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State Journal: Wanted: Visionary leader and administrator; Bennett to the rescue

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Officials at the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Association of State Boards of Education agree that the turnover rate for state superintendencies in recent months has been the highest in memory. One example of the phenomenon: Jay Goldman, a spokesman for the ccsso, says he has updated the organization's roster "more times that I can count" since joining the group in July.

"It just seems to be one of those things," says Mr. Goldman. "A lot of people are making career decisions all at the same time."

Nine superintendencies have already changed hands due to either resignations or elections since September 1986. Four states--Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri--are currently reviewing applications for open positions. Louisiana and Vermont are expected to begin searches for new chiefs in coming weeks. And elections for new superintendents will be held in North Carolina and North Dakota next year.

The high turnover rate during the past year has apparently narrowed the field of candidates in those states still searching for chiefs.

In Michigan, the deadline for applications has been extended twice, but thus far only 53 people have applied for the post--about half the number who sought the job when it was last vacant in 1980.

Mr. Goldman of the ccsso also reports that the Colorado state board has asked his group to repeat its announcement of the opening on its computer bulletin board.


As a general rule, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett says he hits the campaign trail only for candidates for the U.S. Senate.

So what was he doing in North Bergen, N.J., last Wednesday at a political rally for State Assemblyman Frank J. Gargiulo, who is running for re-election this week?

Mr. Gargiulo, it turns out, was one of the co-sponsors of Gov. Thomas H. Kean's "academic bankruptcy" bill that was defeated in September following an intense lobbying campaign by the New Jersey Education Association.

The assemblyman was also the sponsor of a bill to provide vouchers to students that could be used for private-school tuition.

According to Loye Miller, Mr. Bennett's spokesman, Governor Kean called the Secretary and implored him to come to New Jersey to speak on Mr. Gargiulo's behalf.

The Governor noted that the assemblyman is one of several candidates targeted by the union, Mr. Miller said.--tm

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