Rod Paige

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Rod Paige

Dr. Roderick Raynor Paige (born June 17, 1933), served as the 7th United States Secretary of Education from 2001 to 2005. Paige, who grew up in segregated Mississippi, built a career on a belief that education equalizes opportunity, moving from college dean and school superintendent to be the first African American to serve as the nation's education chief.

On November 15, 2004, Dr. Paige announced his resignation after overseeing the President's education agenda for four years. White House domestic policy adviser Margaret Spellings was nominated as his successor. The U.S. Senate confirmed her on January 20, 2005, following Bush's inauguration for a second term.

Born in Monticello, Mississippi, Secretary Paige is the son of public school educators. He earned a bachelor's degree from Jackson State University in Mississippi and a Master's degree and a doctorate from Indiana University at Bloomington.



College level

Paige began his career coaching college-level athletics. He then served for a decade as Dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University. He also established the university's Center for Excellence in Urban Education, a research facility that concentrates on issues related to instruction and management in urban school systems.

School District

As a trustee and an officer of the Board of Education of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) from 1989 to 1994, Dr. Paige coauthored the board's A Declaration of Beliefs and Visions, a statement of purpose and goals for the school district that called for fundamental reform through decentralization, a focus on instruction, accountability at all levels, and development of a core curriculum. A Declaration of Beliefs and Visions was the catalyst that launched the ongoing, comprehensive restructuring of HISD.


Paige became the superintendent of schools of HISD in 1994. As superintendent, Dr. Paige created the Peer Examination, Evaluation, and Redesign (PEER) program, which solicits recommendations from business and community professionals for strengthening school support services and programs. He launched a system of charter schools that have broad authority in decisions regarding staffing, textbooks, and materials. He saw to it that HISD paid teachers salaries competitive with those offered by other large Texas school districts. Superintendent Paige made HISD the first school district in the state to institute performance contracts modeled on those in the private sector, whereby senior staff members' continued employment with HISD is based on their performance. He also introduced teacher incentive pay, which rewards teachers for outstanding performance and creative solutions to educational problems.

Other activities

Paige has served on review committees of the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Education's Task Force on High School Education, and he has chaired the Youth Employment Issues Subcommittee of the National Commission for Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. Dr. Paige is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He is a former member of the Houston Job Training Partnership Council, the Community Advisory Board of Texas Commerce Bank, the American Leadership Forum, and the Board of Directors of the Texas Business and Education Coalition. He is a prominent member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Praise and Criticism


Dr. Paige has been active on the Education Commission of the States, as well as the Council of the Great City Schools, which bestowed on him its Richard R. Green Award as the outstanding urban educator of 1999. In 2000 Paige received the Harold W. McGraw, Jr., Prize in Education for his commitment to the improvement of education and the National Association of Black School Educators' Superintendent of the Year award. In 2001, he was named the National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.


On February 23, 2004, at a White House meeting with the nation's governors, Paige criticized the National Education Association (NEA) for obstructing "No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms," calling the NEA a "terrorist organization." He later said it "was an inappropriate choice of words" and apologized later the same day, but maintained that the NEA uses "obstructionist scare tactics" in opposing the law. The union called for his resignation.

Preceded by:
Richard Riley
United States Secretary of Education
Succeeded by:
Margaret Spellings

Template:End boxde:Roderick Paige


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