January 15, 2005: Headlines: COS - Swaziland: Education: Hispanic Issues: Daily Breeze: A bloc of mostly Latinos opposed Reed Hastings because under his leadership the board ramrodded through policies limiting bilingual education

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Swaziland: Special Report: RPCV Reed Hastings: Reed Hastings: Archived Stories: January 15, 2005: Headlines: COS - Swaziland: Education: Hispanic Issues: Daily Breeze: A bloc of mostly Latinos opposed Reed Hastings because under his leadership the board ramrodded through policies limiting bilingual education

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A bloc of mostly Latinos opposed Reed Hastings because under his leadership the board ramrodded through policies limiting bilingual education

A bloc of mostly Latinos opposed Reed Hastings because under his leadership the board ramrodded through policies limiting bilingual education

A bloc of mostly Latinos opposed Reed Hastings because under his leadership the board ramrodded through policies limiting bilingual education

Bowen blocks Schwarzenegger nominee with abstention
South Bay senator hits governor's choice to head education board over his stand on bilingual training.
By Michael Gardner
Copley News Service

SACRAMENTO -- South Bay Sen. Debra Bowen on Thursday defended her decision not to confirm the popular chairman of the state Board of Education, who had bipartisan support but had come under fire from Latinos for his positions on bilingual education.

Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, wound up the swing vote in blocking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's nomination of Reed Hastings from advancing to the full Senate.

Hastings had been praised for his dedication to charter schools and leadership in making it easier to secure campus construction funding.

"I admire him for the things he's done," said Bowen, who was just appointed to the powerful committee this year. "He has his great points and his failings."

Bowen said she aligned with a bloc of mostly Latinos opposed to Hastings because under his leadership the board ramrodded through policies limiting bilingual education.

"Some of the problems Mr. Hastings had were actually of his own making," Bowen said.

The rejection drew sharp rebukes from Margita Thompson, a spokeswoman for the governor, and Republicans.

"It's always unfortunate when political litmus tests are put before what is the best interest of our children," Thompson said.

"What signal do you send to parents and children when a qualified and well-respected community leader like Reed Hastings is sacrificed to advocates of a narrowly focused agenda who wield power in Sacramento?" she continued.

"Ultimately, it is the children who suffer when special interest politics supersede good public policy," Thompson concluded.

Hastings, a wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur and founder of the mail-order DVD rental company Netflix, was first nominated by former Gov. Gray Davis in 2000. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, renominated Hastings last year.

Hastings built a reputation as a champion of charter schools and led the campaign to lower the threshold for approving school construction bonds. He was endorsed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, a Democrat.

But Hastings drew fire from Latinos for pushing English-language reading requirements, which were later overturned by the courts and legislation.

Bowen, whose abstention left the committee deadlocked at 2-2, said she was swayed by arguments that Hastings aggressively moved the bilingual policies without notifying parents.

"It was done in a way that didn't even give people the right to make their views known," she said.

Also, the board's bilingual policies under Hastings exceeded its authority and were later overturned by the courts, she noted.

Sen. Roy Ashburn, a Bakersfield Republican who voted for Hastings, said "there was no reason to deny him."

Ashburn said the fight was really over bilingual education and a test of the muscle of Latino Democrats.

"It became very obvious that the opposition is about bilingual education and those who want the Spanish-speaking children to continue to be trapped in a failed system," Ashburn said.

Bowen said Democrats gave Schwarzenegger and Hastings time to rework policies and compromise to save his appointment.

Hastings' nomination was doomed even if she had supported him, Bowen said, because he was not likely to garner the two-thirds vote required for confirmation by the full Senate.

"Numerically, there was no way for Mr. Hastings to get confirmed," she said. "Putting it out of the Rules Committee would have resulted in nothing more than a drill on the floor."

But Ashburn said Hastings deserved a vote on the Senate floor, which would put each senator on the record.

The rejection may come back to haunt Democrats. Hastings was a major contributor to Democrats and their causes. Schwarzenegger also can now offer a more conservative nominee.





When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Daily Breeze

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Swaziland; Education; Hispanic Issues

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