News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Mass. Governor Tapped for Ambassador Post
Gov. Paul Cellucci of Massachusetts last week accepted President Bush's nomination to become the U.S. ambassador to Canada. The nomination requires the approval of the U.S. Senate.
Subject to confirmation by the state legislature, Lt. Gov. Jane M. Swift would serve out the two-year remainder of Mr. Cellucci's term if he takes up the diplomatic post.
Mr. Cellucci, a Republican, was himself lieutenant governor in 1997 when then-Gov. William F. Weld resigned following his ill-fated nomination to be ambassador to Mexico.
As governor, Mr. Cellucci has steadfastly defended the state's standards- based assessment system against opposition from teachers' unions and other critics.
He also pushed for a change in state policy, approved by the state board of education last spring, to test the skills of secondary-level mathematics teachers if many of their students fail to pass state tests.
Ms. Swift, who is also a Republican, has been leading the Cellucci administration's efforts to raise student performance on the state tests since last summer. Her high-profile role in promoting the administration's education agenda has prompted some in the state to refer to her the state's "education czar."
Last year, Ms. Swift was the subject of probe by a state ethics commission that, among other issues, examined her use of staff members to babysit her young daughter. Ultimately, she was rebuked on only one charge related to babysitting. Ms. Swift is currently pregnant with twins.
—Jessica L. Sandham
Kentucky Extends Takeover of Floyd County District
The Kentucky Department of Education will stay in charge of the Floyd County public schools for another three years.
The state board of education voted to renew the 3-year-old takeover measure that has Woodrow Carter, a state- appointed administrator, overseeing every aspect of the 7,100-student district in the eastern part of the state.
Over the course of the past three years, the state takeover team has improved the management and finances of the district, said Lisa Y. Gross, a spokeswoman for the education department. The team is now focusing on improving the district's curriculum and instruction, she said.
The Floyd County district is the only Kentucky school district managed by the state.
—David J. Hoff
Vol. 20, Issue 23, Page 13