What could Montana’s schools expect from Elaine Sollie Herman as Superintendent of Public Schools? For one thing, support for Ed Butcher’s education agenda. In 2005, Representative Butcher introduced HB 314, which limited the definition of basic education to “reading, writing, and arithmetic.”
While the bill was widely derided by educational professionals, only one person came forward to speak in favor of the bill, Elaine Sollie Herman:
Butcher’s bill drew a single supporter Tuesday. Elaine Sollie Herman of the Montana Eagle Forum, a conservative lobbying group, said Butcher’s bill achieves their goal of local control of schools.
Just how bad was the bill? Its sponsor, the inimitable Ed Butcher said that it would allow local school boards to turn away students with disabilities:
REP. RASER stated that she is concerned with the language regarding children with disabilities. She asked, "Can local school boards turn away children because they cannot afford services for disabilities?"
REP. BUTCHER stated that they can in fact do this if they cannot afford to provide for students with disabilities.
REP. RASER expressed concern about providing needs for special needs and how this affects those children without special needs.
REP. BUTCHER stated that life isn’t fair. He added that most parents wouldn’t want to keep a child at a school that is unable to provide for them. It is hard to accommodate everyone.
It seems like it might be a bad idea to select a head of Montana’s schools who testified on behalf of a law that not only violates federal law, but human decency.