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UPDATE: Chafee's Education Board

I've spoken with some in the education reform crowd - all strong supporters of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist - about Chafee's picks for the Board of Regents. Their official posture is wait-and-see. And there is even a glimmer of hope that Caruolo, a supporter of charter schools in the past, will give the reform push a fair shake. But the primary feeling, it seems, is one of deep concern - that Chafee is moving to check the reform movement. Time will tell. I'll have more later this week.

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At first glance, Lincoln Chafee's appointments to the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education look, well, Chafee-esque - moderate and, yet, a little surprising.

His pick for chairman, former House Majority Leader George Caruolo, seems to fit the bill perfectly. The selection is a bit surprising, because Caruolo has flown beneath the radar since 1998, when he left the House after a 17-year stint; in fact, Caruolo said at today's press conference that he hadn't set foot in the State House since.

And Caruolo, a proponent of charter schools during his time in the House, hardly seems the lefty firebreather that some in the market-driven reform crowd - those who favor charters, tougher teacher evaluations, heavy reliance on data - feared, given Chafee's very public skepticism around charter schools and the like during the gubernatorial campaign.

Still, the reform types will watch carefully. Chafee decided to replace half the board. He has made his mark on the panel. We'll have to see what that means in practice.

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