Column One: Teachers

October 09, 1991 2 min read

James B. Hunt Jr., the former North Carolina governor who chairs the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, took a campaignlike swing through the state last month and told Democratic audiences that he plans to run for governor next year.

Mr. Hunt, who served as governor from 1977-85, has not formally declared himself a candidate. But on his “listening and learning tour,” he promised he would mount a “crusade for public education” if elected in 1992.

During his previous terms, Mr. Hunt won national acclaim for his emphasis on improving the state’s schools. North Carolina’s ailing economy has forced legislators to scale back some education programs, however, despite continuing concern over the state’s low national rankings on Scholastic Aptitude Test scores.

If Mr. Hunt reclaims the governor’s office, he could continue to chair the national board if he chose to shoulder both jobs.

James A. Kelly, the president of the national board, noted that Mr. Hunt has “always been a busy man,” but had never missed a board meeting.

“He is passionately committed to the work of this board,” Mr. Kelly said.

More than half of the 13,000 elementary teachers in Chicago who responded to a survey about their opinions on school reform said it has had no effect on their classroom practices.

In addition, fewer than half of the teachers said that their instructional methods will change as a result of the improvement plans that were drafted for each school by the councils that now govern them.

But two-thirds of the teachers said they thought the improvement plans would nevertheless have a positive effect on their schools.

The size of their school was found to be the most important factor in determining how teachers felt about the effectiveness of school reform, with teachers in small schools expressing the most positive views.

Teachers in more than 75 percent of the schools said they were “highly positive” (16 percent) or “somewhat positive” (60 percent) about school reform.

The 62 schools where teachers were most upbeat were scattered throughout the city.

Advocates said they were heartened at the emergence of a core group of successful schools that could serve as examples for other schools struggling to improve. They noted that the long-term strategy for reform had envisioned that such schools would develop.

The survey was carried out by five organizations under the umbrella of the Consortium on Chicago School Research.--A .B.

A version of this article appeared in the October 09, 1991 edition of Education Week as Column One: Teachers