as a BYU education professor.

So seriously, write-in campaign for A. LeGrand Richards. My vast local readership and influence should net him 4 or 5 votes, easy.

Short, slight Tribune profiles of the two candidates for State School Board District 13 with no contact information
Kyle Bateman, District 13
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 10/24/2008 07:17:25 PM MDT

Qualifications: "School board member, Provo Freedom Academy; commissioner, Utah County Planning Commission; 23 years active in business administration; service on numerous nonprofit and for-profit boards."

Q: What is an issue in education you'd like to address?
A: In reality, we need to focus on only one outcome: school children receiving the best quality academic education possible. I support higher standards for academic achievement and more accountability in reaching those standards. I favor more autonomy for local boards, local schools and local classrooms to determine the best methods to achieve those standards. I favor more generous rewards for schools and teachers who meet and exceed our standards. And I favor more consistent consequences for schools and teachers to fail to meet those standards.
Q: What do you think is the board's role in relation to lawmakers' roles when it comes to education in Utah?
A: The board is an administrative body charged with the duties, powers and responsibilities outlined in section 53A of the Utah State Code. That code has been created by the State Legislature. So it is the role of the State Board of Education to execute these laws in a way that will assure the best possible outcome for Utah's school children. It is also appropriate for the Board and board members to communicate effectively with lawmakers about how the code could be amended.
Q: How can voters find out more?
No information provided.
C. Mark Openshaw, District 13
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 10/24/2008 07:17:44 PM MDT

Qualifications: "I have four children in the public school system, my wife is the PTA president - I, my family, and our future is invested in the system."

Q: What is an issue in education you'd like to address?
A: I'd like to see more accountability in the system. I would like to see more emphasis on math & sciences.
Q: What do you think is the board's role in relation to lawmakers roles when it comes to education in Utah?
A: Certainly cooperation and communication is required in order to promote the best policy. The board's role is one of general control and supervision of the public education system. I would support and implement policies and procedures affecting issues that involve education as required by the legislature.
Q: How can voters find out more?
A: No information provided.