January 17, 2006

Spring schedule features politicians, policy makers

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A symposium on Illinois' budget issues, lectures by noted politicians and columnists, and a debate on the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind Act highlight the spring schedule of speakers for Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

The list of speakers includes former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, who served as Senate Majority and Minority Leader for 11 years until 2005; former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige; Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago; Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego; syndicated and Pulitzer Prize columnist Clarence Page; and SIUC graduate and award-winning Washington Post staff writer Jackie Spinner.

"We are offering a diverse slate of extraordinary speakers and events that will enrich the campus community and Southern Illinois region," institute Director Mike Lawrence said. "We encourage people to take advantage of these outstanding opportunities."

Here's the schedule:

  • Friday, Feb. 3 – 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Student Center. Symposium: "Real Needs and Red Ink: How Do We Fund Vital Services in Illinois?"
  • Monday, Feb. 6 – 7 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom D. Nationally known journalist and Hampton University writer-in-residence Earl Caldwell.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22 – 7 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom D. SIUC alumnus Jackie Spinner, Washington Post staff writer.
  • Wednesday, March 29 – 7 p.m., Student Center Auditorium. Civic activist Paula Wolff.
  • Wednesday, April 5 – 7 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom D. Syndicated columnist Clarence Page.
  • Wednesday, April 12 – 4 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom D. Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.
  • Tuesday, April 18 – 7 p.m., Shryock Auditorium. Former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige debate the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
  • Monday, April 24 – 4 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom D. Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross.

The Feb. 3 symposium on the state's budget issues will explore spending pressures along with revenue and fiscal issues the state is facing in a pair of panel discussions. Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, and a regular Chicago Sun-Times columnist, is delivering the keynote address.

Caldwell has spent his career witnessing and writing some of the most important civil rights events in the last 40 years. He was the only reporter present when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April 1968. While a reporter at the New York Times, Caldwell refused to provide information to the FBI and Nixon Administration regarding sources in the Black Panther Party. Caldwell ultimately narrowly lost his case in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the decision resulted in states enacting shield laws allowing reporters to protect sources and information.

Spinner is delivering the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture Series. She is an award-winning staff writer for the Washington Post, and covered the war in Iraq. A staff writer at the Washington Post since 1995, Spinner earned her bachelor's degree with honors in journalism from SIUC in 1992. Her book, "Tell Them I Didn't Cry: A Young Journalist's Story of Joy, Loss and Survival in Iraq" is expected to be released later this month.

Wolff will receive the 2006 Ralph A. Dunn Public Service Award. A respected civic leader, Wolff is a former president of Governors State University in University Park, and her work focuses

on reforms aimed at reducing crime and violence. She is a former director of policy and planning for former Gov. James R. Thompson.

Page, a respected journalist, columnist and television panelist, will present the William R. and Molly Norwood Fellowship lecture. The series provides for a lecture in the area of public policy and diversity in society.

A state legislator since 1979, Curry is the first female Majority Leader in the Illinois General Assembly's history – a post she has held since 1997.

Daschle and Paige will provide opinions on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. A former dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University, Paige served as U.S. secretary of education during President George W. Bush's first term in office and guided the legislation through Congress.

Cross, the Illinois House Republican Leader, has served in the state legislature since 1993.

Institute assistant director Matt Baughman notes the lectures by Curry and Cross – two of Illinois' top legislative leaders – will take place within days of the April 7 end of the state legislative session.

"Both of them will be here in the wake of the anticipated adjournment date of the General Assembly," he said. "They will both be fresh out of the spring legislative session and provide some insight."

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives, and pursuing leadership opportunities to address social, health and economic development issues of importance to our region is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

For more information, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit http://www.siu.edu/~ppi/home.htm