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Category Archives: Politics

Yikes, it looks like the OEA’s recommended candidate for Governor is in for a tough uphill primary battle.  These numbers don’t look promising.  Good luck, Bill.

Rogue Pundit reads the same Register Guard endorsement of Maurer that I did- but comes to a vastly different conclusion. He writes,

However, we need–and deserve–more than a placeholder.  If nothing else, it’s time to remind our Democratic leadership that they need to do more than demonize Republicans and promise fealty to the government unions to earn our votes.

What, exactly, does Maurer propose to do that will make him more than a placeholder?  And how exactly will he get any of this done?

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”.

Does anyone think that Google and Oregon’s announcement today regarding Google Apps for Ed being free in Oregon is anything but a political maneuver by Supt. of Public Instruction Susan Castillo?  She’s in a reasonably tough election that will be decided in less than a month.  The Oregon/Google deal is giving her fantastic press state (and nation) wide.

Most students (and teachers) can’t even access Google’s non-search services from school computers so it’s going to be a massive switch for school districts to get on board with this.  Computers in my district will need massive upgrades to run the javascript that powers Gmail.  District bandwidth is restricted. School cultures don’t encourage the kind of collaboration that Google offers with Docs and Chat.

But, Susan’s definitely gotten a whole lot of positive, free name recognition and is now far closer to re-election than before.  She’s still way better than her opponent in this race, but this whole deal reeks of politics.  Is this, by chance, another instance where Oregon’s Department of Education talks a good talk but isn’t really looking out for the students of our state?

That said, I still welcome our Google Overlords.