State Journal: Thanks to teachers; State chief's troubles

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Gov. Booth Gardner has not been a popular man with Washington State's teachers in recent months.

Thousands of teachers staged a one-day walkout in February to protest his plan not to use part of the state budget surplus for their pay raises, and teachers' groups are laying plans for a possible statewide strike if they do not do better in the next budget cycle.

Indeed, when Mr. Gardner appeared at a recent awards ceremony for teachers in honor of the late Christa McAuliffe, he reportedly encountered a chilly reception at first.

By the time he finished delivering a moving tribute to the role teachers had played in his own life, however, the Governor received a standing ovation.

After recounting a troubled childhood marred by divorce, alcoholism, and accidental death in his family, Mr. Gardner cited three teachers who had helped guide him on the path that ultimately led to his state's highest office.

"To the extent that God played games with me in terms of my upbringing, he paid me back in terms of my selection of teachers," the Governor said.

"I learned more from them than anybody who had an impact on my life," he continued. "The older I get, the more I recognize the marks of those teachers on my personality."

"To the extent that I succeed in the job I have, it will be a testament to the power and wisdom of the excellent teachers I have had."

It has not been an easy year for C. Diane Bishop, Arizona's superintendent of schools.

Ms. Bishop, who is seeking re-election to a second four-year term this fall, was hospitalized in March because of a reaction to taking outdated antidepressant medication.

And this month, The Arizona Daily Star of Tuscon printed a report alleging that Ms. Bishop had used her position on the Arizona Board of Regents to assist her husband, Richard L. Morse, a professor of nuclear physics at the University of Arizona.

The newspaper said in a copyrighted story that Ms. Bishop had sought to influence a dispute between Mr. Morse and the head of the university's physics department.

In a prepared statement, Ms. Bishop denied improperly using her authority and said she was "in compliance with state conflict-of-interest statutes."

"At a time when Arizona is facing some severe challenges in both elementary-secondary and postsecondary education," Ms. Bishop said, "it is regrettable that the focus should be deflected from substantive issues to those of character assassination."


Vol. 09, Issue 35

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