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Published in Print: October 1, 2004, as Unrealpolitik


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Campaign Bounce

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Return to the main story, “The States of NCLB”

Officials at Illinois School District U-46 in Elgin had better spend fast. House Speaker Dennis Hastert presented officials with a symbolic $722,943 federal check in July to enhance the district’s American history instruction, but a House subcommittee had voted to kill the program four days earlier. Hastert, a former history teacher whose congressional district includes Elgin, spent more than an hour at Harriet Gifford Elementary School talking to students and having his picture taken, but he never mentioned that the federal program may go bust. Then again, it might not. "The process for 2005 is just beginning," said Hastert spokesman John Feehery. He told the Associated Press that the program is "very popular with a lot of Republicans," so it might come back to life before the final budget is signed into law.

Humbling the Governator

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who boasted to the Legislature last July that "there is no one that can stop me. Anyone who pushes me around, I will push back," was stopped cold in his efforts to hold the line on a state loan to a school district. What turned the former action-movie star around was not a political action committee or missile-shooting alien but a couple of people who refused to eat. Cesar Cruz, 30, and Israel Haros-Lopez, 27, fasted on liquids for 25 days, much of it in a park next to the state Capitol, until Schwarzenegger agreed to refinance the loan to the West Contra Costa Unified School District, knocking the interest rate from 5.7 percent to 2 percent, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Teacher Versus Teacher

It’s axiomatic that nothing is certain in politics,but one thing is certain in the 91st District race for North Carolina state representative: The winner will be a history teacher from West Stokes High School. Both candidates, Republican Bryan Holloway and Democrat Robert Mitchell, share that job description, as well as many of the same campaign positions. The teachers are friends as well as colleagues, sometimes playing basketball and tennis after school. Each says he doesn’t plan to incorporate his candidacy into his civics lessons, but both are getting pressure from other educators to debate in front of students. "Obviously it’s a teachable moment," Stokes County Schools superintendent Larry Cartner told the Associated Press.

Vol. 16, Issue 02, Page 33

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