San Francisco State UniversityWeb A-ZFind it FastCalendarNeed help?News

SFSU faculty experts available to comment on California special election



Matt Itelson
SFSU Office of Public Affairs & Publications
(415) 338-1743
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Faculty expertise includes rhetoric, politics, redistricting, teacher tenure

SAN FRANCISCO, July 14, 2005 -- San Francisco State University offers several political experts who can provide analysis of the special election in California scheduled for Nov. 8. See below for SFSU faculty experts who are available to offer their perspectives on various aspects of the election.

For additional assistance locating an expert, contact the SFSU Office of Public Affairs and Publications at (415) 338-1665 or or visit:

Corey Cook, assistant professor of political science, is an expert on California politics and government, urban politics and comparative state politics. He can be reached at (415) 405-2471 (office), (510) 336-0978 (home), or

"Clearly, when you change the way districts are drawn, you change the composition of the electorate, and perhaps alter the partisan balance of the state Legislature. It is unclear, however, who would benefit from this," Cook said. "The assumption is that more moderates will be elected -- indeed this is Arnold's assumption. But given the geopolitical divisions of the state, that is not a given.

"At the least, it will certainly affect current incumbents who might find themselves thrown into competition with one another -- something that would make the legislature less likely to compromise, not more -- and would probably impact the racial, ethnic, linguistic and gender diversity of the institution."

Mark Phillips, professor of secondary education and director of school relations and educational outreach, can discuss Proposition 74, the teacher-tenure initiative. Phillips is a proponent of keeping tenure, but also improving teacher evaluation and training for beginning teachers and instituting post-tenure review and merit pay. He can be reached at (415) 338-3464 (office), (415) 205-5990 (home), or

"Teacher organizations have not promoted post-tenure review and merit pay, possibly because they fear that the processes will be tied to test results and controlled by state legislators. Yet, if properly done, I think it's the best solution to the dilemma," Phillips said. "Teachers who are evaluated highly should receive merit pay. Those who are not should be given additional training to increase their effectiveness. If after such training peer reviewers still assess a teacher to be ineffective, that teacher should be counseled to seek another profession.

"Teachers have a major responsibility to advocate and develop this process. If they don't, there will be increasing pressure from the outside to eliminate tenure, however destructive that might be. If they do, they will raise both the level of the profession and the level of public confidence in teachers."

Joseph Tuman, professor of speech and communication studies, is an expert on political debate, campaign rhetoric and political communication. He can be reached at (415) 338-1813 (office), (510) 834-2294 (home), or (510) 326-5254 (mobile). Tuman is available only for interviews with print and online media.

"The problem Gov. Schwarzenegger faces in the short term is that he has failed thus far to explain and articulate for voters how these particular initiatives are linked to what he sees as his mandate for meaningful reform in government," Tuman said. "Equally problematic for the governor is the presence of such ballot issues as parental notification for abortion. Notification is not the same thing as consent -- and opinions about parental involvement in a teenage pregnancy are explosively polarizing. It can even divide the pro-choice camp.

"This might be the issue that brings more voters to the ballot box -- but this is not the governor's particular initiative for reform. He may be forced to take a position on this issue -- and if he does, he may split his voting bloc apart."


San Francisco State University Home     Search     Need Help?    

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132  415/338-1111
Last modified April 20, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications