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State Journal: Unrequired reading; Mothers and daughters

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Gov. Arch Moore of West Virginia has advised a group of teachers in Charleston that they might feel better about themselves and their state if they read less.

"There is an age of cynicism in West Virginia now, don't succumb to it," Mr. Moore exhorted participants at the second annual West Virginia Teachers Forum. "I'm an optimist. I don't even read The Wall Street Journal."

The Governor apparently was referring to a front-page article in the newspaper a few days earlier that said the state's economy was in "disrepair."

According to news accounts of the event, Mr. Moore's advice did not go over very well. Teachers reportedly berated him for the financial problems of West Virginia's teacher-retirement system and delays in sending out income-tax refunds.

"If my county superintendent doesn't balance his budget, he'd be held personally liable," one teacher told Mr. Moore. "You're sort of like the superintendent at the state level, Governor, and I'm looking for leadership."

"Well, you've got it," the Governor replied.

Mr. Moore, who is running for re-election this year, also noted that when his second term as Governor ended in 1977, 76 percent of the state's budget was devoted to education. By the time he had returned to office for a third term in 1985, the proportion had fallen to 56 percent.

"If we dropped the bomb on education, that's when it happened," he said.

Gov. Norman Bangerter of Utah recently asserted during a debate with his two opponents in next month's election that girls were to blame for the state's poor showing on standardized tests.

Noting that Utah students scored below the national average this year on the mathematics portion of the American College Testing Program, Mr. Bangerter said: "The girls pulled the score down."

"I'm serious about that," he said, as murmurs rippled through the audience. "Women, you've got to get your daughters to take more of these courses."

Later in the debate, the Republican Governor's Democratic opponent, Ted Wilson, promised that he would return the state to the halcyon days of former Gov. Calvin Rampton, when a group of state officials known as "Rampton's Raiders" traveled the country urging businesses to consider setting up shop in the state.

Saying he would do likewise if elected, the Democrat said, "Maybe we'll call them 'Wilson's Warriors."'

"We've got 'Bangerter's Bombers' out there working their tails off,'' the incumbent responded.


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