Education

Federal File: Not his kind of town; ‘I would not feel so all alone - everybody must get stoned’

November 18, 1987 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

At a Nov. 6 education forum with reform-minded business leaders in Chicago, Secretary of Education William J. Bennett said that city’s school system is the worst in the nation.

“I’m not sure there’s a system as bad,” Mr. Bennett said in remarks reported by the Associated Press and confirmed by his spokesman, Loye W. Miller. “If there’s one that’s worse, I don’t know where it is.”

Mr. Bennett cited American College Testing Program results in which average scores at half of Chicago’s high schools ranked in the bottom 1 percent nationally. He added that he was “shocked” to learn that 46 percent of the city’s public-school teachers who live in the city send their children to private schools.

Mr. Bennett said giving parents vouchers that could be used for private-school tuition, a favorite Reagan Administration proposal, would cause the public schools to “shape up fast.”

The comments prompted an angry response from Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, who blamed some of the city’s problems on federal budget cuts and called Mr. Bennett “caretaker of the dismantling of education all over the country.”

Chicago school officials later added that their system struggles with a disproportionate number of disadvantaged and limited-English-proficient students, calling Mr. Bennett’s remarks “callous” and “unfair.”

The Secretary, who was in town for a literary awards ceremony, set up the forum on the spur of the moment, according to Mr. Miller, because he wanted to meet with the local media and had become interested in reform efforts in Chicago through news reports.

Senator Claiborne Pell, chairman of the Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities, was one of several politicians who confessed their own youthful dalliances with marijuana after the ill-fated U.S. Supreme Court nominee Douglas H. Ginsburg was excoriated for a similar admission.

The 68-year-old patrician Rhode Island Democrat told the Providence Journal-Bulletin that he took several puffs of a marijuana cigarette “many years ago,” but did not like it and never tried it again.

Senator Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee and former Gov. Bruce Babbitt of Arizona, both Democratic Presidential aspirants, also confessed to having used marijuana.--jm

A version of this article appeared in the November 18, 1987 edition of Education Week as Federal File: Not his kind of town; ‘I would not feel so all alone - everybody must get stoned’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Education Insights with Actionable Data to Create More Personalized Engagement
The world has changed during this time of pandemic learning, and there is a new challenge faced in education regarding how we effectively utilize the data now available to educators and leaders. In this session
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Education California Requires Free Menstrual Products in Public Schools
The move comes as women’s rights advocates push nationwide for affordable access to pads, tampons, and other items.
1 min read
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Education Florida to Dock School District Salaries for Requiring Masks
Florida is set to dock salaries and withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates.
2 min read
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Education More Than 120,000 U.S. Kids Had Caregivers Die During Pandemic
The toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests.
3 min read
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 file photo, a funeral director arranges flowers on a casket before a service in Tampa, Fla. According to a study published Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, by the medical journal Pediatrics, the number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)