Bergeson to seek 4th term in schools post
Terry Bergeson says she'll run for a fourth term as state superintendent of public instruction — a job she thinks no one else would...
The Associated Press
Richard Semler's campaign: www.richsemler.com/
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction: www.k12.wa.us/
Terry Bergeson's campaign: www.terrybergeson2008.com/
SEATTLE — Terry Bergeson says she'll run for a fourth term as state superintendent of public instruction — a job she thinks no one else would want because "It's a scary job right now."
Bergeson said in a recent interview that she still has work to finish: "This isn't the time to leave."
The former teacher has held the nonpartisan post for 12 years.
She has been praised, especially by business leaders, for raising the state's education standards, but she has also drawn sharp criticism for her strong and continuing support of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.
One of the harshest critics of Bergeson and the WASL has been the state teachers union, the Washington Education Association, which she once led.
She is a veteran of the Tacoma and Central Kitsap school districts and was a WEA leader before losing a state superintendent's race to incumbent Judith Billings in 1992. Bergeson won her first term in 1996 and has been re-elected twice.
Billings came out of retirement to challenge Bergeson in the 2004 race. Soon after that loss, Billings registered to run again in 2008, but her campaign was "discontinued" in February 2006, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Richard W. Semler, superintendent of the 10,000-student Richland School District in Eastern Washington for nearly 11 years, registered with the state in October to run for state schools chief, his campaign treasurer Ruby Krissy said Friday.
As of Dec. 31, he had raised about $8,000 in cash and in-kind donations.
Bergeson has raised a total of $61,753 in cash and in-kind donations — more than half during the month of December — according to the Public Disclosure Commission.
Bergeson, 64, led the commission that developed education reform in Washington and set the "world-class" standards and learning requirements that eventually led to development of the WASL.
The statewide achievement test has been a subject of contention between her and the WEA.
Phone messages to WEA President Mary Lindquist and the WEA office on Friday were not returned.
Semler, 61, has worked in education for 36 years, beginning as a fifth-grade teacher and junior-high math teacher after returning from military service in Vietnam. He has worked as a superintendent in Vashon Island and Richland for a total of 17 years and as an assistant superintendent in Issaquah and Wapato for a few years. He is set to retire from his job as Richland superintendent at the end of June.
The platform posted on his Web site said he would introduce a less expensive and more effective assessment system to replace the WASL. He also criticizes the state education office for "overspending and fuzzy bookkeeping."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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