CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Ohio's superintendent of public instruction, Susan Tave Zelman, appears to place zero credibility in Republican U.S. Sen. George Voinovich's oft-repeated claim he was the "education governor." Voinovich served two terms as the state's chief executive before winning the Senate seat in 1998. Zelman took over as the state's top education official not long after Voinovich left Columbus for Washington, and said she found a school program that was adrift, or not following any clear course. Zelman's seems to be grading the Voinovich years with an an "F" -- for failure. Here's what she says:
"Nine years ago, I assumed responsibility for a public agency that was rudderless and ranked 29th nationally on education indicators. Today, Ohio is ranked seventh in the nation. Working collaboratively with governors [Ted Strickland, Bob Taft], leadership in the legislature, and educational stakeholders, I have led systemic reforms that developed a clear statewide vision of higher academic achievement for all students and a mission for the state and school districts to raise expectations, build the capacity for the system to meet those expectations, and improve results."
Zelman outlined her strengths -- and t00k the swipe at Voinovich -- in this three-page letter to officials at the University of Oregon, where's she's a finalist to become dean of the school's College of Education. Voinovich often wanted to be judged by his performance, and said in this 1998 Senate debate, "I'll let the people of Ohio judge my performance when it comes to education." Now we know what Zelman thinks -- "rudderless."
That should be good news to Ohio bloggers Matt Hurley and Tom Blumer who run a Web site called Ham Sandwich for Senate that has questioned Voinovich's claim he was an "education governor." Hurley and Blumer, both conservative Republicans, now have more evidence that Voinovich flunked on that score.