Education: Election for School Boss

In the California primaries last week, Former Vice President Richard Nixon's victory drew all the national attention, but Californians showed almost as much interest in a technically nonpartisan primary contest for a post with no patronage, little power, and until now, practically no public notice: state superintendent of public instruction.

State school superintendents, still chosen by election in 22 states* are generally empowered to propose education bills to state legislatures and to enforce minimum standards for otherwise autonomous local boards. In California this year, the end of an unimaginative 17-year incumbency provided an opportunity for candidates and backers to debate that currently...

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