State Journal: Generation gap; What's in a name?

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When they go to the polls in November, Texas voters may have the option of choosing a state treasurer with an unusually direct perspective on precollegiate education.

Mike Wolfe, who is one of two candidates for the Republican nomination for that post, is a 17-year-old junior at Northwest Academy, a private school in Houston.

He will turn 18 on Oct. 11, making him just old enough to run for the state office.

The other Republican hopeful, David Hartman, a 57-year-old banker from Austin, apparently is a bit chagrined at the media attention that has been bestowed upon his young rival.

"I don't mean to be sarcastic, but it is a kind of serious business,'' Mr. Hartman told the Houston Chronicle.

For his part, Mr. Wolfe has said he was inspired to run for office by a 15-minute meeting he had last year with former President Reagan.

Mr. Hartman boasts a master's degree from Harvard University and 26 years as a bank executive. Mr. Wolfe is the president of the school band.

The winner of the March 8 primary will likely face Martha Whitehead, a Democrat who was appointed to the office last June and has pledged to abolish it. Both Republicans oppose that idea.

"This is a simple little old bill, only 231 pages, that doesn't do anything,'' Ed Ford, the chairman of the Kentucky Senate's education committee, assured his colleagues last month, referring to a proposed education measure.

The bill in question would change the name of the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education to the "state board of education,'' and it apparently requires 231 pages to change each reference to the panel in Kentucky law.

Since the state has switched from junior high schools to middle schools, the Kentucky Association of Middle Schools asked lawmakers to rename the board, arguing that middle schools are neither elementary or secondary schools. The group asked that the panel be named the "state board for elementary, middle, and secondary education.''

However, Mr. Ford told the Associated Press, he rejected that idea.

"You can hardly say the title now, it is so long and cumbersome,'' he said.

The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate last month and now goes to the House.--JULIE A. MILLER

Vol. 13, Issue 19

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