Teacher In Chief

At once conservative and conciliatory, Rod Paige promises an activist Department of Education

When Rod Paige first took the helm of the struggling Houston public schools seven years ago, Gayle Fallon, president of the local teachers' union, blasted him as "the most antiteacher superintendent we've had in the past decade." By the end of Paige's tenure last month, however, Fallon was giving a far different testimonial. She gushed that Paige "will leave a better district than he came to" and that "he'll be a very effective Secretary of Education."

Fallon explains that in the early days, she and her union members felt threatened by Paige. One of his plans was to give principals more...

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