pro-ignorance positions and votes on education spell trouble not just for his own chances but for other Republicans. The problem hasn’t gone unnoticed by GOP supporters.
When the GOP candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction shared her stump speech on Facebook (pictured), a commenter immediately expressed concern that Hill’s views on education were so backward they would not only tank his own election but could harm the GOP’s other candidates as well.
One look at Hill’s record makes it clear why Hill’s views are a liability. In Congress, Hill backed abolishing the Department of Education altogether. Hill’s position was later taken up by renowned intellect Rick Perry, to the delight of Saturday Night Live fans across the U.S.:
The third agency of government I would do away with — the Education, the Commerce. And let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Oops.
Hill opposed making college more affordable. He voted in Congress to support drastic cuts in education funding. [ Roll Call 210. June 5, 1998. Roll Call 273. June 14, 2000.]
In his campaign for Governor, Hill’s launched what can only be described as a war on teachers. He’s on the record in support of letting teachers be fired without cause and “deregulating” education–eliminating the accountability and the standards that make sure kids get safe, quality public school classrooms.
He even supports using your tax dollars on subsidies for the wealthy and fundamentalists who send their kids to private and religious schools. Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to schools that aren’t required to abide by state standards for quality. Nor should public funds be used on schools that discriminate in which students they accept or teach religious and right-wing political doctrine as if it were scientific fact. With public dollars flowing away from public schools and into this nonsense, the kids of many hardworking Montanans would be left behind in underfunded schools. The rich would enjoy spending their subsidies on Hawaiian vacations, and the right-wingers could be sure their kids were being taught how to bring dead people back to life.
To be sure, the GOP’s own candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction doesn’t seem to be coming up with compelling reasons to vote for her. She was caught on video at the GOP convention admitting that students in MT are doing well under Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer. In the very speech I mentioned above, Sandy Welch, the GOP’s candidate for OPI, even supports continuing Supt. Juneau’s work on the popular Graduation Matters Montana initiative. She also expressed support for Juneau’s Montana Digital Academy, which allows students to take additional or advance placement classes online and remotely via live video.
Here’s a clip of the speech:
After being forced to admit that things are going well under Juneau’s watch, it seems the only thing Welch has to add is a defense of the Montana Republican Party’s lack of women candidates. Sandy Welch insisted the MT GOP has nothing to be ashamed of because…wait for it…Jeanette Rankin and Judy Martz were Republicans. Never mind the fact that the GOP was so different back then that Rankin’s views would make her a Democrat today. Or that Judy Martz, who had no college degree herself, poo-pooed education and became the most unpopular Governor in Montana history. As Welch invoked the sacred name of Judy Martz, loud cheers erupted from the crowd of GOP faithful.
To build a stronger economy and attract more good-paying jobs in Montana, we need to make sure all of our children have the education and skills to compete. By this standard, neither Hill nor Welch make the cut.