U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley made a mistake in naming Michigan Gov. John Engler to the National Assessment Governing Board, or so say Democratic members of the state's board of education.
The Republican governor was named last month to the independent, bipartisan panel that oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
"In your effort to embellish Mr. Engler's credentials ... you have bestowed upon this man education credentials of which he is plainly undeserving," the Democrats charged in a letter to Mr. Riley this month.
The letter was signed by Kathleen Straus, Barbara Roberts-Mason, Marianne McGuire, and Herbert Moyer. It points out that Mr. Engler has opposed new preschool funding and cut back on adult education aid.
The four GOP board members did not sign the letter.
The letter didn't sit well with Mr. Engler, who is up for re-election next fall. He has made school finance reform and accountability mainstays of his administration.
His office blamed the letter on election-year shenanigans. "This is a ridiculous piece of political bull," said John Truscott, Mr. Engler's spokesman.
And there may be some sour grapes over Mr. Engler's 1996 executive order shifting much of the board's power to the state schools superintendent. A lawsuit filed in response by the same four members who wrote the letter is pending.
Gov. Jim Geringer of Wyoming has agreed to address the members of this year's graduating class at Arvada-Clearmont High School in Clearmont--all four of them.
Three of the four seniors from the 104-student school made a trip to Cheyenne last month to speak at the Statehouse on a bill to crack down on drunk drivers.
During a tour of the governor's wing, the students bumped into Mr. Geringer and asked if he would give the address at their May 17 graduation.
The class got its answer last week when he agreed to come to the ceremony. "We were kind of surprised," said one of the seniors, Hilary Michelena, 17. "We thought maybe we were too low on the totem pole."
--ROBERT C. JOHNSTON & ADRIENNE D. COLES