Chris Reykdal for State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Part Two)

 Update 3:

1) Jones' campaign has hired the former lobbyist for Stand for Children and is using the well-known/notorious campaign director, Christian Sinderman.  

2) The Stranger put out their November endorsements yesterday (partial)
While we understand the case Jones makes for representation in education leadership, we can't support electing someone with views so dangerous to LGBTQ students to the highest position in the state school system.
Reykdal also filled out that right-wing questionnaire, and his answer was definitive: "The standards do not promote cross-dressing and other fabrications of the extreme right," he wrote. "They teach gender identity and self awareness. These are good things not to be vilified."

Vote for the progressive educator without any anti-gay/anti-trans fundamentalist Christian baggage in this race. Vote for Reykdal.
Reykdal is looking better and better by the minute.

end of update

Update 2: The Olympian said it was close but they gave their endorsement to Rekydal, noting his overall experience with both teaching and learning and legislative knowledge.  They also noted this:
Despite her enthusiasm for education, Jones missed several opportunities to vote on public school bonds or levies for North Thurston Public Schools, where her children were enrolled. Reykdal has used this to question her commitment to local schools, but Jones quickly acknowledged to us that she was “irresponsible” not to vote.
end of update

Read more here:

Update: from the Public Disclosure Commission - two ed reform PACs and Vulcan have paid $167,600 for a mailer in support of Erin Jones.  This action comes out of national Stand for Children office in Portland, Oregon.  

Here is how it breaks down:
-$50,000 from Stand for Children Inc.
-$9,000 from League of Education Voters PAC (Education Voters Political Action Fund)
-$108,600 from Vulcan Inc.

This is the second-largest independent expenditure so far this election season, after a $194,300 IE from No on I-732 people.
end of update

I have previously endorsed Chris Reykdal but with ballots going out this week, I wanted to add to my reasoning.

The newest issue is that another LGBT issue has cost Jones another endorsement.  From The Stranger (bold mine):
The Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee (SEAMEC), a nonpartisan group that rates candidates for local elections based on their positions on GLBT issues, is revoking its rating of state superintendent of public instruction candidate Erin Jones.
When SEAMEC then looked back at its candidate questionnaire from June, group leaders realized that Jones had also stated to SEAMEC that she was against a ban on conversion therapy for minors—in other words, that she was against banning a widely debunked and harmful practice that attempts to force LGBTQ youths into being straight or cisgender. In early August, two months after Jones submitted her SEAMEC questionnaire, Seattle banned conversion therapy on minors.
Jones, who has been working closely with LGBTQ advocates to educate herself after her earlier statements on gender identity and sexual orientation came to light, has since reversed her position on conversion therapy.   
"The more we learned, the more disturbed we are by this candidate," Herb Krohn, SEAMEC spokesperson, said. "We have revoked her rating, and we have voted to endorse Chris Reykdal. I don't know if we settled on what her final rating would be, but it will be substantially lower, and we'll probably be putting a comment next to her numerical grade because of her enormous inconsistencies about her statements in so many venues."
But how could SEAMEC have missed Jones's original answer on a conversion therapy ban?  "We go through 180 candidates in two days," Krohn said. "We overlooked it. Mistakes happen. We're human. But what's important to us is making sure the record is correct and putting out accurate information to the constituents."
This is the second time Jones has reversed her stand/comments on LGBT issues since the campaign started.

I want to circle back to when Jones served as a chapter leader in Spokane for the Christian youth group, Young Life, because I think it goes to the heart of this issue.

When she became a Young Life leader, she had to sign a promise to Young Life that she was not gay nor leading a gay"lifestyle."  During the time she was a Young Life leader (if I have her timeline/story straight), she and her husband took in two young people who had been shunned by their families for coming out as gay.

This was not only the Christian thing to do but a moral thing to do.  It speaks well of Jones and her husband.

However, she continued on as a Young Life leader after they did that.

Is someone's word not their bond?  Is their signature not their promise?

We all get to pick and choose when we join a religion or a political party but when you sign your name, it should mean something.

If she is elected to office, will she pick and choose what to support as state superintendent?  

