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In a move that I find both disappointing and shocking, the Eugene Register Guard endorsed Ron Maurer’s campaign to be Oregon’s next Superintendent of Public Schools.  Having heard both speak, and talked at length with Supt. Castillo, I have some issues with the RG’s endorsement.

Regarding Maurer:

Maurer, 47, has some conventional qualifications for the office that Castillo lacks. He has a Ph.D. in education from Northern Illinois University…

Those of us in Education know the value of a Ph.D in education.  It’s not much.  I’m not sure it’s actually a benefit given the sorry state of education schools around the country.  This is not to say that Susan Castillo’s bachelor’s in communications is particularly noteworthy, I’m just pointing out that a Ph.D in Education isn’t as useful as it sounds.

He believes there ought to be a “healthy tension” between the superintendent and the school employees’ unions, a tension that does not exist under Castillo.

This is just wrong.  There’s a huge tension between the school employee unions and Castillo.  Virtually no local associations signed onto Oregon’s Race to the Top grant application.  Castillo is routinely (and roughly) questioned by teachers all across Oregon.

The RG criticizes Castillo’s pursuit of stable and adequate funding for education:

One primary difference between Castillo and Maurer boils down to money. Castillo believes the shortcomings of Oregon’s educational system — a stubbornly high dropout rate, crowded classrooms and poor showings in national rankings — could be addressed with more resources, or at least a more stable system of school finance. Maurer believes the school system ought to make better use of available resources.

Are you kidding me?  A Superintendent for Public Instruction should do everything in his/her power to get stable and adequate funding for schools and the RG is criticizing Supt. Castillo for doing just this?

And here’s the crux of it all:

As with the matter of money, Maurer’s orientation toward doing more with less could be a good fit with the times — particularly given his thoughtful, pragmatic manner.

Awesome.  More unfunded mandates.  Districts all across Oregon cut school days this year.  Teachers were fired in huge numbers.  Class sizes are huge.  Arts education is nearly dead.  Vocational training is too.  How, exactly, can we do more?  Should I just work for free (more than I already do, grading papers and planning late at night)?

So many believe that if educators would just do more with less, things would work out.  This is simply ridiculous.  I don’t agree with everything Supt. Castillo does, but her advocacy for a stable and adequate funding is enough to get my vote.  Especially when compared to Maurer’s vague “Do more with less”.


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