With the near-constant presence of pols from the presidential tickets, it’s easy to forget that there are other races here in the old North State that will require our attention come November 4th. The contest for State Superintendent of Education is one of them. In fact, it could use a little attention now. It’s easy to get swept up in the bigger races – picking a president, a senator, and a governor is pretty heady stuff – but if a majority of people agree that education is a crucial issue this year, why no love for this race? Why the empty seats for that debate. You’re obviously not going to see your Senate candidates debate this year, so check out the Supe candidates on Monday.
In one corner, we have incumbent Democrat June Atkinson, who has held the office since 2005. Her priorities are (and I quoth):
I will continue to lead and support initiatives to ensure that
* Every child is a high school graduate prepared for work, further education, and citizenship.
* Every child is an excellent reader.
* Every child has access to engaging technology.
* Every child has a teacher who is appreciated and paid well.
I will work closely with the State Board of Education, educators, local leaders, elected officials, professional organizations, and parents to ensure our children are prepared for a global economy.”
Sounds good, though it’s short on how she’s going to keep dropouts around long enough to become graduates. Seems like she could’ve started there. Also, I’m agnostic on/opposed to ensuring access to technology to our youngest students, but that’s probably more specific than June needs to be here.
Moving on, we have in the opposite corner one Richard Morgan, a GOP-er who, according to himself, is a former Speaker of the (state) House. In reality he was co-speaker with the disgraced Democrat, Jim Black. His website is sinisterly vague as far as priorities or plans for NC public schools. His mission statement reads thusly:
To write a New Chapter in our state’s history in student achievement and to work to Bring Together the right balance of fiscal stability without hurting education!
Huh? Between the Inane Capitalization and mushy, garbled verbiage, I can make neither heads nor tails of this.
Not to worry, the Superintendent has very little actual authority in North Carolina, little to none. Still, it’s a bully pulpit and you may want to vote authoritatively on what kind of rhetoric and, possibly, influence you want to see from our next Super. If so, hit the debate and tell the rest of us all about it.
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