State Journal: Offering an Olive Branch in California; On the Road With Governor Orr

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The yearlong war of words between Gov. George Deukmejian of California and Bill Honig, the state school superintendent, may be approaching an end, or at least a cease-fire.

Last week, Mr. Honig confirmed that he had accepted an invitation to meet with the Governor on Sept. 17 in an attempt to smooth over their differences.

"The Governor has invited me over for lunch," Mr. Honig said in an interview. "It's being billed as a peace meeting. We have said that we have strong differences but that we are willing to sit down and talk about them."

Those differences emerged in public last January, when Mr. Honig called the Governor's education budget proposal for the current fiscal year "an outright disaster for the schools."

Mr. Deukmejian retorted that the superintendent was acting like a "demagogue" and a "snake-oil salesman," and the battle was joined.

Kevin Brett, a spokesman for the Governor, said Mr. Deukmejian continues to disagree with Mr. Honig's "message" on school finance and remains upset over the tone of his remarks.

"But the Governor recognizes that the 1987-88 budgetary process is history," he said, and that "it's time to move forward."

Cooperation is also very much on the mind of Gov. Robert D. Orr of Indiana, who has pledged to talk to at least 10,000 teachers across the state by January 1989 in an effort to win support for reforms approved by the legislature this year at his urging.

"I make this commitment to signal the start of our implementation efforts and to ensure the greatest amount of teacher participation in shaping that effort," he said at a recent meeting of 1,000 teachers in Merrilville. "We need more than your support, though ... we'll need your input."

"And I plan to get it in the simplest way possible. I'm going to ask for it," Mr. Orr said.

The Governor, however, could be facing an uphill battle. The Indiana State Teachers Association, which claims about 80 percent of the state's teachers as members, reportedly spent more than $85,000 this past year--more than any other lobbying group in the state--in an unsuccessful effort to promote its own reform agenda.

Damon P. Moore, the union's executive director, has characterized the reform package approved by the legislature as "a political sellout ... that does not go nearly far enough to provide the best for Indiana's children."


Vol. 07, Issue 01

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