On LGBT issues, I find this confusing because, on the one hand, she had two gay youth in her home and you might think that would have helped her personal education on LGBT issues.  But, in an interview with Q13, she said her son said she talked about LGBT issues like she was talking in the '80s.

She had youth in her home who were gay but believed in conversion therapy but only after Seattle passed a conversation therapy ban did she change mind on it.

It would appear she just started educating herself during the election.  I find this all confusing and troubling.

Charter Schools
Jones told me in the spring that she was categorically against charter schools.

And yet at the disabilities town hall in September for the two candidates, she said that charters were were an "option" for students of color. 

A softening of her position?  It's unclear.

Reykdal said he rather have the money from the charter grant given to OSPI by the Dept. of Ed to serve Sped students.  He is categorically against charters and that has been his consistent stated position.

(By the way, that was one great forum put on by Arc of King County, Provail, WA Alliance in Autisum and Advocacy, Open Doors for Multicultural Families and Bellevue Special Needs PTSA.  There is no video but here's the audio.  It was one of the best discussions on children with disabilities and education and just a well-organized forum.)

Jones has also said some confusing things about teachers.

She told KNKX,  “I’m really coming from the lens of an educator" for the work at OSPI but she told the Times:

"The WEA is a political organization," "It's job is to make sure people are getting paid, not teaching and learning."

Considering that a union IS its members, it makes you wonder what she means.

As of today, Erin Jones' campaign has raised $193,70115 and spent $102,671.80.
Reykdal has raised $213,167.42 and spent $145,987.40.

Jones has more overall contributions but many of her donors are the same people who appear to be on a donation schedule.  Both candidates are supported by different Native American tribes.

Of note for Jones' donations there's one from a guy from Teach for America ($1500), at least two people who work for League of Education Voters, and Rep Eric Pettigrew - all ed reformers.

Of note for Reykdal' donations are many union ones besides the teachers' union.

Both Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal have a lot of endorsements in all directions and that is to their credit.  They have legislators, Native American tribal endorsements,

(I also see that Director Geary and Director Burke have endorsed Jones.)

But one area of endorsement that stands out to me is how many people who work at OSPI (and some of who presumably worked with Jones when she was there) are endorsing Reykdal.  Now you could say that those people may want the so-called "status quo" and that's why they endorse Reykdal but I think if the people you have worked with don't endorse you to do the work for the job at that top, that says something.

Jones has many members of the African-American community's endorsements while Reykdal has the endorsement of many the Latino community's endorsements.

The other reason I find Reykdal's endorsement list more compelling is how far it reaches around the state and not just in the Puget Sound region.  That says to me that people throughout the state know and trust Reykdal and he has already established relationships.

Jones is endorsed by the Seattle Times, the News Tribune and The Spokesman Review.

Reykdal is endorsed by The Stranger, the Everett Herald, the Tri-City Herald.

Jones is also endorsed by Jami Lund, a former policy analyst for Washington House Republicans and current education adviser at the Freedom Foundaiton, a conservative think tank.  She is also supported by Susan Hutchison, chairwoman of the Washington Republican Party.  From the Times:

Lund: "What we're looking at is change versus the status quo, and Erin Jones, is my view, is Team Change."

That's very much how ed reformers talk all the time.  


Anonymous said…
Erin Jones is endorsed by Jami Lund of a far-right think tank; Susan Hutchison, the pro-Trump chair of the state Republican Party; says she's open to charter schools; has a long trail of opposing things the LGBTQ community needs.

What else do people need in order to conclude she's bad news and that we should vote for Chris Reykdal instead?

Anonymous said…
But she's African American and we need to increase diversity at all cost!

Liberal Christian Trying To Play Nice With Others said…
I agree that Erin Jones' support of conversion therapy is very concerning. It has done an enormous amount of harm.

I do get very nervous, however, when we start critiquing religious views of candidates. Anyone with a religion probably has to have two minds in public life to some degree, and to "render onto God that which is God's, and onto Caesar that which is Caesar's." For example, many religious people believe that gay sex is sinful, even if being gay is not. This is the position of the Roman Catholic Church. But, in their personal life, those same religious people are probably going to have a "live and let live" philosophy. To understand public policy positions, should we ask candidates if they support civil marriage for gay couples? Yes, absolutely. Should we ask Catholic candidates if they personally believe gay people should be celibate, given the RCC's theology? No, I don't think we should.

I would note that many historically African American churches have conservative theology regarding LGBTQ issues. I had an African American friend who voted against gay marriage and for legalization of marijuana. (I voted the opposite of her on both those issues.) She voted against gay marriage because it went against her religious beliefs, and she voted for marijuana legalization because destructive drug policies had harmed the African American community. I understood her positions, even though I didn't agree with them. (By the way, I think agreeing to disagree respectfully is a big part of celebrating diversity, and that is something our country really needs to work on.)

If we respect freedom of religion, we should not be naive about the fact that religion is often not politically correct. If signing a statement of belief or a pledge of behavior with your church is a disqualification for public office, the alarm bells in my head go off. I believe we need to be careful to not eliminate candidates because of their religious background. Otherwise, we will be eliminating a whole bunch of qualified Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, etc. from public service.
Po3 said…
My concern w/ Jones is that every time she gets called out on a position she pivots or tries to clarify what she really meant so in the end I do not know what she stands for. I had such high hopes for her, but I don't think she is ready for this office.

NO 1240 said…
I support Chris Reykdal.

I've watched Reykdal in Olympia- for years- and he is a strong supporter of public education and teachers.

Stand for Children and Vulcan just created a PAC for Jones and has funded it with $167K. I knew this was coming.
Anonymous said…
"I've watched Reykdal in Olympia- for years- and he is a strong supporter of public education and teachers."

I totally agree. I am also voting for Chris Reykdal. He would be a great superintendent and has been very clear and consistent thought the years. I hope people in Seattle do their homework on this one. But I expect many people (at least in Seattle) will not delve into candidate details all too much and likely go with an endorsement of Seattle Times.
"For example, many religious people believe that gay sex is sinful, even if being gay is not."

I understand that is true but to say to someone, you can be gay but never have sex again in your life, that's just not a valid or accepting or tolerant attitude.

And we have millions of gay people in this country. People can believe what they want from their religion but if they have legal duties as an elected official, voters have to believe they will work from the legal stance, not the religious one.

Jones told one Christian group that her first allegiance was to God.

I'm not saying someone cannot be religious and be in office but voters need to know how much that comes into play when doing their elected duty.

Liberal Christian Trying To Play Nice With Others said…
"I understand that is true but to say to someone, you can be gay but never have sex again in your life, that's just not a valid or accepting or tolerant attitude."

No, it isn't tolerant. And that is the point. Millions of people have a belief on this issue that is not accepting or tolerant. (I am not going to say it is "not valid." It would be the height of arrogance for me to tell the Pope his belief is "not valid," 99% of imams that their beliefs are "not valid," the Dalai Lama that his belief is "not valid," etc.)

Yes, I agree in public life that public servants need to follow the law. That is why asking someone about their attitudes about civil same sex marriage is totally legitimate. But someone can agree to follow the law on civil marriage and have conservative theology. Someone can agree to work for a hospital that performs abortions and disagree with abortion.

Why can't we be tolerant of these people? And by the way, many of them are people of color. What happens when the large number of African Americans attending theologically conservative churches are held to be too suspect to hold office? Or Hispanics (who are overwhelming Roman Catholic or Evangelical)? Or Arab Americans (who overwhelming are Muslim, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox Christian?) Are office holders limited to the non-religious, mainline Protestants, or Reform Jews?

"Christian Trying To Play Nice With Others" - you need to read our policy about names and change this.

The Telegraph, March 2014

"The celibate Dalai Lama has thrown his considerable moral weight behind gay marriage, condemning homophobia and saying sex was fine as long as it was consensual."

I AM arrogant enough to say the Pope's beliefs do not trump mine nor does any imam. Believing in God doesn't make you right on every issue. Believe what you want but I also don't have to believe the head of any church is more right than I am.

And by the way, we don't have "civil gay marriage", we just have marriage in this state (with others following along. You can call it whatever you want; I prefer what the law calls it.

