August 30, 2006
Roy Romer has led a full and worthy life. As he details in the Los Angeles Times, he "sold tractors, owned a flight school, owned and operated a ski resort, climbed the Matterhorn, served as governor of Colorado for three terms, and chaired the Democratic National Committee." And after all that, on the cusp of retirement in 2000, at the age of 71, Romer went back to school and became superintendent of the L.A. Unified School District, a job he did not need but courageously undertook. Now, with his time at the head of L.A.'s schools all but finished, Romer took a moment to reflect on the experience he called "the most difficult and rewarding job" he's ever had. Romer's wisdom? Change doesn't occur overnight, and education rarely responds to silver bullets--it takes day-to-day perseverance to reform struggling schools. He worries that L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan (which just passed in the California legislature and will be signed by the Gubernator unless he changes his mind) to take over the city's schools will only widen their problems. (Gadfly agrees.) While we would have liked to have seen this champion for children show more willingness to battle his bureaucracy and embrace charter schools, his steadfastness around sound pedagogy will be missed. Mr. Mayor: Please don't throw that baby out with the bathwater.
"Adios, and good luck," by Roy Romer, Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2006
"L.A. Story (Cont'd)," Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2006 (subscription required)