John Blair for SPI, 2016

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Russell and the Candidate (right) :: Russelland the Candidate (right)

John Blair is the only SPI candidate to support Charter Schools
 “…  he supports all opportunities for more school choice.”

I am looking for a few good men and women with an
interest in open source interactive mapping and database simulation
design; and who would also be interested in changing the world.
read my invitation!

(see voter Q & A at bottom of this page)


John Patterson Blair for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington State

A New Foundation: Individualized Public Education

I believe that all children are unique individuals and that every family should
have the opportunity to individualize their children’s public education.

Therefore, I propose a new foundation for public education, (of which the existing public schools would be an unchanged part).

This new foundation would consist of:

Individual Student Trust Accounts – funded annually using each student’s existing $10,000+ state education voucher. With approval, each student’s parents may spend these accumulating funds at any Registered Public Education Program(s) of their choice.

Registered Public Education Programs – defined as, any educational program, regardless of ownership, which:

1) accepts only trust funds as tuition, i.e.”free”;
2) fills at least 80% of its openings without admission qualification, i.e.“open enrollment”;
3) permits the study, but not the practice, of religion;
4) and publishes measurable educational and behavioral goals for its students.

Students not achieving these goals may be dismissed by the program.

Neighborhood Education Districts – administered by three locally elected trustees, will oversee the educational progress of 50 to 200 participating neighborhood students. The trustees must approve parental education choices for students passing applicable WASL tests.

Community Facility Districts – locally elected, will own, operate and maintain all public facilities. Life-cycle maintenance funds will be included in the original bond funding.

If you agree, vote for John Blair.


John welcomes your questions, please put them in the comments for the page you are reading.

Media questions and candidate answers — Scroll down through posts.

Please share this campaign on Facebook or other web resources. Some quick sharing buttons at bottom of pages.

** If you see ads on some pages … **




  1. you just got my vote

    Comment by Joshua P — July 19, 2012 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  2. Count Me In!

    Comment by Wylie clark — July 22, 2012 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  3. What are your views on homeschooling laws – if peple choose not to participate at all?

    Comment by ME — July 22, 2012 @ 11:59 pm | Reply

    • ME, please see John Blair’s reply to comment #7 for Colleen Smith. Thanks.

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 5, 2012 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  4. You got my vote. Thanks for having a real plan of action on your website. I agree with your philosophy, competition is the only way to turn our school system around.

    Comment by Ambrea — July 24, 2012 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  5. I like the plan, but why exclude Catholic and other private religious schools?

    Comment by T. B. — July 31, 2012 @ 9:52 am | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      Hi T.B.

      A school would be excluded if it required a student to say in effect ” I believe…”. Devotional activities are statements of belief and I don’t believe appropriate (or probably legal) in a public school (financed by taxes). As important, from my point of view, is the open enrollment nature of this proposal. For me this is a question of access. A child should not be prevented from attending a school, a program or a class that they would otherwise wish to attend because they would be in any way expected to make a statement of belief that they did not believe.

      Of course this is only an issue for families who take their religion seriously or who are trying to teach their children the importance of honesty.

      The teaching about religion is fine, and I personally think is an essential part of an education, but the practice of religion is supremely personal and should not be interferred with.

      As an example, I would say memorizing the Christian Lord’s Prayer (whatever version the program happens to be studying at that time) and reciting it publicly is part of a study about a religion. The second time you are required to recite it, it can be construed as devotion and would not be allowed if the program wants access to a tax-funded program. A Registered Public Program could be a Catholic school. It just could not allow any organised devotional activity.

      I hope this makes sense, if not please don’t hesitate to ask specific questions. This is a difficult issue and questions help me clarify it in my own mind. jb

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 5, 2012 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

      • What if people want their kids being taught faith in school? It seems to me that it is unfair that they would essentially be excluded from this program. The most fair and best system would be one open to ALL faiths so that everyone could attend the school they want. Otherwise people who do put their kids into Catholic schools suffer as they do now, paying taxes to support everyone else’s free education while forking over a good amount of money to put their kids into superior schools.

        Thank you for the thoughtful response.

        Comment by T. B. — August 5, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

      • John Blair responds …

        As I see this proposal you could have “Catholic” schools. A Catholic school could be a registered public education program as long as it conducted no devotional activities. I attended a Friends school for my last 3 years of high school. We had religion classes in which we studied the bible and various religions. This would still be allowed. There was a lot of talk in the school about peace and justice and “that of God in every man”. I was never expected to say I agree with any of it (at that time I did not). I think that should be allowed. But we were also required to attend a meeting for worship every Thursday at 10:30 for one half hour. That would cost the school its Registered Public Education Program status. jb

        Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 6, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  6. How can you not permit the practice of religion? Isn’t that unconstitutional? What is the basis of your study-but-non-practice philosophy? Do you find religiousness to be archaic? Have you read anything by the famous British poet, journalist, historian, novelist, lecturer and playwright, G.K. Chesterton?

    Comment by Cece Meyers — July 31, 2012 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      Hi Cece

      The practice of religion, in this case, would only be prohibited in the context of a tax-supported Registered Public Education Program. If we can ignore the legal issues, for me the main issue is one of access. As I said in my response to T.B.

