Rod Paige and Raye Jones Avery Disagree About Role of Teachers
About Rod Paige:
On January 21, 2001, the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Rod Paige as the 7th U.S. Secretary of Education. For Paige, the son of a principal and a public school librarian, that day was the crowning achievement of a well-established and dedicated career in education. Born in 1933 in segregated Monticello, Mississippi, Paige’s commitment to education began at home. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University in his home state and went on to earn both a master’s and a doctoral degree from Indiana University.
Paige began working with students early in his career as a teacher and a coach. He served for a decade as Dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University (TSU). There, Paige worked to ensure that future educators would receive the training and expertise necessary to succeed in the classroom. He also established the university’s Center for Excellence in Urban Education, a research facility that concentrates on issues related to instruction and management in urban school systems.
Elected in 1989, Paige was sworn in and served as a trustee and an officer of the Board of Education of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) from January 1990 through 1994. Paige left TSU to become superintendent of HISD, the nation’s seventh largest school district. Inside Houston Magazine named Paige one of “Houston’s 25 Most Powerful People” in guiding the city’s growth and prosperity. In 2001, he was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.
Paige is the first school superintendent ever to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. His vast experience as a practitioner, from the blackboard to the boardroom, paid off during the long hours of work needed to pass President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
In partnership with states and districts, Paige has led the charge to implement the historic reforms of NCLB. The law provides local school districts with the tools and resources they need to help every child learn, regardless of their skin color or socio-economic status. By June 2003 every single state had an approved accountability plan in place to ensure that no child was left behind.
The driving force behind Paige’s work as Secretary was his shared belief with President Bush that education is a civil right, like the right to vote, and that fighting discrimination with discrimination leads only to failure. As Secretary, Paige held the Department of Education to the same high standards expected of our nation’s schools under NCLB. He rallied the Department to create the Blueprint for Management Excellence in order to build an organization orthy of the taxpayers’ trust and the President’s vision; a vision grounded in he belief that good government is not only close to the people but accountable to the people as well.
In 2005, Rod Paige stepped down as Secretary of Education. He is a Senior Adviser for the American College of Education, a new institution specializing in high quality education programs for teachers and administrators. In addition, he will soon become a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
NOTE: This bio appeared in the Forum program in February of 2006.
About Getting Education Right
A renowned group of panelists – Geoffrey Canada, Founder of The Harlem Children’s Zone and education advocate; Wendy Kopp, Founder and President of Teach for America; Raye Jones Avery, Delaware Activist, Artist and Educator and Rod Paige, Former Secretary of Education and Developer of “No Child Left Behind” – discuss the challenges and obstacles which must be overcome, the risks of failure, and examples of great successes and rewards.