Vote for Stan Olson: Idaho can turn struggling education system around

Crossposted on Daily Kos

With top Idaho educators telling why they’re voting for Dr. Stan Olson, in a new video, it is a good time to revisit an opinion piece Stan wrote a few weeks ago.

The educators in the video include Dr. Geoffrey M. Thomas, Superintendent, Madison County Schools, Rexburg; Nancy Larsen, 2000 Teacher of the Year, Coeur d’Alene; Robin Sly, 2009 Teacher of the Year, Boise; and Cindy Wilson, 2003 Milken Educator, Meridian.

Below are the aforementioned thoughts by Stan Olson. His ideas were very well received in media responses from readers across the state:

Forty-three years ago, as a freshman in college I ran for class president. Luckily, with a very rainy day and an exceptionally low turnout, I prevailed and was elected. This was the last time I ran for office. I am not a politician and have never wanted to be one, but I am running for this office because I believe that with the right kind of leadership in place, together we can transform public education in Idaho to become a national leader. If we do not have qualified, experienced, and focused leadership in place, our children, teachers, businesses and communities will suffer.

The last four years in public education have been a rudderless ship. We have lacked instructional and operational leadership from the state superintendent’s office. A real leader in this role must know how kids think, how teachers teach, and what it takes for school districts of all sizes and geographic locations to be successful. We need real, experienced educational leadership at the head of our state department. Without it, we will never accomplish our goals.

Through my 40-year career as an educator, I have had many experiences and learned many lessons from my successes and my mistakes. However, my tenure in the field has afforded me many valuable opportunities to learn and grow as an educator within public schools and as an administrator of public school systems. One of the lessons I have learned along the way is that a strategic plan involving all the stakeholders of our communities can do wonders for the direction of a school system.

I have facilitated these discussions many times during my career and I am running for the Office of State Superintendent because I believe that I am the right person to do this in our state. Idaho is a small population state giving us a tremendous opportunity to work together and create a plan for education that will serve the needs of our children and our communities.

If I am elected, I will be asking for your input and your involvement in shaping the future of Idaho’s public school systems. As I travel our state, I remind fellow Idahoans that this particular race involves the well being of children and their learning experience, nothing more.

I explain to them that the R and the D that will be present next to the names of candidates on the ballot hold no water in this particular race. This office has been politicized beyond belief over the last four years, and I can promise you that if I am elected, you will not see me standing behind some candidate for office touting their credibility. You will only see me working tirelessly to gather input from each and every person interested in moving education forward, working to improve the learning opportunities for our students.

Our state is struggling to provide and "maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public schools" as called on by the Idaho Constitution. Together, we can turn this situation around by electing leadership that is qualified and capable of leading our state education system, and supporting each of Idaho’s 115 school districts to become the best in our nation.


Dr. Stan Olson is a candidate for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction. Over the past 40 years, he has served the education field as a teacher, principal, adjunct professor, educational consultant and school district superintendent. He recently retired as the superintendent of the Boise School District after almost a decade of service.

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Reprinted with permission of the author.

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There's much to report

on this race. Vandersloot is challenging copyright law to run an attack ad against Olson. Legal action will ensue. No film at 11. But maybe I'll scan the cease and desist letter.

and a whole lot more to report

Excerpts from a facebook "notes" page:

Friends and fellow Idahoans, I am fired up. I just wrote a reply in response to a Daily Kos diary posted by another Idaho writer. I want to share it here ... and everywhere, in hopes that someone takes notice in the last 10 days before Election Day. I've added a bit more material ...

Here's the real story in the SSPI race, though: K12, the Virginia-based company that runs the Idaho Virtual Academy, dumped $25K into Tom Luna's campaign a few days ago. (Along with Melaleuca, K12 was also Luna's biggest benefactor in 2006.) Other than a post by Betsy Russell on EOB on Wednesday, it's going nowhere with the media.

Here's the link:

... Yet here's what really offends me: Every time I turn around, I see ads, billboards, direct mail, etc. from K12 - paid for with OUR tax dollars - pushing me to consider an online school for my kid. And guess who had the top banner ad when I hit the Kos home page a few minutes ago? "Classrooms are not for everyone," the K12 ad says. "Your teen has a better option." (I want to say, "Oh yeah? My kid attends the top academic high school in the state, you nimrods, so leave us the hell alone.")

Source: Quit using my tax dollars to sell me K-12

Melaleuca attack ad targets Olson

According to Betsy Russell, Melaleuca ... has launched a TV ad in southern Idaho that belittles Luna’s Democratic challenger, Stan Olson, with a digitally altered clip from an Idaho Public Television debate in which Olson said he’s always struggled with math.

Melaleuca sought permission from IPTV to use the copyright material a week in advance, and was specifically and firmly denied. Frank VanderSloot, Melaleuca chief, said he decided to go ahead with the ad anyway, and has hired copyright attorneys to battle over the issue with the state.

A Dangerous Practice

In the same Betsy Russell story linked above, Peter Morrill, IPTV general manager, said:

... "The station will “vigorously” defend its copyright, he said, just as do networks across the country that air televised political debates. Morrill said the digital manipulation of the clip includes putting portions in slow motion, digital zooming-in and a digital insertion of an out-of-date Idaho Public TV logo."

Elinor Chehey, debates coordinator for the League of Women Voters of Idaho, which co-sponsors the Idaho Debates, said:

“We do these as part of our voter-education effort, and not to provide fodder for campaigns to do mischief with. … It’s been a safe place for candidates to participate.”

If debate clips can be used in campaign attack ads, she said, it “just gives more candidates an excuse to stay away.”

In addition

a Boise law firm acting on behalf of the Stan Olson campaign has issued a demand letter to at least one proposed media outlet, KBCI, that they should not be a party to the ads distribution and "immediately cease airing it" on the grounds that it is "false, misleading, and deceptive and violates copyright law".

As we at 43sb are aware, Vandersloot will throw massive amounts of his vast fortune to buy elections and influence and/or intimidate the legal process. It will probably be much more effective to go straight to the media outlets if justice is to be obtained.

Vandersloot refused to take the ad off the air.