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GOP Candidate for Kentucky Governor Attacks Reform Law

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Kentucky's gubernatorial campaign took an unexpected twist last week when Republican candidate Larry Forgy, a Lexington lawyer viewed by many education groups as a moderate, launched an attack on the state's 1990 reform law.

His remarks were made during a debate at a Louisville elementary school where Mr. Forgy and Lt. Gov. Paul Patton, the Democratic nominee, discussed education issues.

Mr. Forgy, who has been active in earlier school-improvement efforts, said the reform program resulted from anger over a court loss and was passed by "a group of arrogant legislators who closeted themselves in a hotel on weekends in Frankfort with one or two people that they imported in here from out of state."

The 1990 law was the result of a unanimous decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court that nullified all of the state's education laws.

The legislature held a series of hearings and meetings before passing the law with the input of scores of consultants and educators from inside and outside the state and with the backing of citizens' groups and business leaders.

Mr. Forgy added that he would like to see the state drop its open-ended student-assessment system and its use of portfolios to evaluate students.

Mr. Patton has called for a thorough review of the state's education-reform programs, but once again declared his general support last week. "I know one thing for certain: What we were doing wasn't good enough," Mr. Patton said at the forum.

From the beginning, analysts have said the Nov. 7 election would be close, as Mr. Forgy is mounting a formidable campaign in a state with a long line of Democratic governors.

--Lonnie Harp

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