By Matt B. Walen
The executive director of the Montana School Board Association wants to improve the states quality schools by becoming the next superintendent of public instruction in 2000.
Bob Anderson, a Republican candidate running for the highest office dealing with K-12 issues, said Montanas good schools still have room for improvement.
Good is not good enough when there is room for improvement, he said during a recent campaign stop in Havre. Our students scores can be higher.
Improving student achievement has to be our highest consideration.
Anderson is the lone Republican candidate in the race. Three Democrats have filed including Gail Gray of Helena, Mike Schwinden of Great Falls and Rep. Linda McCulloch of Missoula.
Anderson, who started his education career as a teacher in the Bigfork school district, said his goal as superintendent would be to make Montanas schools a better place for students to learn and a teachers to teach.
Declining enrollment is a major issue facing the eastern schools, Anderson said. But even though the enrollments are dropping, the facilities in this part of the state need to be maintained, he said. Facilities in rural schools are also declining, he said.
Students and teachers need these facilities to guarantee that solid educational opportunities will be available for Montanas youth, Anderson said.
Education cant deliver itself, he said.
Anderson said he is also a big believer in allowing the local school boards to have more control.
The state office should be more of a service department and not get in the way of the local school boards, he said.
Anderson, who resides in Helena, has been the Montana School Boards Associations chief executive for the past 14 years during which the non-profit corporation tripled its size. The association has become one of the most influential educational advocacies in the state under his leadership.
Anderson was hired by Superintendent Ed Argenbright in 1983 to serve as assistant superintendent for the Office of Public Instruction, a position he held for three and a half years.
Anderson served in the Montana House of Representatives from Flathead County in the 1980s. He served as the vice-chairman of the education and cultural affairs committee during his tenure in the Legislature.