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Several State School Chiefs On Clinton Campaign Trail

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Several of the 16 state education chiefs who endorsed Gov. Bill Clinton two weeks ago have hit the campaign trail to stump for the Democratic nominee for President.

Herbert Grover, the superintendent of the Wisconsin Department of Public Education, took last week off to campaign for Mr. Clinton.

And Sandy Garrett, the superintendent of public instruction in Oklahoma, said she plans to speak out on behalf of the Arkansas Governor in interviews and in visits around the state over the next few weeks.

She is also participating in a national women's caucus that is advising Mr. Clinton on women's issues.

In Georgia, Superintendent Werner Rogers's wife, Judi, who is a high school principal, is serving as host for a reception this week in Atlanta for Mr. Clinton's wife, Hillary. Mr. Rogers also held a news conference to announce his support for the candidate.

"We're lending our name and our position to the support for the Clinton-Gore campaign in Georgia,'' Mr. Rogers said. "And certainly we tried to do that nationally with the release the other day.''

Mr. Rogers was one of a handful of superintendents at a news conference in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 29 held to present Ms. Clinton with the signatures of 16 superintendents who endorsed her husband.

Mr. Grover, the immediate past president of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Superintendent Wayne Teague, who has served as Alabama's state chief since 1975, longer than any of his other state counterparts, organized the unprecedented show of support during the chiefs' annual meeting in St. Louis this past summer.

The chiefs cited numerous reasons for their endorsement, including Mr. Clinton's support of the 1983 Quality Education Act in Arkansas, his emphasis on early-childhood education and school readiness, and his belief that "public education is the crucible of our nation's democracy.'' (See Education Week, Oct. 7, 1992.)

'Great Dissatisfaction'

Mr. Grover said that all but a few of the chiefs wanted to lend their support to the endorsement, but that legal, political, or other roadblocks prevented more of them from doing so.

"In spirit, there's great unanimity,'' he said. "Minus a handful, there's great dissatisfaction with how Washington has related to national systemic change.''

Mr. Grover, who has been elected to his nonpartisan post since 1981, has announced that he will not seek re-election, and declared that "I don't think we can be nonpartisan anymore.''

Not all of the superintendents who endorsed Mr. Clinton plan to campaign for him, but several said that they would do so if asked, and that they have expressed their support for the Clinton-Gore campaign when doing media interviews.

A spokeswoman for the ãŸãŸóŸóŸïŸ said the Washington-based organization does not endorse candidates, and added that endorsements from individual chiefs are not connected with the national organization.

She said she did not know if any chief has endorsed, or plans to endorse, President Bush.

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