Your Connection To Jazz, Blues and NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Superintendent fumes over Gregoire’s education plan


Washington voters elected him state superintendent of public schools. Now Governor Chris Gregoire wants to takeover his portfolio. Randy Dorn is fuming over the Governor’s proposal to create a cabinet-level Department of Education.

Under Gregoire's plan, all education in Washington – from early learning to higher ed – would fall under a single Secretary of Education. And that person would report directly to the governor. So what would happen to Washington's elected Superintendent of Public Instruction?

“I’m not necessarily recommending that we eliminate the election of a Superintendent, but I am recommending that that person be accountable and report to the Secretary of Education and there’s nothing in the Constitution that would preclude us from doing that,” says Governor Gregoire.

School Superintendent Randy Dorn counters there are constitutional barriers. In a hotly worded statement, Dorn says he works for the people, not the governor. And he calls her plan a “smokescreen” that distracts from a lack of state funding for public schools.

The governor’s proposal would require legislative approval.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.