Putting party before people: MT Republicans appoint Rick Jore to chair House education committee

by Jay Stevens

Shane, V, and Jeff Mangan already mentioned Rick Jore’s appointment as chair of Montana’s Education committee, but I’d like to pile on.

Here’s the catch. Jore doesn’t believe in using federal money for education. He’s against compulsory education and believes the public school system should be replaced by private schools and homeschooling. Not what you would call a representative view of most Montanans. And now he’s the leading lawmaker dealing with education in our state house.

According to the Tribune story, Jore never asked for the position:

Jore said he never specifically asked for the chairmanship.“Quite frankly, I was surprised,” said Jore, a Ronan resident who served as a Republican legislator in the 1990s before switching parties.

So why did the GOP put Jore in a position where he can wreak havoc on our state’s school system?

Republican leaders dismissed the criticism, saying the education community opposed Sales and other Republicans in elections.

“I don’t recall the education community supporting the speaker, or myself either,” said House Republican leader Mike Lange of Billings. “They didn’t win. That’s the bottom line. If they want to control the committee, my recommendation to them is to be better at campaigning than they were.

“We owe them no explanation whatsoever.”

Got that? It’s a clear message. If you don’t support the GOP, then you’re out, even if you are crucial to the economic and educational well-being of your state. Can you think of an institution more important to voters than education? Me neither, but under the bus education goes because educators didn’t prostrate themselves before the Montana Republican Party.

Make no mistake, this is a deliberate move made by GOP House Speaker, Scott Sales, as part of his “war” on Democrats. I almost feel sorry for Jore, who will no doubt become the punching-bag of state voters, bloggers, and news media next year. (Of course, Jore will deserve every rhetorical blow he receives.)

V:

House Republicans better hope that the people of Montana don’t wake up and smell the coffee. If they do, these insane proposals will ruin any chance they have at making headway with non-Radicals–including a majority of Montana independents–that don’t support total war on public education.

Shane:

Is this how the Republicans in the state legislature intend to do things? Perhaps we can get Abramoff to come here and head the ethics committee? Is this OK?…

[snip]

So, not only does it appear that [Jore] doesn’t support federal funding, but he doesn’t support funding public schools at all. This is how the state Republicans want to run the state?

The appointment of Jore – a self-proclaimed enemy of public education – is the type of move that represents everything that’s repulsive and alienating about politics. Once again we’re seeing lawmakers put political party above the good of the community. If you had any doubts about Montana Republicans before, this little stunt should clear things up for good.

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  1. Big Swede

    I was upset about Ken Toole surviving the recount for PSC, so I’m not feeling too sorry for you guys!

  2. rich

    This is about the kids in the school system, not about repubs or dems. Mr. Jore isn’t all powerful, the senate and the gov. have a say also, but more importantly take it to the people in “08”.

  3. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Swede, I know that you’re not a real bright fellow, but could you please enlighten us in specific detail just WHAT you find so unattractive about Mr. Toole, and SO attractive about mr. dereg himself, beauty man mikey taylor?

  4. Big Swede

    First of all Larry he’s a lot like you, when debating ideas the first thing that comes to mind is hurling insults. When he calls David Bergs Show he becomes so rude and argumentative that he has to be cut off. Quite frankly, based on those yelling matches I think he’s unstable. As a senator all his proposed bills went down in flames, big box tax, separation of church and state education law along with many others. The MT chamber didn’t endorse nor did the AFL-CIO. He is a true enemy of big business and even though you find that attractive, big business bring big salaries to Montana. Here’s my predication-on the PSC he’ll be pigeoned holed no vote. He won’t and can’t be negotiated with so he’ll be ignored while the other members set policy and terms.

  5. This bugs me to no end and I don’t have enough information to do anything with it.

    Who makes those decisions, did all the Republican house members get a say so, can they reverse this travesty?

  6. Committee chairs basically got nominated by the Speaker, but do get approved by the full House. It would take a major act of will for the Republican caucus to actually nut up and oppose these folks — but if they don’t, it’ll be some of their own heads that roll in November ’08.

  7. noodlyappendage

    Too bad this isn’t looked on as a real chance to break the stranglehold the union has on education and really do something for the kids.

  8. Yeah, too bad. Because we already have trouble attracting quality teachers as it is with low pay and shrinking benefits. Destroying the union would, indeed, go a long way towards destroying public education.

  9. noodlyappendage

    In some parts of the state, there is trouble attracting teachers, and in some parts of the state, there are ample applications for each position.

    Allowing schools to respond to this market by changing mandates and offering market incentives, allowing private schools to compete for parents dollars, and getting rid of the “one size fits all” mentality would do far more than a union ever could.

    We’ve got hundreds of choices for cars, or houses, or even breakfast cereal, but one form of education has a stranglehold on the parents’ dollars.

    Sarcasm isn’t much of an answer. How did the unions do for the steel industry, or how were they at competing over the last fifty years in the auto industry? Not too great, I’d say. We don’t all drive Edsels, so why should we settle for that model when spending our dollars to educate our children?

  10. Apples and oranges. It could easily be argued that what helped kill off the domestic auto industry was corporate fear of single-payer health care and pension plans, where they preferred to dole out health plans and pensions instead of spreading the risk among the population at large.

    Most private schools I know are not profitable. Each relies, not on tuition, but alumn largesse. Expiraments in privitizing public education have been disasterous. It should be patently obvious by now that “free market” ideals are not the solution to improving education.

  11. noodlyappendage

    Throw up all the roadblocks you want because that just proves my point; public education and their unions and special interest groups are just as rigid as Jore. It’s radical against radical, neither wins, and kids and parents lose.

  12. Unions are hardly “radical.” Jore’s position is in the extreme minority of this country. You may not like unions’ influence, but they are undisputably mainstream. Jore is undisputably on the fringe.

    As for throwing up roadblocks, I don’t think we should keep going down a road that doesn’t work. I’m all for reform — I think schools and classes should be smaller, teachers better paid, and fewer administrators — but you’re not going to get that privitizing the system.

    If you privatizie you’ll get a handful of exclusive and very expensive schools and a lot of kids at home watching television. That should be obvious to any casual observer or student of history…

  13. noodlyappendage

    Well, I’d put it this way, the idea that Jore is an enemy of public education is true. But their worst enemy is themselves.

    Now, I think that’s middle ground, and it is but to anyone who’s out there on one extreme or the other.




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