By Richard Vedder
President Bush is an often perplexing man, sometimes doing marvelous things followed by actions (or inactions with respect to vetoing wild spending increases) that are either dumb or generally bad. But he hit a home run with his appointment of Sara Martinez Tucker as Under Secretary of Education.
I have served for the past year with Sara on the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Sara was appointed because of her stellar work with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. She has been a great asset to the Commission. She is bright, energetic, diplomatic, wise and, most important to me, nice. She has a great sense of humor, an overly rare commodity among the grime bureaucrats consumed with their own self-importance who populate our nation's capital.
Sara also impresses me as possessing two qualities that often do not mix well in a single human being. She is compassionate and caring, working tirelessly to help Hispanic youth climb the socioeconomic ladder. Yet she can be tough and analytical, knowing about the limits on resources, having high expectations of the people she helps. American education needs tough love, and Sara is the right kind of person to have at the Department of Education.
Speaking of the Spellings Commission, the ever resourceful Doug Lederman of INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION managed to acquire a bunch of supposedly semi-private emails that reveal a little dustup that occurred recently amongst Commission members. Read today's INSIDE HIGHER ED. Gerri Elliott, VP at Microsoft, was offended at my personal attack, I read. I criticized her for her failure to read the Commission report in a timely fashion, but then trying to change it long after the vote. I am sorry she is offended, but my remarks stand (although I did not intend them to go public). If you accept an assignment, perform it well or face the consequences.