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Perhaps my biggest frustration in running for Texas State Board of Education District 10 has been the way certain editorial boards have been unable to see the differences between me and my Republican opponent. These people look at us, two women with Ph.D.s in education, and conclude that the safer choice is to back the Republican in red-state Texas. Safer for their reputations, perhaps, but certainly not safer for Texas children. For the benefit of those editorial boards, I have highlighted key differences between me and my opponent below in bold.

The current State Board of Education has politicized the curriculum-writing process because of the narrow personal political agendas of a few extreme Republican members who have depended on advocates of voucher programs for financial and political support. We have an opportunity to prevent the extremists from reprising what they have done with science and history standards, but to do so will require strong leadership from someone willing to stand up to the extremists. Repeatedly, so-called moderate Republicans on the current Board have failed to do so. My Republican opponent Marsha Farney, unlike me, has refused to state she would not align herself with those who politicize the Board. Her investment choices provide a clear indication of her fundamental values and political preferences.

Before filing as a candidate, my opponent divested herself of stock in a company called K12, which provides resources for homeschooling. Some of this funding no doubt was used in the $250,000 of her own money she spent to win the Republican primary. K12 twice lobbied the Texas Legislature to fund a program which would have diverted funds from neighborhood schools to provide what would have effectively been a voucher program for home-school students. So, let me be clear: I believe that public schools are the backbone of the Texas educational system, and very important to our society; I do NOT support diverting tax dollars from neighborhood schools.

I have strong concerns about Marsha Farney's ability to stand up to the extremists on the Board when making decisions that affect the public school students of Texas. When the Republican party chair made the ridiculous allegation that the League of Women Voters is biased and barred Ms. Farney from participating in their debate, she went along, denying the voters of SBOE District 10 a chance to hear our different views on public education. I have never  taken and will never take any orders from any party boss.

I have worked hard in my career as an educator and in this campaign to think first about the interests of children: what is best for their education? I think the best answer is that we need to prepare children to succeed and thrive in the world. We accomplish that by putting the advice and insights of teachers, parents, and subject-matter experts ahead of partisan political agendas and not by injecting politics into the classroom or into our children's textbooks.

As I mentioned, my opponent has already spent a fortune of her own money to win her Republican primary. I expect her to dig even deeper into her pockets, and the pockets of the pro-voucher Republican party bosses, to flood the airwaves in the next two weeks. I can't match her personal funds, and there is unfortunately no "save neighborhood schools" PAC that could support me. The only chance I have is by the committed action of people like you. Please sign up to help our phone banking operation to spread the word one voter at a time. You don't need to live in the district to help, you can live anywhere and help us make phone calls. To sign up please send an email to and I will send you the information. I know many of you have been inundated with requests for donations and many of you have been very generous to my campaign, and I want to thank you all for your generosity. We have a new commercial on the airwaves now and every new donation goes to helping us keep it on the air.  Any amount you can spare would work wonders for keeping us getting our message out. Thanks for all your support.

Goal Thermometer

Cross Posted at Burnt Orange Report

Originally posted to Judy Jennings on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 01:09 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (28+ / 0-)

    "Looking on the bright side (a very Texan thing to do), maybe this spell in the national spotlight will inspire us to fix some things."-Molly Ivins, 6/6/00

    by Judy Jennings on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 01:09:33 PM PDT

  •  Good luck with the race. (4+ / 0-)

    Texas does deserve better than your opponent.


    by shayera on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 01:43:23 PM PDT

  •  After my angry Texas bashing this morning (5+ / 0-)

    in the cheerleader diary, the least I can do is tip and rec this.

    RKBA: the only focus group on Daily Kos that is attacked by Kossacks for doing what it was formed to do.

    by kestrel9000 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 01:48:42 PM PDT

  •  Farney's a Fake (5+ / 0-)

    Farney is no moderate, and she has no plans to change the politicization of the current SBOE.

    If people knew the real Farney-- if she would show up to debates and show her true colors like she does at Tea Party Rallies-- people would realize that keeping her out of office is imperitive.

    Judy has been clear about her beliefs and the reasons she's in this race.  She is someone who has spent 15 years in the education field and is in this race because she couldn't stand the emarrassing, damaging behavior of the current Board any longer.  

    The least we could do is inform all our uninformed friends and neighbors about this race-- no doubt, once they do, they'll know the choice is clear.

    •  Texans deserve an informed choice (3+ / 0-)

      Since my opponent ducked out on most of the debate opportunities, most Texans are unaware of these real differences between us. I count on my friends to pass on the word, one voter at a time! Thanks for the support.

      "Looking on the bright side (a very Texan thing to do), maybe this spell in the national spotlight will inspire us to fix some things."-Molly Ivins, 6/6/00

      by Judy Jennings on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 02:26:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hope you cross posted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, anotherdemocrat, mykle

    at Burnt Orange as well.

