State School Board Nominating Committee
The Salt Lake Tribune had an article in Monday’s edition about major problems with the State Board of Education nominating committee. (Did you notice that the Tribune continues to place quotation marks around the term school choice, suggesting that school choice is a misnomer?)
The article mentions two problems with the committee: the committee was stacked in favor of UEA supporters and the committee never fulfilled its responsibility to recruit candidates.
The first question someone might ask is why does a nominating committee exist in the first place? The committee exists because state school board races are low profile and non-partisan. As a result, very few people run for state school board, and those that do run are usually connected with the education establishment. The purpose of the recruiting committee is to actively recruit a broad range of people to run for state school board.
Unfortunately, the committee has never met. As a result, three candidates – all long-time members of the education establishment -- are running unopposed this year.
However, the decision not to have any committee meetings -- which meant that no active recruiting took place -- is only part of the problem. The 12-person recruiting committee was intentionally stacked with UEA supporters who are hostile to meaningful education reform. For example, the charter school committee slot was filled by former state superintendent Steve Laing, not a charter school provider or parent. The committee slot representing parents was filled by Granite School Board member Sarah Meier. Former state senator and long-time UEA loyalist Ron Allen, who is a member of the Public Service Commission, was chosen to fill the utility/transportation slot. (Interestingly, the utility industry is represented on this committee by one of its regulators, not an employee of the industry itself.)
Of course, the committee members filling the school boards, school administrators, and teachers slots are part of the education establishment. In fact, of the twelve committee slots, only a small percentage is filled by people who are known to be interested in genuine reform.