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Good news

California drivers have something new to tune in to during their morning commutes lately: good news about their public schools.

The California Teachers Association has launched a 10-week radio campaign to spread the word that the state's students are making academic strides despite having to contend with crowded classrooms and run-down schools.

The spots, which cost $1 million and will run through Nov. 26, are designed to feature different local teachers for different radio markets. They air on 23 radio stations throughout California between 6 and 10 a.m.

The 300,000-member National Education Association affiliate decided to produce the spots to help debunk what it sees as negative perceptions about schools and build support for more funding, CTA President Wayne Johnson said.

"The public schools of California have been on a financial starvation diet for the last 20 years, and yet we're really doing quite well," Mr. Johnson said.

A closer look

The chairman of the Texas school board has asked the state attorney general's office to review the performance of several companies hired in 1997 to manage school investment funds, and the process that led to their selection.

Chase Untermeyer sought the review in response to board members' concerns over the selection process and questions about how the companies have managed the funds.

The state board oversees the $19 billion Texas Permanent School Fund, an endowment that generates money for education programs.

One of the fund managers who could be involved in such a review is Michael C. Mewhinney, a friend and former business partner of Gov. George W. Bush. His Dallas firm manages nearly $200 million in fund assets.

Mr. Untermeyer declined last week to reveal the names of the firms that accompanied his request to the attorney general.

Board members, however, have singled out Mr. Mewhinney's Dallas firm publicly and questioned whether it met basic criteria for being picked.

Linda Edwards, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Mr. Bush has "no involvement in state board of education contracts."

--Jessica L. Sandham & Robert C. Johnston

Vol. 19, Issue 6, Page 22

Published in Print: October 6, 1999, as State Journal

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