Former L.A. schools leader joins College Board
Former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, who ran L.A.'s schools for six years, has joined the College Board as a senior advisor. The New York City-based nonprofit develops and markets the SAT and the Advanced Placement exams, among others
In his new job, Romer, 80, will work closely with former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, who called Romer "one of the most talented, knowledgeable persons on education around the country."
Romer served as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school system, from 2000 through 2006.
The College Board produces tests, including the SAT, that have become ritualized within the college application process. The availability and quality of Advanced Placement courses and students' subsequent performance on the College Board's AP tests are frequently a defining characteristic of a well-regarded high school academic program.
A small but growing number of colleges, however, have rebelled against the ubiquity of the College Board in the college admissions process. Some no longer require students to take the SAT. And some high schools administrators have called the AP curriculum too confining and sometimes more dependent on memorization than analytical thinking.
Caperton said Romer will contribute unique experience and knowledge as the $600-million organization continues to transform itself "from a testing company to a much broader organization. We’re about preparing kids to go to college and to be successful in college, and that starts in the 6th grade."
The work of Romer, a three-term governor who once served as head of the Democratic National Committee, could include a distinctly political aspect. As the College Board put it: Romer "will advocate on behalf of policies and programs that will create new standards, curricula, assessments and teacher professional development programs that are anchored in rigorous academic content."
Romer's most recent endeavor was leading Strong America Schools, which spent an estimated $25 million on an information and lobbying campaign to make education the central focus of last-year's presidential campaign.
Romer is remembered in Los Angeles for developing the nation's largest school construction program, for making schools use the same phonics-based reading program and for hiring coaches to develop the skills of math and English teachers.
-- Howard Blume