I am very tolerant but not believing in God is where you really run into problems. I was raising going to four different churches so I am well-steeped in religion. It's fine but don't use your beliefs to say my beliefs - especially about the law - are wrong.

You are trying to make it sound like religious people can't hold office - of course, they can. But when a religious person brings their religion into the office, into the campaign, then we have a problem.

Anonymous said…
Being tolerant of theological conservatives as human beings is one thing. Suspecting that their theological conservatism might adversely affect performance of their duties as public officials, and voting accordingly, is another thing altogether. Those suspicions might be unfounded (see Kennedy, John F.), or they might not be (see Moore, Roy). It depends entirely on the individual case.

-- Ivan Weiss
I also note you are completely ignoring the issues raised on Jones' conflicting statements.
1st amendment said…
I am just pointing out that the 1st amendment includes freedom of religion. And, freedom of religion means some people are going to have religious values that are not socially liberal. I am glad that that the Dalai Lama changed his position on same sex marriage, because previously he was opposed. But, his opinion has a pretty big caveat. He said that he agreed with same sex marriage provided it wasn't in conflict with the values of one's chosen religion. So, if you have chosen to be a Roman Catholic, his position is you shouldn't have a spouse of the same sex.

In using the terms "civil gay marriage," I was trying to make a distinction between civil marriage and religious marriage. I can see a Roman Catholic agreeing that two men can be civilly married, but not religiously married. To me, that is not a problem. By the way, in my religious tradition you can be both religiously and civilly married if you are of the same gender. As I have said before, I am totally supportive of gay marriage! I am a liberal! I am just trying for us to be a little bit more accepting of people who are not socially liberal. As a country, I believe we really, really need to be kinder to people we disagree with. Andrew Sullivan has made a call for the LBBTQ community to be more accepting of religious conservatives. If he can do it, why can't we?

Of course believing in God doesn't make one right on every issue. The real issue is that people have a right to be wrong! And if they are doing their job as civil servants, is that a problem? I think it is perfectly fair to be critical of Erin Jones' support of charter schools and her support of conversion therapy. But is it really ok for us to be digging into her religious beliefs? It puts us on a very slippery slope.
TechyMom said…
If someone holds conservative religious beliefs, chances are that they will disagree with me, philosophically, on a host of issues. They absolutely have a right to run for office. And I absolutely have a right to vote against them. I've made exceptions and voted for religious people, just like I've occasionally voted for libertarians and socialists. But, as a general rule, conservative religious beliefs are a good shorthand for "disagrees with me on lots of important issues." This is a vastly different standard than I would use for hiring an employee to perform secular duties. When you're leaving, your instincts matter.
TechyMom said…
*leading not leaving
Anonymous said…
Of course people have freedom of religion. That doesn't mean I have to vote for someone who is repeatedly wrong on LGBT rights, is backed by Republicans and right wing think tanks, and is getting massive funding from ed reform groups. Freedom of religion has nothing to do with this. Why are you misdirecting this conversation?

Alison said…
Given where things are heading with ed-tech and behavioral/SEL data collection, the donations by Vulcan are concerning.

"Allen Brain Atlas
Both the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence were incubated at Vulcan Inc. Started at Vulcan Inc. in 2001, the Allen Brain Atlas project sought to understand the connections between genes and brain functioning. From the project’s research, Paul Allen created the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003 with a $100 million donation.

Project Halo came next. The project ran from 2002 to 2013, with the goal of creating a "digital Aristotle" that can correctly answer queries about scientific information, using artificial intelligence. The project led to a number of spinoff technologies, including the wiki software bundle SMW+, the Semantic Inferencing on Large Knowledge (SILK) project[16] and the Automated User-Centered Reasoning and Acquisition System (AURA).[17] From Project Halo’s results, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence was created.[18]"
It is absolutely okay to dig into Jones' religious beliefs when 1) she brings it up and 2) she answers questionnaires from conservative Christian groups.

Yes, I'm not going on with this conversation because it's not even the point of most of the thread.
Anonymous said…
Thank you Melissa for your reporting on this issue. I feel like the Stranger would not have made such an egregious mistake in initially supporting Erin Jones if Goldy had still been at the helm. By God I miss him!

