Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gov. Henry says nope to HOPE

Last month New York's Democrat Governor, David Paterson, expressed frustration with the education establishment in his state. "Because what these school districts and unions and otherwise have said: 'We aren't special interests, we're extra special. We're supposed to get all the money and everybody else can just divide up the crumbs.' ... It's clear to me they don't care about anybody but themselves."

Oklahoma's Democrat Governor, Brad Henry, is unlikely to say something quite that confrontational (as I wrote five years ago, Henry "seems to have a well-balanced, almost judicial, temperament"), but he does recognize that the teacher-union-backed SQ 744 is truly a bad idea. As The Oklahoman noted today in a house editorial:
Henry said he has no plans to get active in the opposition campaign but isn’t ruling it out. That’s a big statement from a governor who has spent much of his two terms fighting for better teacher pay and benefits and championed higher academic standards. "I suspect right now that the initiative will not pass," he said. "If it looks like it has momentum and may pass, I may speak out more publicly than I already have."

I wish I could share the governor's optimism about 744's prospects -- a new Tulsa World poll shows 61 percent of Oklahomans favor the idea while only 23 percent oppose -- but I am glad he's on the record in opposition to the so-called HOPE initiative.

Now for those of you keeping score at home, here's a list of prominent public-education supporters who have expressed opposition to SQ 744: Gov. Brad Henry; Lt. Gov. Jari Askins; Attorney General Drew Edmondson; economist Larkin Warner; state Rep. Scott Inman (who has been chosen by House Democrats as their next leader designate); state Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs); former state Rep. Ryan McMullen (D-Burns Flat); Gov. Henry's hometown newspaper, The Shawnee News-Star; Tulsa World editorial writer Wayne Greene; and the president of the Oklahoma City affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO).

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