Interview with Robert F. Sexton, January 19, 2000

Project: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Bob Sexton talks about the relationship between the Prichard Committee and the news media. He talks about establishing credibility with the media by drafting reports on elementary and secondary education. He talks about the challenges of working with the new governor Martha Layne Collins. Sexton talks about the impact of Ed Prichard's death on the functioning of the committee. He tells a story about how Governor Collins helped Ed Prichard feed himself at a public dinner after his blindness, even though he had insulted her during her campaign. Sexton talks about how Martha Layne Collins was active and identified as the "education governor," but that her real success was in securing the Toyota plant in Georgetown. He talks about political relationships between the Prichard Committee and political leadership. He talks about the committee sponsoring debates for gubernatorial candidates aired on KET.

Sexton talks about the education equity lawsuit Rose versus Council for Better Education and the decision process which led to the committee's involvement in the suit by filing an amicus curiae brief. He compares the outcome of Kentucky's suit against similar cases in other states and the importance of achievement equity as the desirable outcome of reform. Sexton talks about the various political positions on education issues taken by some Kentucky governors. He talks about Governor Wilkinson's negotiation to gain support for his education program in return for a large tax increase. He discusses how the lawsuit Rose v. Council for Better Education shifted the focus of education reform from the governor to the legislature. Sexton talks about how the committee worked to negotiate for their objectives, such as increasing revenue, through carefully crafted public messages. He talks about understanding the consensus view of committee members regarding the public message on educational issues such as charter schools and vouchers. Sexton talks about his personal loss of momentum as well as the committee's in the aftermath of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act. He discusses formulating a "game plan" to continue the work of educational reform. Sexton describes the Prichard Committee as a temporary problem solving body rather than a research institution or constituent representative group. He says instituting radical change is a function of government, and that reform must be initiated from the public. He talks about the ongoing challenges for education policy in Kentucky.

Interview Accession

2001oh050_pcae008

Interviewee Name

Robert F. Sexton

Interviewer Name

Catherine Fosl

Interview Date

2000-01-19

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Sexton, Robert F. Interview by Catherine Fosl. 19 Jan. 2000. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Sexton, R.F. (2000, January 19). Interview by C. Fosl. Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Sexton, Robert F., interview by Catherine Fosl. January 19, 2000, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7j6q1sj312