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The Reagan Administration "has abandoned any pretext of helping the public schools and turns instead to private schools," says Terry Herndon, executive director of the National Education Association.

Mr. Herndon, in a Sept. 10 speech before the Washington Press Club, said supporters of private schools have "coalesced into a sophisticated political force that has nearly overwhelmed a too-comfortable community of school supporters who assumed a perpetual political commitment to public education.

"Be it mindless or willful...our contemporary right-wing political phenomenon constitutes a conspiracy to significantly injure or destroy public education as we have known it," he said.

Mr. Herndon, whose 1.7-million-member teacher union strongly sup3ported former President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election, defended the involvement of teachers in partisan politics. "Every major contemporary educational issue is--in its origin, its development, or its disposition--a political issue," he said.

He added his opinion that the nea is "the principal political obstacle" to the goals of the Reagan Administration. "We are their problem, and the administration works diligently not only to roll back the educational clock but to belittle our work and contribution," he said.

Donald William McNemar was installed Saturday as headmaster of Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., the first independent school incorporated in the nation.

Mr. McNemar, a political scientist, had been associate dean of faculty at Dartmouth College. He succeeds Theodore R. Sizer, who left Andover last June to lead a study of American high6schools. The new headmaster--the 13th in Andover's 203-year history--also will teach courses in international relations.

Mr. McNemar's wife, Britta Schein McNemar, formerly director of career and employment services at Dartmouth, has been named assistant director of college counseling at Andover.

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