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ERIC Number: EJ913043
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan-26
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Governors' Sights May Be Zeroing In on Policy Levers
Cavanagh, Sean
Education Week, v30 n18 p1, 21 Jan 2011
When Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire announced recently that she wants to take control of education policy in her state by creating a new, Cabinet-level schools position that answers to her, she set the stage for a political fight--and revived a perennial debate. Governors, elected state schools chiefs, and, to some extent, state boards of education, have wrestled for years over who should shape the direction of teaching and learning in their states. In particular, governors have argued that they need more authority in order to marshal the various state education offices and boards in support of more unified and coherent plans to improve schools. Whether last November's election, which produced major turnover in governors' and state legislative offices, foreshadows a significant number of education leadership shake-ups nationwide remains unclear. But some newly elected and returning governors have signaled movement in that direction. Ms. Gregoire, for instance, envisions creating a new department of education led by a Cabinet-level secretary who answers to her and oversees state education divisions and departments from early childhood through college. In California, newly elected Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has decided to eliminate the position of education secretary within his administration, arguing that doing so will save money and reduce duplication in his deficit-laden state. Fellow Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon, also newly elected, is considering making a proposal to have the state create an appointed education secretary post and possibly phase out the current, elected schools chief after her term expires. Governors are trying "to have a strong voice" on school issues. The biggest barriers that governors face in making governance changes are typically legal and political. State constitutions or laws often protect elected schools chief's positions or define their duties, and governors sometimes have met resistance from legislators who balk at the proposed power shifts. Appointing an education secretary could also appeal to governors, like Ms. Gregoire, who are trying to fashion more streamlined education systems from preschool through college and believe they need to cut through government bureaucracy to reach that goal.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Oregon; Washington