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Lofty ambitions

Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger--a gubernatorial hopeful--has ambitions beyond the state's highest office. If elected, he says he will also serve as chairman of the state board of education.

Scott Harshbarger

"As governor, education reform will be my top priority and job number one," Mr. Harshbarger, the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination, said at a press conference at Somerville (Mass.) High School on April 14. "I will take personal responsibility for the improvement of public education by serving as chairman of the board of education."

Mr. Harshbarger's education platform also calls for $283 million in additional school spending for child care, safe-schools programs, the hiring of 4,000 new teachers, and a new school accounting system.

Kevin Carlton, a spokesman for the current school board chairman, Boston University Chancellor John R. Silber, said although leading the school board is intended to be part-time job, it has essentially become another full-time job for Mr. Silber.

Mr. Harshbarger did not detail how he would juggle the demands of the governor's office and those of the state board.

Lobbying lesson

Some West Virginia students got a lesson in lobbying this month when a bill they drafted was signed into law.

Two 5th grade classes at Whitethorn Elementary School in Bluefield spearheaded the state measure, which requires that carbon monoxide detectors be installed in new homes and some existing buildings.

The 31 students were inspired by Sue Luterick, one of their teachers, who was alerted by just such a detector to a carbon monoxide buildup seeping into her house from her chimney.

Ms. Luterick and fellow teacher Donna Shumaker worked with the students to research and write the bill, and then tapped Democratic state Sen. Homer K. Ball for support.

The students traveled to the state capital in Charleston to look on as Gov. Cecil H. Underwood, a Republican, signed their bill into law April 7.

"The children are enthusiastic," Ms. Shumaker said. "They would take on anything now that they know they can."


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