A reasonable person could ask how Education Superintendent Mick Zais’ plan to strip all vestiges of Common Core from our state’s curriculum standards could drive me to apologize for endorsing him four years ago but leave me with no second thoughts about my June endorsement of a candidate who supported what he was doing.
The simple answer is that Dr. Zais’ handling of Common Core was simply the final straw.
The more important answer is that Molly Spearman told me she does not endorse his approach. Ms. Spearman said her campaign contacted The State’s reporter about the way she was portrayed in a news article long before I got around to asking her about it.
She doesn’t dispute any of the words attributed to her; she just says they were misunderstood. She speculates that the reporter was thrown off by her decision not to attack Dr. Zais, as the other candidates did: “Trying to be civil … and it got me.” And if you read her comments, you can see how maybe they indicated support, and maybe they displayed the pragmatic approach to dealing with the Legislature that we need in that office.
I’m not going to try to figure out precisely what Ms. Spearman said and didn’t say to our reporter, but this much is clear to me: Right now, today, and I feel certain going forward, her position is that she opposes the lame-duck superintendent’s efforts to ignore the state’s current Common-Core-based standards when he writes revised standards; she believes that the law the Legislature passed this year pretty clearly says the Education Department is supposed to use the current standards as a baseline for revision, and she supports that approach.
This is also clear: She was the only major Republican candidate in the June primary who did not advocate dismantling Common Core, even though the GOP base was clamoring for that.
So I’m just as comfortable with our endorsement of Ms. Spearman today as I was last month.