On the one hand, you hope he’s got a good copy of the original cast recording of “Man of La Mancha,” with the late Richard Kiley singing the importance of dreaming the impossible dream. On the other hand, you hope it’s not an impossible situation at all.
Mathematics Professor Lorenzo Sadun declared his candidacy for the Texas State Board of Education seat representing District 10. He’ll be running against incumbent Cynthia Dunbar in a district that has a history of electing people with little or no education background and a commitment to scorched Earth conservative policies — if Dunbar chooses to run again. Dunbar has not announced her intentions.
In the 2006 election, there was no Democratic nominee. Dunbar ran against a Libertarian and won approximately 70 percent of the vote. The 2010 primary election is scheduled for March, and Sadun declared last week that he will seek the Democratic nomination.
The Place 10 seat-holder may become very influential. With the board almost evenly split, a negative or positive vote can greatly affect educational policy and standards.
If Sadun is elected, he will be the only scientist on the board. He said that even though he may encounter opposition from members of the board, he will find a common ground with his colleagues and will pursue agreement without sacrificing the quality of education for Texas students.
“Despite my taking a fairly hard line, I am a conciliator,” Sadun said. “I have not met a person who knew so much I couldn’t teach them something, and I’ve never met someone who knew so little that they couldn’t teach me something.”
District 10 includes 14 counties surrounding Travis County to the east of the county, and the northern part of Travis County. Travis, home to the Texas state capital Austin and one of Texas’s five supercounties, was split in education board districts to limit the influence of its highly-educated, more liberal voter population.
- Dr. Rebecca Osborne, a teacher in the Roundrock ISD, has also announced her intention to run for the District 10 seat, as a Republican.
- Austin education activist Julie Cowan will run for the Republican nomination
- Judy Jennings will run for the Democratic nomination. She is Director of Assessment at Resources for Learning.
- Democratic Party activist Susan Shelton will also seek the Democratic nomination.
Events in District 10 offer a sign of hope that the era ended when apathy from candidates and voters allowe anti-public education forces to dominate the Texas State Board of Education. And if Sadun were to win, it would be the first time a working scientist was elected to SBOE.
Who knows? Sadun could succeed — but if he wins a seat on the SBOE, it’s not likely he’d sing that other song Richard Kiley made famous, “Stranger in Paradise.” He’s no stranger to quality education, and SBOE isn’t paradise.