Watching said…
I'm not surprised to see Susan Hutchinson supporting Erin Jones. Hutchinson was on the board of Young Life and she is connected to the Discovery Institute.

As we know, the Discovery Institute is a right wing think tank that pushes charter schools. More on Discovery Institute and their educational views:
Anonymous said…
Stand for Children is under investigation here in Nashville for illegal campaign activities..

They are an astro turf group with very sticky fingers

- Southie
Watching said…
I am not surprised to see Susan Hutchinson supporting Jones. Hutchinson once sat on the board of Young Life. She is also connected to Discovery Institute- an right wing organization connected to the charter movement.
Po3 said…
Right, forgot about the levies she didn't vote for, has she ever given a statement why she voted against them?
Po3, she says that it was a mistake she didn't vote but not how that happened given her husband was a teacher in the district that would have benefited from passage of the levies.
Po3 said…
Ah, again with the "that was a mistake."

Once is plausible, twice is a position.

Jan said…
I agree with Ivan. There are people who are members of religious denominations who can figure out how to hold religious beliefs and still represent the members of their communities in an unbiased, fair, and secular manner -- and there are those that can't. Happy to vote for the former. Do my absolute best to identify, and avoid supporting, the latter.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric B said…
Ooooo! Stranger trolling! I didn't think we were going to get there on this thread.

If an apologist for sexual assault says to vote for somebody, I won't. Thanks for making that clear in this race, Susan Hutchinson!
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
NO 1240 said…
No surprise to learn that SPI candidate- Erin Jones- has hired former Stand for Children Lobbyist- Jim Kainber- to help her raise money from charter champions. This certainly explains the reason we see large contributions from wealthy individuals. These wealthy individuals have poured tens of thousands of dollars into Stand For Children; an organization that is funded by Gates to support candidates and promote charter schools.

Vote Reykdal. He has been a strong and solid supporter of public schools and believes in state rights. Reykdal is frustrated by an over-reaching federal government and he would not support the notion of linking test scores to teacher evaluations.
Anonymous said…
OK - if Stand On Children PAC is involved, Erin Jones is most definitely their great charter school hope. She has too many rich people, too many GOP politicians (yes, including the sexual assault apologist Susan Hutchison), and too many ed deformers as donors/supporters, and all that makes me nervous as he** for public education. We already have OSPI staff subverting public schools with their money laundering scheme & writing Federal grants for privatized charters. With Jones, I don't see that being stopped - she'll owe too many people in the charter school industry. How many will end up as OSPI staff? Who you associate with matters...a ton.
My vote is for Reykdal.

Anonymous said…
And yes, I do remember this letter from him after WA's NCLB waiver was revoked for not evaluating teachers with student test scores.

Somehow I don't see Erin Jones writing anything like this.

CT, that's a great point on who would get hired under her administration.

As well, good point on that NCLB letter from Reykdal - Diane Ravitch called him a "champion" of public education for standing up to Duncan.
NO 1240 said…
Reykdal caught my eye when he stood up to Boeing. He stood -up voted against the Boeing deal and called the deal "extortion".

As well, during the last legislative session...there was a campaign to pass SB 6194. Tons of dollars were through into the campaign and the campaign was intended to pressure the legislature to pass the bill. The campaign targeted Reykdal and he didn't blink.

Reykdal gave-up his seat in the legislature to run for SPI. It would be a shame to loose his strength and courage.

Please consider contacting his campaign and offering support.
NO 1240 said…

Stand On Children's PAC has paid Strategies 360 approximately 360 for polling. Seattle is being targeted.
NO 1240 said…
Clarification: SFC PAC has paid Strategies 360 approximately $43K for polling. Seattle is being targeted.

BIG dollars!
NO 1240 said…

Absolutely NO doubt about it. Jones hired Stand for Children's former lobbyist and BIG dollars are rolling into Jones's campaign. Her latest contributor is Holland and his wife. Holland is quite accustomed to making campaign contributions > $250K !!

Jones waited until the tail end of her campaign to bring in the big contributors.

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