Lone Dissenter

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 22, 2018

Dear Editor,
    Regarding your Austin ISD board Place 9 recommendation ["Chronicle Endorsements," Oct. 19]:
    I find it interesting that you've opted to ignore the endorsements of Education Austin (the teachers' union), the Greater Austin National Women's Political Caucus, and nearly 20 other local progressive endorsements (Austin Tejano Democrats, South Austin Democrats, University Democrats, Austin Progressive Coalition, and so many more) for Arati Singh in your own Place 9 endorsement.
    To put it simply: I'm sure the candidate you endorsed is a good person and a capable candidate. That said:
   – Mrs. Singh has served as an Austin ISD PTA president at a large Title I school. Mrs. Tilton has not.
   – Mrs. Singh has worked as a public school teacher in an underfunded area. Mrs. Tilton has not.
   – Mrs. Singh is a current Austin ISD parent of a high school and middle school student. Mrs. Tilton has not (yet) had a child attend Austin ISD. (She has a toddler, in fairness.)
   – Mrs. Singh has spent years working with the Texas PTA at the state level and with the vertical team (elementary to high school coordination) for Austin High School. Mrs. Tilton does not have this experience.
   – Mrs. Singh has experience designing and evaluating school curriculum. Mrs. Tilton has worked on this from a funding/policy standpoint only.
    Given all that, it's no wonder that every major progressive group in Austin backed Mrs. Singh – both are smart, capable public servants, but Mrs. Singh has much more relevant and rounded experience for the job. We're extremely lucky to have someone with empathy for teachers, parents, administrators, curriculum developers, and the PTA willing to take this job.
    To find the AC as the lone dissenter on this point is disappointing, and makes me feel that your focus on school funding (a critical topic, to be sure, and one I saw Mrs. Singh give a smart lecture about in our local school's cafeteria four years ago) was so narrow that the AC board didn't properly assess the larger picture here. Thanks for your continued advocacy for Texas progressives – but I'll be voting for Mrs. Singh.
All the best,
Tom Thornton
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