Fort Totten Teacher May Challenge Baesler For Superintendent Seat


Earlier today reporter Mike Nowtazki mentioned that Joseph Chiang, a teacher at 4 Winds High School in Fort Totten, was considering a run for state Superintendent.

“In a phone interview Tuesday, Chiang said ‘there is something being discussed’ but it’s informal at this point,” Nowtazki reported.

I can report that it’s a little more than informal.

It seems Chiang is more in than not, and is at least somewhat interested in running as a Republican (the position is officially non-partisan but the parties endorse candidates anyway). He has emailed at least one NDGOP district chair requesting time to speak at that district’s local convention.

“I have been convinced to run for State Superintendent,” Chiang wrote in an email to Delores Rath, chairwoman of District 12 in Jamestown, adding that he’d like to collect petition signatures for his candidacy there.

I spoke with Chiang this evening.

“It’s unofficial and exploratory at the moment rather than a full formal,” he told me. “I did ask a district chair about speaking there, and I’m thinking about making that the kick off if everything doesn’t implode in the mean time. I don’t want to end up with a great big splash of negative as far as press goes.”

I asked him for some general comments about why he’s interested in running. “The idea would be to fix education. The DPI announced that the State of North Dakota has a 40 – 46 percent proficiency rate,” he told me. “That means six out of ten of our students cannot read, write and do math at a proficient level. I think that should be nine out of ten who are proficient.”

Back on January 8 the Pierce County Tribune in Rugby published a letter to the editor from Chiang in which he shared some of his thoughts on education. An excerpt:

The problems with education are layered through modern history. The top layer is the socialist and communist interest in destroying the USA and Capitalism. Back in the 1920-1980s was the big communist and socialist growth. Nationally these were exemplified by Russia, Italy and Germany. FDR was a BIG proponent of socialism as practiced in Italy and Germany despite the war. Many of their socialist ideas are built into our progressive programs like Social Security and currently ObamaCare.

However what is special about the USA is capitalism and its promotion of self reliance. What makes capitalism work is education to know HOW to be self reliant, the reason our Founding Fathers insisted on an educated citizenry. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is the key to understanding and innovation. It is new innovations that drive our capitalistic system. So destroy education, specifically the mechanism to communicate (language arts) and the next generation will not be able to learn on their own, through their own reading and studying, but will have to rely on what they are told. Our great history that explains this is being compromised this way. Educators are now stopping the teaching of reading and writing in cursive. The result will be the inability for student personal research of original documents, all written in cursive. Knowledge of and doing primary research is a history standard that will have to be dropped when students can no longer read or write cursive. Therefore, students will have to rely on whatever the liberal instructors say the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and The Bill of rights, say.

I told Chiang that he must be interested in running as a Republican, since he contacted a Republican party official to address a Republican district convention, but he said wants to appeal to more than any one party. “My feeling is that I think that everybody, no matter what your political affiliation might be, would like to see education fixed,” he said. “Therefore would I like the GOP endorsement, yes. I would like the Democratic endorsement.”

It’s hard to imagine Democrats endorsing a Superintendent candidate with the views Chiang expressed in that Tribune letter.

“I am interested in running but I need to know if people would be willing to back me,” Chiang told me. “That’s really kind of where I’m at at the moment.”

If Chiang seeks the NDGOP endorsement that would be three contested races for the party, the others being the auditor and gubernatorial races.

Meanwhile, Democrats have yet to announce a single statewide candidate, though they are assuring the media that they’ll have some. Eventually.