background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Education and Training
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Funding, Testing, Equality Hot Topics In Crowded State Superintendent Race

wa_voter_guide.jpg
Phyllis Fletcher
/
Northwest News Network
Nine candidates are vying for the office of Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Nine candidates are vying to replace outgoing Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. The results of the August 2 primary will pare that list down to two finalists for the non-partisan job.

The state of Washington has nearly 300 school districts and more than a million school children. The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction plays an oversight and assistance role.

The hot topics in the race are school funding, student testing and equality.

Among the candidates for the job, Democratic state Representative Chris Reykdal leads in campaign cash raised. He wants a renewed focus on career and technical education.

“Right now we have an unacceptably high dropout rate of 22 percent. To improve this students need career pathways that they’re passionate about.”

The candidate who’s raised the next highest amount is Erin Jones -- a former assistant state superintendent of student achievement. Her focus is on equal access to quality education.

“A child’s zip code must no longer be the greatest predictor of his or her educational success and future income.”

Student health is a key focus of Robin Fleming who’s raised the third most campaign cash. She’s a former school nurse who currently oversees health services for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Our schools are not failing us, their inconsistent results are only a symptom of our failure to fairly and fully support them.”

Six other candidates are also running.

  • John Patterson Blair - supports student vouchers.
  • Ron Higgins - opposes mandatory vaccinations and supports charter schools.
  • Grazyna Prouty - opposes charter schools and what she calls “academic child abuse.”
  • Al Runte - wants a focus on “quality classroom teaching.”
  • David Spring - wants the state Supreme Court to repeal tax breaks in order to fund schools.
  • KumRoon Maksirisombat - wants to root out waste in education spending.

For more from the candidates, see TVW’s Video Voters’ Guide.