Education Related Issues On State Ballots This Fall: Southwest
In Texas, Gov. William P. Clements Jr., the Republican incumbent, is involved in a tight re-election campaign against state Attorney General Mark White, a Democrat.
The Texas Federation of Teachers has organized a "Beat Bill Clements" movement and hopes to provide $400,000 in cash and volunteer time to Mr. White, whose record on education, union leaders say, has been "pretty good." The union also recently put out a booklet of unflattering "Quotations from Governor Bill." The Texas State Teachers Association has also endorsed Mr. White. The third union, the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, does not endorse candidates.
Governor Clements has countered the unions' criticism by pointing out that teachers' salaries have risen during his tenure. The unions contend that the raises were automatic and that the Governor cannot take credit for them.
Several of the 24 seats on the state school board are also up for election.
In Arizona, voters will face Proposition 104, a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand the state board of education from its current nine members to 15, adding one lay person and five representatives of business and industry. Its supporters say the measure would provide "greater input" from a wider spectrum of the community and business. Opponents counter that the expanded board would be less efficient and more expensive and would put too much power in hands of the business community.
In the state superintendent's race, Carolyn Warner, the Democratic incumbent who has served for eight years, faces Ann Herzer, a Republican. Ms. Warner, who has won handily in past elections, has received the endorsement of the Arizona Education Association.
Education, which accounts for nearly three-quarters of New Mexico's annual budget, has become an important issue in state races. In the gubernatorial race, the state's dominant teachers' group has endorsed Toney Anaya, the Democrat. His opponent is John Irick, who identifies himself as a conservative Republican.
Mr. Anaya has pledged to support the creation of a cabinet-level state education department and to press for salaries that are "adequate" to attract and retain good teachers. His opponent has alienated labor groups by endorsing right-to-work legislation.
Two seats on the state board of education are also up for election.
In the race for state superintendent in Oklahoma, the incumbent, Leslie R. Fisher, is expected to defeat Dr. Charles Sandman, a Republican who has not campaigned actively.
Vol. 02, Issue 08