State Journal: False advertising?; The name game

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A gubernatorial campaign commercial so irked John Tyson Jr., the presiding officer of Alabama's state board of education, that he called a news conference on the State Capitol steps last month to denounce it.

The ad is being aired by Paul Hubbert, the head of the Alabama Education Association, who is opposing Gov. James E. Folsom Jr. for the Democratic nomination.

Mr. Hubbert, who ran unsuccessfully for governor four years ago and helped write a 1991 school-reform plan, says in the ad: "Politicians keep talking about education reform, but nothing ever happens.''

"For Paul Hubbert to suggest he's not a politician is laughable,'' Mr. Tyson said.

A major reason that a court-ordered reform plan has not yet passed, Mr. Tyson asserted, is that Mr. Hubbert has "actively opposed it.''

Mr. Tyson also noted that in the ad Mr. Hubbert backs "entry-level teacher testing,'' while the A.E.A. filed a lawsuit some years ago to block such a test.

Michael Tucker, a spokesman for the Hubbert campaign, said the A.E.A. thought the test was "faulty'' but Mr. Hubbert supports teacher testing.

The state schools chief's objection to the use of American Indian mascots, logos, and team names has some Wisconsin districts feeling badgered.

State Superintendent John T. Benson last month sent letters to 68 high schools with such team names arguing that the practice promotes stereotypes and bias. He urged them to stop, and warned that they may be violating a state antidiscrimination law.

Moreover, Mr. Benson said, perpetuation of Indian stereotypes hinders efforts to teach appreciation for tribal history and culture, as required by a 1989 state law.

"I don't think anybody created those mascots to be offensive to anyone, but times change,'' said Dennis W. Rislove, the superintendent of the Mosinee schools. But the Mosinee school board voted 5 to 4 to reject his advice and continue to call its teams the "Indians.''

John D. Foster, the superintendent of the Prairie du Chien Area School District, said his district's board plans to rethink its high school's use of the name "Blackhawks.''

But the Waunakee school board has no plans to reconsider the name "Warriors,'' said Superintendent Gene J. Hamele, who accused Mr. Benson of "trying to stir up a crisis.''

Vol. 13, Issue 32

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