A local perspective
When Marc E. Hull announced he was stepping down as Vermont's state schools chief, he was besieged by job offers, including college faculty assignments and state posts.
Instead, he has accepted a position as the director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the Barre City and Barre Town schools in Vermont, two separate districts under the 3,080-student Barre Supervisory Union near his family's hometown of Cabot.
The 56-year-old commissioner of education is resigning next month because of a nagging inner-ear problem that has required surgery three times in recent months. Mr. Hull said he chose the position in Barre because he wanted to work in a high-poverty district that faces many challenges.
"If I'm really committed to improving student learning, I said, let's go to the places where they have the biggest struggles," he said. That way, he added, he'll get a chance to see how the policies he's put in place during his three-year term actually affect local districts.
Lt. Gov. Joe Rogers of Colorado, a Republican, wants school choice proponents to drop their "high-minded rhetoric" in talks with inner-city parents.
Instead, Mr. Rogers, who is African-American and grew up in Denver, argues that vouchers should be promoted as a tool for economic empowerment. Revenue from publicly financed vouchers, he says, would motivate local churches to open schools and, in turn, bring new revenue to beleaguered cities. "I don't care where they go to school, as long as they go to school," Mr. Rogers said of inner-city children. "Let the money follow the kids. That's it."
Mr. Rogers, a father of three, delivered the message at a July 15 forum in Washington hosted by the Center for Education Reform, a school choice advocacy group.
Before his election last November, Mr. Rogers was the Denver lawyer who represented 100 parents who tried unsuccessfully to sue the city school system, claiming that it had failed to teach even the most basic academic skills.
"If you can connect this to an economic agenda, you'll find a more fruitful ground," Mr. Rogers said.
--Joetta L. Sack & Robert C. Johnston
Vol. 18, Issue 43, Page 22