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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ohio's State School Supt. Susan Tave Zelman: A Dyslexic Psychometrician Granny

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Gov. Ted Strickland wants to jettison the state superintendent of public instruction. She has let it be known she's a grandmother afflicted with a reading disorder. The governor has another word for her -- "psychometrician," a word that had some Ohioans running for their dictionaries.

Susan Tave Zelman told Ohioans earlier this year she suffers from dyslexia -- a mild case, of course. Zelman, who's been the state's top education official since 1999, holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan. She discussed her learning disability during brief remarks earlier this year to the statewide special education leadership conference in Columbus:

"As the first mother and grandmother who is superindentent of Ohio's public schools, I share your hopes and goals for the success of our children, I hope you share mine. As someone with mild dyslexia and the mother of children with mild disabilities, I understand."

Strickland wants the dyslexic superintendent gone so he can take responsibility -- and greater control -- over Ohio's schools. He's not a fan of Zelman:

"But she's not a leader, she's not an advocate, she's not a good manager. She's an academician, a psychometrician, a statistician."

Dyslexic is a fairly common word nowadays. It means that someone has a tendency to mix up or confuse letters in words while they read -- "Susan" might be seen as "nuisance." As for "psychometrician," that means somebody who uses tests to measure aptitude or personality. It does not mean a nutjob addicted to the metric system of weights and measures. There is more about psychometrics here and here. And if you want to take a psychometric test, this British Web site will measure your personality profile.


  1. "Susan" / "nuisance"??

    Nice. It's unfortunate yet still kind of funny the idea of the 'dyslexic grandma'... especially since it can be "mixed up" (aka anagrammed) as:

    'My Ex Scandal Grid' or
    'Sexy Midland Crag'

    But even funnier is 'psychometricia.'

    Which can me mixed up as many things including...

    'I Stomp Chicanery'
    'Spry Cinematic Ho'
    'Impish Toy Cancer'
    'Monarchic Pit? Yes!'
    'My Chaotic Sniper' and, of course,
    'Hit Me Conspiracy'

  2. Joseph --

    I like the anagrams. You are a genius. "Monarchic Pit? Yes" had me rolling on the floor laughing. So what could you make Ken Blackwell's name? Maybe we ought to have a contest for the Ohiosphere -- anagram Ken. Or the whole damn state.