      “A child should not be prevented from attending a school, a program or a class that they would otherwise wish to attend because they would be in any way expected to make a statement of belief that they did not believe.”

      Please see the whole response to T.B.

      I have read Chesterton, although I could not tell you what. One of my favorite quotes is either from him or Lord Chesterfield (probably Chesterfield). “A gentleman never hurts anyone unnecessarily.” If you know the provenance please let me know. I didn’t like it when I first heard it, ’cause I thought a gentleman should never hurt anyone. I was a lot younger then. jb

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 5, 2012 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

  7. What about home schools?

    Comment by Colleen Smith — August 3, 2012 @ 9:31 am | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      Hi Colleen,

      The opening line of my voters pamphlet statement (website version):

      “I believe that all children are unique individuals and that every family should have the opportunity to individualize their children’s public education.”

      … addresses your question. I am in complete support of Home Education, or schooling if you prefer. My proposal would not change anything in the existing system, so home schooling rules would remain the same. My proposal would give anyone who utilized their trust account significantly more resourses than they currently have, although they would probably have to take whatever state tests were being used in the rest of the system. (That would depend on whether their Neighborhood Education District would require everyone to take the tests.) If a home schooling family chose not access their children’s trust accounts, each child’s annual deposit would still be made and would accumulate, year after year. By eighteen a student would have well over $100,000. This could probably be used for continuing education at whatever school/program met the existing standards for a Registered Public Education Program at that time.

      My candidacy is a referendum. If you believe any of the other candidates will meaningfully improve education in our state you should vote for them. If you think we should begin to ask some fundamental questions about what we are trying to do and how should we do it, please give my proposal your support. Thanks for your interest. jb

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 4, 2012 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

  8. Mr. Blair,

    Some of us have been discussing your candidacy on our local blog and the subject of business experience has come up. I myself believe that we need to have people in charge that have a fair amount of business management experience to bring to the table and it was mentioned that you are one of the only candidates that has such experience. Would you mind expounding on your business experience for us?



    Comment by Cliff Howard — August 3, 2012 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      Hi Cliff,

      I’ve been self-employed for over thirty years. At various times I have had up to 8 employees. I’ve worked alone for the last 15 years and I enjoy working that way. I was a public high school science teacher (M.Ed Science Education) but my BA is in Sociology. I am a student of organization. I am probably one of a handful of people who read Peter Drucker’s 800+ page Management: Tasks, Responsiblities and Practices for no other reason than I wanted the knowledge. Having said all that I do not like manageing a business. I own a job, not a business. To effectively run an organization the most important thing you have to do is to say “No”. My inclination is to say yes, – how can we both get out of this what each of us wants? I believe facilitation of others is essential in teaching but it can be the fast lane to bankruptcy in business. I know single-minded focus, and not wasting resourses on non-essentials is the bedrock of any organization, I can do it but it’s not me.

      My candidency is a referendum. My experience, knowledge and interest in management, education and politics is embodied in my proposal. If you believe any of the other candidates will meaningfully improve education in our state you should vote for them. If you think we should begin to ask some fundamental questions about what we are trying to do and how we should do it, please give my proposal of specific actions your consideration and hopefully your vote.

      My next interest is in developing a simulation of this program (see my website The actions I’ve proposed will require legislative approval. The Superintendent of Public Instruction could enact none of it, although he could fund the simulation.

      Thanks for your interest. I’m happy to hear that people are talking about this election and the issues that we both care about. jb

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 5, 2012 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  9. what do you think about passing children to the next grade, when they clearly should not be advancing, because they have not learned the course materials?

    Comment by Marsetta — August 6, 2012 @ 2:02 am | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      I’m opposed to it. The structure of the system is too rigid.

      Chronological age, which more or less controls class placement, does not often correlate closely with social, emotional, academic, physical or psychological age. Multi-age classrooms should be more available for parents to choose. jb.

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 6, 2012 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  10. I also want to know your thoughts on students getting a firm education of the founding documents of this country. By this I mean, the U.S. constitution and the declaration of independence.

    Comment by Marsetta — August 6, 2012 @ 2:10 am | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      I’m very much in favor of that. In ninth grade we had civics. Our teacher was rumored to have been a retired Coast Guard admiral, so we called him General Jimmy. We memorized the beginning of a number of documents. I still remember him having to stop to compose himself when reciting the opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence to us for the first time. It was very important to him. — jb

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 6, 2012 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

  11. How do you plan on making sure that the rules are obeyed for the various avenues of education that you advocate for.

    Comment by Mars — August 6, 2012 @ 8:26 am | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      The three trustees in each Neighborhood Education District would be responsible for supervising the education of 50 to 150 students and for approving all dispersements to Registered Public Education Programs from each student’s Individual Student Trust Account. jb

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 6, 2012 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

  12. What would happen to the funds in the trust accounts of those students attending private schools charging tuition? Would they be able to access the accumulated money at age 18 similar to home school students?

    Comment by Wyatt — August 6, 2012 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

    • John Blair responds …

      Yes. jb

      Comment by FreeRangeAuthor — August 6, 2012 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

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