PAW readers might like to know about Princeton’s connection to one aspect of Billy Goodman’s delightful article on his entry into the teaching profession through an alternate route to certification. This was a key part of a package of groundbreaking education reforms devised by Governor Thomas H. Kean ’57 with his Commissioner of Education, Saul Cooperman, and his cabinet secretary, Chris Daggett.
In 1983, when I was Governor Kean’s speechwriter, Cooperman and Daggett were lobbying the governor to announce his program of education reform to a specially called, joint session of the New Jersey legislature. I worked with them for weeks to draft a proposed speech, with the input of many senior staff. The group presented the draft to Kean, but he told us it was not compelling enough to deliver to a special joint session. I asked if he might continue to consider calling the special joint session if we gave him a new, better draft. He nodded kindly but noted that he had to make a decision the next day and didn’t think it was possible to overhaul the speech to his satisfaction in less than 24 hours.
Almost immediately, Cooperman, Daggett, and I rushed out of his office to get to work. We went over the most essential points of the earlier draft and I was turned loose to write. I worked all night and returned to Trenton the next day, sleepless but satisfied. After a quick review, the new speech was presented to Governor Kean that morning. Later that day, he did indeed call the joint session and gave the speech September 6, 1983, to great acclaim.
Kean’s proposed reforms included the alternate route to certification, a higher starting salary for entry-level teachers, and programs for training, mentoring and rewarding excellent teachers, as well as innovative way to improve failing school districts. The speech, and the lasting reforms it proposed, established the governor as a national spokesman on public education reform. He later followed Governor Pete du Pont ’56 as chairman of the Education Commission of the States.
I was delighted to read how the alternate certification route allowed at least one Princetonian to take his expertise and passion for science into a public school classroom. Bravo, Mr. Goodman! Truly, Princeton in the nation’s service.
Katherine Brokaw ’82
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