Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Political Desk: Superintendent of Public Instruction

Oh my god. Nine candidates for this office, and the Voter's Pamphlet doesn't even give me a clue about their political leanings. I am doomed.

All right, time to be ugly about it. If your voter's write-up does not include a working web site, just see yourself out the door. I am sure that you have very sound ideas, but this is 2016, and you need to come to class prepared. I am sorry, Mr. Blair, Ms. Prouty, and Mr. Runte.

That gets it down to a manageable size. Let me say on behalf of all the candidates that education is important, bipartisanship is vital and the children are our future. Then let's see what they're saying after we cut all that away.

Chris Reykdal promotes equal funding for schools, reducing standardized testing, and more career education programs. Former state legislator. Lots of endorsements, mostly from the Democrat side of the fence. First Superintendent in 30 years to have kids in the system (which is true, but on a technicality).

Ron Higgins is all about the Freedom, and making kids into good citizens for our Constitutional Republic. Supports homeschooling and charter schools, and notes we should treat boys as boys and girls as girls. Recycles. Wants you to get off his lawn. Oddly, no endorsements on his web site.

Robin Fleming comes in from a strong health background, has some modest endorsements on her site, Running against the politicians running for office - of which there are few. Actually, one - Mr. Reykdal. Claims she is the only candidate that with the qualification and experience to improve the life opportunities of the state's children. Not sure she is the only one on that score.

Erin Jones is the choice of the Stranger and the Times, and it always makes me nervous when these guys agree - they're either onto something or taking something. But Ms. Jones also has a long list of other educators, just about every Democrat that Mr. Reykdal missed (and some overlaps) and even a couple smart Republicans. A teacher herself whose kids just graduated, she has some mean chops.

KumRoon (Mr. Mak) Maksirisombat states the problems well, but is lacking on specifics. His site is a bit light on endorsements as well.

David Spring cannot be faulted for not having a plan, and may be the most sweeping of all the candidates. Better teacher pay! Reduced class size! Two years of free college! Homes for homeless children! How to pay for it? Close tag loopholes for corporate welfare! Addresses the other ideas of the candidates but declares they do not go far enough. I didn't expect an old-school rhetorical bomb-thrower in this race. Author of the book Weapons of Mass Deception. No endorsements I found, but you know, I can't say he's wrong. He should be running for Governor on this platform, and he wouldn't be the craziest candidate to do so. Not by a long shot.

And as much as I would like to see Mr. Spring role up to the state house with a tank to demand the legislature pony up the funds to accurately pay for quality education, I lean to both Mr. Reykdal and Ms. Jones. And if faced with the aforementioned tank would give the nod to Erin Jones, and want to know more. Let's go with her.

More later,