State Journal: Out of state; Votes and money; Real people

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Indiana's Democratic governor and Republican schools chief, who put aside their differences this year to jointly back a $9.5-million package of pilot and research projects, are at odds again, this time over the selection of an out-of-state consultant on school reform.

Gov. Evan Bayh, who plans to unveil a major education-reform proposal next year, recently hired Don Ernst to direct efforts to plan and win public support for the new program.

Mr. Ernst served a similar role in Arkansas, where he helped put together Gov. Bill Clinton's school-reform bill.

But, without criticizing Mr. Ernst, Superintendent of Public Instruction H. Dean Evans suggested the Governor may have overlooked the state's home-grown talent.

"This seems to me to be a task we're already performing in a fairly admirable way," he said, noting that the state department is currently working on the package.

To win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Alabama's June 5 primary, Paul R. Hubbert will need solid support from the nearly 70,000 members of the Alabama Education Association, of which he is executive director.

Political observers also say Mr. Hubbert will need a well-funded campaign to overcome his relatively low name-recognition among voters.

Mr. Hubbert's campaign recently indicated that it sees the state's teachers as a key tool for achieving the second goal as well as the first.

Campaign officials said they hope to raise $20 from each union member, which would yield more than half of their planned $2-million budget.

The fund-raising target has raised the ire of some union members, who say they are being unfairly pressured to give.

But union leaders say their efforts for Mr. Hubbert are no different from their support for other friendly candidates.

Gov. Ned McWherter of Tennessee, who has said he will make education a major theme of his re-election campaign, has plans to tour each of the Volunteer State's 140 school districts this spring and fall.

The visits are expected to involve a traveling party of about 50, including a score of Cabinet-level officials.

A gubernatorial aide recently said the cost of the trips could top $100,000.

But Mr. McWherter argues that the visits will be a bargain.

"It may save money," he said. "People won't be sitting here with special-interest groups and figuring out how to accommodate them. We'll talk to real people in the real world."


Vol. 09, Issue 30

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