States

Party Lines

April 04, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Colorado House of Representatives considered a measure last week that would have upset a venerable tradition in local school board elections: that they be nonpartisan.

As the full House debated a broader election-reform measure, Republican state Rep. Don Lee proposed an amendment that would have required school board candidates to campaign under the banner of a political party. But members of the GOP-controlled House rejected the amendment before going on to approve the broader package.

Mr. Lee said his motivation in offering the amendment was “to give more information to the voter.”

“There are clear differences between the parties,” he said, “and voters should know about them.”

The proposal was opposed by many Democratic lawmakers and the Colorado Association of School Boards. Jane W. Urschel, the association’s executive director, said such a measure could disenfranchise the state’s independent voters in primary elections. “If it passes, it excludes the independents,” she said.

The state affiliate of the National Education Association also opposed the measure.

Many GOP House members feared that the amendment would have jeopardized the election bill in the Democratic-controlled Senate, said Rep. Mark Paschall, a Republican who was the author of the broader election-reform package. Legislators’ fear of provoking the wrath of the teachers’ unions was another factor, he said.

“There are a significant number of Republicans who are afraid—afraid—to vote against the unions,” Mr. Paschall said. “When it comes to school finance, they don’t want be on the record as opposing kids and education.”

Mr. Lee introduced a similar proposal two years ago that failed to clear the House.

Colorado’s local political culture is defined by nonpartisanship, a legacy of Progressive-era reformers. Even candidates for city council and mayor are not affiliated on the ballot with political parties.

Still, the idea of making Colorado’s school board elections partisan may not be dead. Mr. Paschall said that if Republicans regained control of the state Senate in 2003, the bill would “definitely” be revisited.

—Mark Stricherz

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2001 edition of Education Week as Party Lines

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Critical Race Theory Law Runs Into Legal Trouble in Arizona
A county judge ruled last month that Arizona's restriction on classroom discussions about race was passed in a deceptive manner.
3 min read
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during a bill signing in Phoenix on April 15, 2021. Ducey signed legislation banning government agencies from requiring training in so-called "critical race theory" as he begins considering the remaining bills from the legislative session that ended last week.
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill in April that would ban school districts from requiring training in so-called "critical race theory." That law is now being challenged in courts.
Ross D. Franklin/AP
States California Is Mandating COVID Vaccines for Kids. Will Other States Follow?
California's is the first statewide student requirement for COVID-19 vaccines. Will other states follow? And what about loopholes?
5 min read
Marcus Morgan, 14, waits to receive his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Families Together of Orange County in Tustin, Calif., on May 13, 2021.
Marcus Morgan, 14, waits to receive his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Families Together of Orange County in Tustin, Calif., on May 13, 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP
States How Vaccine Loopholes Could Weaken COVID Shot Mandates for Kids
For years before the pandemic, states sought to tighten loopholes in school vaccine requirements. Those efforts may now be put to the test.
9 min read
Opponents of legislation that tightened  rules on exemptions for vaccinations demonstrate outside the office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, Calif., in Sept. 2019. Medical exemptions in California more than tripled in the three years after they became the only allowable reason for a student to be unvaccinated.
Opponents of legislation that tightened rules on exemptions for vaccinations demonstrate outside the office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, Calif., in Sept. 2019.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
States To Quarantine or Not? Florida Is Letting Parents Decide
The choice to quarantine exposed students will be up to parents, not school districts, under a rule signed by Florida’s new surgeon general.
Scott Travis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
6 min read
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, shown at a news conference last month, appointed a new surgeon general for the state who issued an emergency rule that the decision to quarantine students will be up to parents, not school districts.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, shown at a news conference last month, appointed a new surgeon general for the state who issued an emergency rule that the decision to quarantine students will be up to parents, not school districts.
Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP