Saturday, December 15, 2007

Terry Bergeson Will Be the Next Superintendent of Public Instruction

She has the inevitability that Hillary wanted and lost.

Sound Politics has been taking a look at the hate/hate relationship between Where's the Math? and Superintendent Bergeson over the new math standards that the State Board of Education have been working on. Olympia Time has been doing the best job of talking about Dr. Bergeson running again, and even though it's a quiet campaign right now this has a chance to be a great conversation about where we are as a state when it comes to improving education in our schools.

That's all it's going to be, though, is a conversation. Because Terry Bergeson will be the next Superintendent of Public Instruction again. And the reasons are simple: power and money.

For the money piece, go over to the Public Disclosure Commission's website and take a look at the papers filed so far by Dr. B and her competition, former Richland Superintendent Richard Semler. To date, Semler has claimed $3,450 in contributions:

  • $1400 from Juanita Doyon, who lost to Bergeson in the last OSPI election.
  • $1400 from Raul De La Rosa, a retired OSPI employee
  • $500 from a William Pennell, like Mr. Semler from the Tri-Cities.
  • $100 from Marta Gray, a Where's the Math member.
  • $50 from some guy.

Contrast that to Dr. Bergeson, who has a machine in place that would be the envy of anyone seeking public office. Her most recent filings with the PDC on December 3rd and 11th lists nearly $17,000 in donations, including:

  • $500 from Colin Moseley, director of a trust that was the 7th largest land owner in the United States at one time. Also a major player in the Washington Business Roundtable.
  • $500 from Gaye Pigott, who lists herself as a homemaker. It's easy to be a homemaker when your husband is on the board of directors for Paccar, the company that makes Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.
  • $1,500 from Charles Collins, the former head of the Higher Education Coordinating Board.
  • $250 from Chris Majer of the Human Potential Project, a consulting group based in Spokane.
  • $750 from Dennis Karras, Senior VP at the Washington State Employees Credit Union.
  • $1,400 from Constance Cohn, an epidemiologist who has also given to Maria Cantwell and Rick Larsen.
  • $1,000 from Murray Pacific Management, a private equity firm.
  • $500 from Vulcan Incorporated, a Paul Allen company.
  • $500 from Vito Chiechi, a lobbyist.
  • $1,500 from Wanda Cowles, who much like Ms. Pigott above is a "homemaker" only in the sense that she's married to money, in this case the family that owns the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
  • $1,400 from the Beresford Company, which makes their money selling ID badges to schools.
....and on, and on, and on.

The business community loves Terry Bergeson, because the business community gains personally from the higher standards of education that the WASL represents. The WASL is a very bottom line assessment, something that business leaders understand, and I don't know that there's anything that teachers or parents could say that would turn their heads to our way of thinking.

The power piece of the Bergeson campaign becomes apparent when you cross reference her list of donors with the salary database that the Evergreen Freedom Foundation posts every year. Terry's biggest donations might come from the private sector, but her largest numbers of donors are those who work under her. Consider:

  • $100 from Michaela Miller, a teacher in North Thurston.
  • $150 from Glenda Shannon, who works for OSPI.
  • $250 from Karen Garr, who works in outreach for the National Board. Yes, the same National Board that Dr. Bergeson has been apastolic about for the past few years.
  • $200 from Elaine Woo, an administrator in the Seattle Public Schools.
  • $150 from Carol Whitehead, superintendent in Everett.
  • $750 from John Aultman, the assistant SPI in Olympia.
  • $400 from Millie Watkins, superintendent in Orondo.
  • $200 from Kathleen Kimball, administrator in Highline.
  • $125 from Jennifer Bethman, principal in Bethel.
There are an awful lot of people around the state who have a personal stake in seeing Bergeson returned to office. They have history, cache, an in; however you want to put it. If a new wind blows their boat goes off course, and that's when personal self interest kicks in and gets them to reach for their wallet.

Everything I've heard and seen speaks to the idea that Richard Semler is a good man. I've heard him talk about the how the testing system in Washington has gotten far away from any educational purpose, and he's right. Living here in Eastern Washington, where we voted Tom Foley out of office when he was Speaker of the House, I should probably be more optimistic.

As things stand, though, Bergeson is racing with a Porsche while Semler hops behind on a pogo stick. And that's why she's going to be, once again, the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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Anonymous Ayecarumba said...

After reviewing the PDC site and reading your post, I can't help but comment...As for agency employees....although Michaela Miller is employed by the NTSD, she is also a TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) OSPI. Mary Mcclellan is listed as "retired", but started working for the Superintendent on 12/17. What about contractors? Well, as per OFM, OSPI is the state agency handing out the most sole source contract awards. To keep that sugar flowing in, the contractors need to keep Terry in office! Some of the contributing contractors include Dan Barkley, Bill Rossman, Jamie Huizinga, Vera Risdon, Rebecca Downey, Mary Schrouder and Joan Yoshitomi. Might I add that more than a few of the above named Contractors pull in over $100K per year via OSPI contracts!

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on everybody! Is MONEY the only thing we base our decisions on? It's time for Terry to go!

What ever happened to discussions about the RIGHT choice?


1:10 PM  
Blogger dan dempsey said...

I believe that David Horsey of the PI can negate the effects of many campaign dollars with his pen.

The public is clearly assumed to be mindless dolts by anyone seeing Dr Bergeson as a lock because of campaign contributions.

The Billion dollar WASL venture into fairyland and the $770,000 Math Standards high bid award to the Dana Center put into the abortive OSPI attempt to high-jack HB 1906 and resultant major hand slap by the legislature make it look less than certain that Dr Bergeson will continue for a fourth term.

A big elephant in this room yet to speak is the WEA. That fat lady has not yet even hummed the scales much less sung.

It ain't over 'til its over.

The voters may begin to figure out that might does not make right.
This "might does not make right" is continually demonstrated in the Seattle Public Schools.

Legislators gave big kudos to public involvement as they took the Math Standards Revision away from OSPI.

Perhaps the Business Roundtable may eventually figure out that "Core Knowledge" is important. The general public already has.

The Math Underground

10:19 PM  
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7:07 AM  

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