  •  good luck (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anotherdemocrat, mykle

    well done post.

    "They said they would not dance, and they broke their promise to me," said Evans, who attended the event. "They just can't be trusted."

    by alpolitics on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 02:23:51 PM PDT

  •  This is the MOST important set of races in the US (3+ / 0-)

    The right-wing dumbing-down of education has to be stopped if we are to avoid a state of idiocracy. They've been at it for a generation -- the time to end it is NOW. Our kids need a 21st Century education, not a 17th Century one!

    by Matt Osborne on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 03:18:04 PM PDT

  •  How come you aren't being clear here (0+ / 0-)

    as I've heard you say before, that you DO support homeschooling and the right to homeschool in TX, while you are talking about vouchers and funding?

    Because there are hundreds if not a thousands of progressive, moderate homeschoolers in this state that only hear the misquoted calls of the far right..."She hates homeschoolers, she wants to take away our rights!"

    Do not say one thing to some constituents and another thing here, leaving out how you support our rights.

    All home-schoolers are not extremists or far right.  And those of us who aren't are carrying your banner.  Those of us who homeschool, yet are fierce education advocates want to see you elected.

    Surprisingly, you can have it both ways with progressive/moderate homeschoolers.  We get the "no voucher" thing.  Don't forget that.

    I'm a Kennedy Catholic.

    by EquiStar on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 08:36:13 PM PDT

    •  What don't you understand? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      She said she supports home schoolers, but not at the expense of public schools and the kids in them whose parents can't afford or otherwise choose to home school. I've talked to Judy and she knows there are plenty of great Texas families who choose home schooling, and appreciates all the support they've given her.

      •  Where are the comments in the above diary (0+ / 0-)

        that say she supports homeschoolers?  Oh, right, there aren't any.  That's my point.  There is a HUGE block of homeschoolers that are either progressives, apolitical or moderates who have to hear that she SUPPORTS their rights while she explains her issue with vouchers and financing.  Otherwise the rest just sounds like...blah blah blah.

        Look, I'm on her side.  But when my email box starts filling with "Jennings doesn't support homeschoolers" propoganda she needs to be sure she's really clear in everything she writes.  Those on the fence will side to selfishly protect their rights since they don't have to directly worry about what the state teaches their kids.

        Texas has a fairly large and voting-active number of homeschoolers.  I'd think a candidate would rather have some of those votes than have none.

        I'm a Kennedy Catholic.

        by EquiStar on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 10:24:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry to not make it clearer (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          EquiStar, I'm sorry to not make it clearer. Here's part of a letter that I recently wrote to another home schooling parent, that I think addresses your concerns:

          Thank you for taking the time to write me regarding your concerns. I appreciate you giving me a chance to clarify. I am not opposed to homeschooling. Schooling one’s children at home is a choice that parents make for many different reasons, and I support that choice. I do believe that public schools are the backbone of the U.S., and very important to our society; and I don’t support diverting tax dollars from neighborhood schools. But I would not support government restriction of the freedom of families to choose homeschooling.

          EquiStar, I hope this clarifies my position for you. Thanks for your input.

          "Looking on the bright side (a very Texan thing to do), maybe this spell in the national spotlight will inspire us to fix some things."-Molly Ivins, 6/6/00

          by Judy Jennings on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 03:05:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I really appreciate (0+ / 0-)

            that you understand my point.  I fully support you and your efforts.  I just want to be sure you're getting your information out there in the strongest way possible.

            A number of us who are moderate/progressive homeschoolers are taking the time to fight the quote from the Houston Chronicle in our homeschooling circles.  The THSC (Tx Homeschool Coalition) recently sent out an email blast using, or rather misrepresenting, that HC quote to let their members know to vote for Marsha, the "homeschool supporting" candidate.  So whenever you speak or write an OpEd, I think you have be clear about your support of homeschooling rights, else it's fodder against you.

            Yes, it's true that many of those in THSC are most likely conservatives, but certainly not all, and certainly not everyone who will see it --  That endorsement ends up on state email lists and bulletin boards for the whole spectrum of HSers to see.

            I really really hope you win, for TX's sake.  Good Luck!!

            I'm a Kennedy Catholic.

            by EquiStar on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 08:45:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you very much! (0+ / 0-)

              I appreciate your support very much. My campaign doesn't have the budget or staff to get our message out as much as we'd like, so I'm really depending on supporters to spread the word to fellow voters, one person at a time. Thanks!

              "Looking on the bright side (a very Texan thing to do), maybe this spell in the national spotlight will inspire us to fix some things."-Molly Ivins, 6/6/00

              by Judy Jennings on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 07:10:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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