'Staying the course'
Former Virginia Gov. George F. Allen has no reservations about the controversial school accountability system he helped implement as the state's chief executive from 1994 to 1998.
In a March 8 speech at the National Press Club in Washington, Mr. Allen said the 97 percent failure rate for schools on the first round of state tests last year was a wake-up call.
"It's understandable when you realize most schools were not teaching social studies or history," he said. Mr. Allen, a Republican who lives in Richmond, Va., gave his successor, Gov. James S. Gilmore III, also a Republican, an "A-plus" on education policy.
"The one area that gives me more satisfaction is that he's staying the course on education," said the former governor, who is now a distinguished fellow with the National Center for Policy, a private, nonprofit research institute in Dallas. "Don't let people think that, because the governor changes, everything else will change."
A hands-on governor on education, Mr. Allen said he would take a different approach if, as widely expected, he decides to run for the U.S. Senate next year. "The federal role can be important, but it must be one that is supportive," he said. "Federal government should not be a puppeteer or not mandating."
On the fast track
When the 2002 Winter Olympics come to Salt Lake City, Utah Gov. Michael O. Leavitt may want to take a turn on the bobsled track.
Earlier this month, Mr. Leavitt was one of the celebrity participants in a special bobsled race sponsored by the the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Games. The competition featured sleds built by students in four Salt Lake City-area schools.
The Republican governor got on board with the bobsled plan in September, when he challenged Utah high schools to build the best bobsled and said he would ride in it. Four high schools--Ben Lomond, Roy, South Summit, and Granite--took him up on the challenge.
The winner of the "celebrity race" was local bobsledding sponsor Mote Mounga, who was in the Roy High School sled.
--Robert C. Johnston & Candice Furlan
Vol. 18, Issue 27, Page 22