Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Daniel Boorstin claimed in 1962 that for twentieth-century Americans, "fact or fantasy, the image becomes the thing." The 1980s abound with governors promising education reform in their states, activities underscored by the August 1986 National Governors' Association education report, Time for Results. Thus, the image of the "Education Governor" has become the fashionable "thing." But does fact or fantasy lie beneath the surface of this image? This research probes that question through considering (1) the extent to which specific educational measures proposed in Inaugural and State of the State Addresses of twenty modern-day "Education Governors" correspond with their subsequent actions and (2) the personal attributes, professional ties, and educational involvement which characterize these "Education Governors" of the 1960s through the 1980s.;However, the historical record reveals that the "Education Governor" is not a new phenomenon. During the early 1900s a number of governors gained state and regional as well as national prominence for their outspoken efforts to promote public education. Preeminent among these individuals is Charles Brantley Aycock, still revered as North Carolina's great "Education(al) Governor.".;This "Education Governor" image was projected into modern times through former North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford's invocation of Aycock's legacy. While little consensus exists as to a distinct group of modern "Education Governors," the characteristics of their early twentieth century predecessors suggest that such individuals would espouse educational reform and, consequently, earn nationwide renown. These qualities also should describe governors judged to have been outstanding and who have participated actively in the Education Commission of the States. Twenty governors of the 1960s through 1980s who share such attributes--and, hence became the focus of this study--include Jerry Apodaca; Reubin Askew; Edmund Brown, Sr.; John Chafee; William Clinton; Winfield Dunn; Pierre duPont, IV; Robert Graham; Clifford Hansen; Mark Hatfield; Richard Hughes; James Hunt; Thomas Kean; Tom McCall; Robert McNair; William Milliken; Russell Peterson; Calvin Rampton; Robert Ray; and Terry Sanford.;Ultimately, the rhetoric of these so-called modern "Education Governors" proved congruent with the reality of their actions. All emphasized educational "quality" and "excellence." Nineteen increased direct state expenditures for education at a rate substantially higher than inflation. Thirteen participated in regional or national education organizations, and eight had been involved with education prior to their election.



© The Author