Lawrence G. Derthick Sr., the U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1956 to 1961 and a past president of the American Association of School Administrators, died Dec. 3 at his home in Chattanooga, Tenn. He was 85.
A former school superintendent in Nashville and Chattanooga, Mr. Derthick worked for 10 years after leaving the government as associate executive secretary of the National Education Association.
Former Gov. Richard J. Hughes of New Jersey, who as his state’s chief executive helped reshape its schools, died Dec. 7 of congestive heart failure in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 83.
Mr. Hughes, a popular Democratic governor from 1962 to 1970, fought to put in place the state’s first sales and personal-income taxes. While the sales tax was enacted in 1966, the income tax died in the state Senate.
However, in 1973 the state supreme court ruled that the state’s reliance on local property taxes to support schools discriminated against poorer urban districts. In 1974, Mr. Hughes was named chief justice of that court, which two years later ordered the closing of the state’s public schools until a new finance plan could be enacted. The income tax was then passed and the schools reopened.
A version of this article appeared in the December 16, 1992 edition of Education Week as Milestones