Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: No more educational regional directors or Tancredos

The U.S. Department of Education is eliminating several regional director jobs, disappointing Coloradans hoping for an appointment, the Denver Post reports today. According to a notice outlining the job eliminations,"These political appointees have not had substantial policy or administrative functions."

Maybe not while they were in the office -- but some have managed to use it as a springboard to bigger things. Tom Tancredo, for example, who'd made his reputation as a "House Crazy" in the Colorado Legislature in the '70s. In 1981, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a regional director of the Department of Education.

That department, Tancredo later told a group gathered to hear about his presidential aspirations, was created by President Carter's administration to appease the National Education Association. "There is no constitutional role of the federal government to have the Department of Education," Tancredo said. "I don't believe we should have the U.S. Department of Education."

Apparently it took him a dozen years to figure that out -- because he stayed in the regional director slot until 1993, when he moved on to the Independence Institute before successfully running for Congress in 1998.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

Latest Stories