Ten interesting observations on which candidates made the Nominating and Recruiting Committee’s latest cut for state school board:
1. All incumbents are moving forward at this point, though that does not mean they are out of danger of being eliminated.
2. Every candidate in District 6 will be interviewed.
3. In District 5 all male candidates made it through, but only two of the eleven women did. (This may be due to many, but not all, of the women candidates from that district belonging to the same group: The United Women’s Forum.)
4. Lars and Kera Birkelund were both seeking political office this cycle and both were eliminated. Lars was running for Sen. Reid’s seat in the Utah Senate and was eliminated by the delegates at state convention. Kera was seeking a seat on the state school board and was eliminated this round by the committee. It will be interesting to see if the Dan and Heather Deuel have the same fate. Dan is running for the Utah House in Ryan Wilcox’s former district; his wife Heather was seeking a seat on the state school board and eliminated by the committee.
5. A few months ago I wrote about an incident I experienced at a Common Core debate, wherein Jason Williams was loudly accused of being a ‘commie pinko who hates free speech’ , the accuser is one of the candidates who was NOT eliminated by the committee.(http://utahmomscare.org/2014/01/common-core-debate-after-the-yelling-then-what.html)
6. Reed Spencer, who at one time was (and may still be?) the curriculum director for the Utah State Office of Education, was eliminated by the committee.
7. Former legislator, Tom Hatch, who created the current system of election for state school board members filed for a seat but withdrew. It would be interesting to hear his take on the process now that he has been a candidate in the system he created.
8. This process has become a game, and everyone is playing.
With such a strange process, many groups would like to hedge their bets. Having ALL of their candidates file, hoping to get at least one of those people on the ballot. Allies who would never in other instances file to run against each other, are heading to the clerk’s office together to file. The battle plan is to flood the field with ‘our people’.
The result: 70 candidates for 7 seats.
9. The last two years the rancor has built over the Common Core. When those upset have asked their legislators for a remedy, they have been promptly pointed to the State Board of Education, who’s role it is to set standards. The State Board has worked to disseminate their thoughts on why they selected the standards and how they are being implemented, but the argument has moved passed those points. Now anyone mad about anything in education points to the Common Core as the problem. Even when it makes no logical sense. This anger has led, in part, to the mass filing of candidates.
Not all candidates who oppose the Common Core were eliminated, some of the very vocal opponents are still in the race.
10. This wild and crazy ride to the ballot is not over yet. Candidates will be interviewed the first week of June, and the next round of cuts will take place before names are forwarded to the Governor for his consideration. Best of luck to all those involved!
To see which candidates are still in the running, read here: https://www.utahpoliticohub.com/who-made-the-cut-state-school-board-candidates-eliminated-by-committee/