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College Board president will outline vision for educational excellence

Gaston Caperton

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board and former governor of West Virginia, will speak at Lehigh on April 19 regarding the challenges, opportunities, and importance of the U.S. building the best educational system in the world.

His lecture, “Winning the Race,” starts at 8 p.m. April 19 in Baker Hall at Zoellner Arts Center. The talk is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

The College Board, a non-profit membership association of more than 4,200 schools, colleges, and other educational institutions in the U.S., developed the new SAT, or Standardized Achievement Test, that debuted March 15.

The goal of the new version is to reflect more accurately what students are—or should be—learning in school. Changes to the SAT include the addition of third-year college preparatory math, more critical reading, and a new writing section.

The changes have garnered praise from some, who say the new test is more relevant to what students need to know for college. But there are also concerns that the new version will more negatively affect students from weaker schools and that the essay makes the test more coachable.

"The College of Education is proud to be able to bring such an accomplished educator and innovator to the Lehigh campus and community,” says Sally A. White, dean of the College of Education. “Gaston Caperton is recognized as a national education leader and someone from whom we can all learn as we strive to improve the educational climate.”

Concerned about the persistent problem of unequal educational opportunity, Caperton has led a national effort to reach down into the middle-school level to encourage and inspire more young people, particularly those from the least advantaged households and schools, to make college a part of their future.

Under Caperton’s leadership, the College Board has also increased the number of schools offering courses under the organization’s Advanced Placement Program®(AP), as well as the number of minority students participating in the courses. And in April 2003, Capteron established the National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges in an effort to focus national attention on the teaching and learning of writing.

Caperton, who stepped into the president’s job in July 1999, was governor of West Virginia from 1988 to 1996. As governor, he increased the use of computers and technology in public schools, pumped $800 million in investments for 58 new schools and 780 school renovations, and raised teachers’ salaries from 49th in the nation to 31st.

Caperton is the second speaker in the College of Education’s lecture series, “Leaders of Practice.” Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman kicked off the lecture series last year.

Free tickets for Caperton’s lecture are available at the Zoellner Arts Center Box Office, or by phone at (610) 7LU-ARTS), or online.

--Joanne C. Anderson

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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