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Endorsement watch: Three for SBOE

The Chron finally crosses one redistricting-affected category off its list by issuing three endorsements in State Board of Education primaries.

Patty Quintana-Nilsson

State Board of Education, Position 6, Democratic primary: This race has drawn a particularly strong slate of Democrats. (We are impressed by Traci Jensen’s knowledge of the arcane workings of the SBOE.) But Patty Quintana-Nilsson, a Spring Branch ISD technical-education teacher, receives our endorsement because of her practical, real-world commitment to improving education for all Texas students, not just those bound for four-year colleges. “There’s a big disconnect between what we have to do in class and what our students need,” she notes.

Linda Ellis

State Board of Education, Position 8, Republican primary: Our choice – Linda Ellis, a fiscal conservative – is challenging incumbent Barbara Cargill, a member of the SBOE’s religious-conservative voting bloc and currently chair of the SBOE. Ellis, a reading consultant who helps turn around low-performing schools, decries Texas’ overreliance on testing and the board’s lack of respect for teachers. “The education of our children,” she says, “is more important than politics.”

Dexter Smith

State Board of Education, Position 8, Democratic primary: Dexter Smith, an energetic, thoughtful Friendswood elementary-school teacher, knows first-hand how curriculum plays in the classroom. Science education, he says, should be based on the scientific method. As a father, he believes that parents should be the primary guides of their children’s sex education; but he also believes that too many parents fail to do so, so it’s important for schools to fill that gap.

My interview with Patty Quintana-Nilsson is here, with Traci Jensen is here, and with David Scott is here. I didn’t interview anyone in SBOE 8 because I didn’t realize until only recently that there was a contested Democratic primary. I’ll be sure to schedule one for the general election. If you’re wondering why they didn’t endorse in the contentious GOP primary in SBOE 7, the reason is presumably that SBOE 7 no longer contains part of Harris County in it – you can see the map here. It does contain Liberty, Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria, and most of Fort Bend counties, and you’d think there would be a few Chron readers in those places, but that’s how they roll. Given how many Harris races have not been and may not be done, it’s hard to argue.

Election Day 2011

I’m sure you already know this, but today is the day to vote if you haven’t done so already. For Harris County, you can find your polling place here. You do not need any more identification than you’ve always needed, which is to say that your voter registration card is sufficient. Despite its earlier documentation malfunction, the County Clerk acknowledges as much in their Election Day press release. I say follow the Chron’s advice and report any election judge who tells you otherwise. Now go vote, and I’ll be back later with results.