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Candidate Dorn endorsed eliminating schools chief job that incumbent Dorn now opposes

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Jan. 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm with 2 Comments »
January 6, 2011 10:27 am

It was during a debate before the Association of Washington Business in September, 2008. Challenger Randy Dorn said he would support eliminating the very job he was running for – the state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Here’s what I wrote from Semiahmoo after the debate (I was one of the questioners, along with C.R. Douglas).

One interesting revelation from Thursday’s debate between Randy Dorn and Terry Bergeson is that Dorn, the challenger, said he would support a constitutional amendment to eliminate the school superintendent as an elected office.

Dorn said the top schools job should be appointed, perhaps by the governor.

Bergeson, the 12-year-incumbent, said she thinks it should continue to be elected by the voters.

The Washington Policy Center picked up on Dorn’s campaign position in a 2008 blog post on a legislative proposal to get rid of the office.

It quoted Sen. Rodney Tom‘s explanation for his bill.

“The governor doesn’t have control over how education policy is implemented and it’s 41 percent of our state’s budget,” Tom said. “Education is our paramount duty, yet our governor doesn’t have oversight authority over the agency.”

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. Well yeah, but that was before he won.

  2. nolson66 says:

    A statement from Randy Dorn:

    “This was not an issue I campaigned on. I was asked a question in a debate about making the state superintendent’s job an appointed position and answered off the top of my head. As I remember, my thinking when I answered the question was to reference it regarding my opponent, who I believed had lost the ability to be an effective advocate for students.

    “Having two years of experience as state superintendent, and working with my colleagues around the nation who are elected or appointed, I think it’s definitely better to have an independently elected nonpartisan official leading education in our state. It works well to have the three-legged stool of my office, the governor and the state Legislature working together on educational issues.

    “But, this is just another smokescreen and diversion from the real issue of giving our students the best educational opportunity we can. We must stay focused on amply funding education as the our state constitution requires; not who governs education and who has the power.”

    Nathan Olson
    OSPI Communications Manager

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