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Bunn backs Bush despite vouchers

Sept. 23, 2000

Oregon State Superintendent of Schools, Republican Stan Bunn, endorses GW Bush as the best choice for Education President for the US (Org., 9/22/00). In his lengthy praise the word "vouchers" is conspicuously missing - despite that proposal being the cornerstone of Texas Governor's education plan. Bush has long called for $1500 vouchers that could go to help more affluent parents place their children in private schools. Most supporters of public education insist that such subsidizing of private schools would damage public schools by skimming off the more highly motivated students from better-off families and would drain much needed funds and harm programs in the public schools.

A second surprising aspect of Bunn's endorsement of Bush, who is campaigning for nothing if not tax cuts, are the dire effects of tax-cutting efforts currently underway in Oregon by Bill Sizemore and Don McIntire. Most observers, including Supt. Bunn, have agreed that passage of either tax-slashing Measure 91 or Measure 8 would seriously damage Oregon schools. Clearly GW Bush would vote for both of these tax cuts, were he an Oregon resident.

A third anomaly in Bunn's statement is his praise for Bush's plan to add yet another layer of standardized testing to the already time-consuming accountability requirements of the Oregon system. Bunn's agency has seemed at times overwhelmed with the task of administering the as yet incomplete test regimes. The Oregon School's for the 21st Century Reform plans for CIM and CAM tests are years behind schedule and yet Bunn praises the idea for more tests by the feds! There are indeed strings attached to the federal money; the "local control" that Bunn praises is not what it appears to be.

Obviously Bunn's endorsement does a lot more toward getting votes for the Republican Candidate than it does toward reforming Oregon's education system.