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The Senate Labor and Resources Committee, with a busy schedule and a limited number of employees, is unlikely to investigate charges of mismanagement and corruption at the National Institute of Education, the research arm of the Education Department, committee aides said last week.

A department investigation of nie last year exonerated its director, Manuel J. Justiz, of major allegations. But Mr. Justiz was reprimanded by former Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell for breaking federal travel and telephone regulations. (See Education Week, Dec. 12, 1984.)

At the time, the Senate committee weighed an investigation of nie contract and hiring practices.

But the panel has only one Republican investigator with an assistant and a number of other, more pressing oversight responsibilities--such as an investigation into alleged labor racketeering--said Howard A. Matthews, a staff member.

The committee chairman, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, wants to avoid a "post-mortem" of Mr. Bell's tenure at the department and avoid duplicating a study on possible reorganization of the department by the new Secretary, William J. Bennett, according to Mr. Matthews. That study is expected to include an examination of the nie

The Reagan Administration's top civil-rights official has predicted that race-conscious affirmative-action plans will soon be a thing of the past.

"It will not be long before we will be able to put behind us for good court-ordered 'affirmative action' in the form of racial quotas, goals and timetables, or minority setasides," William Bradford Reynolds, head of the Justice Department's civil-rights division, said in a Feb. 9 speech.

In addressing a Florida Bar group meeting in Miami, Mr. Reynolds said the change was signaled in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year in Firefighters Local Union No. 1784 v. Stotts, which he called "a victory for all Americans."

In Stotts, the Court ruled last June that federal judges could not interfere with a legitimate seniority system--established by a consent decree--in order to protect blacks from being laid off from the Memphis fire department. The Justice Department, Mr. Reynolds said, recently completed a review of all the settlements it has entered into in employment-discrimination cases with an eye toward modifying them to conform with its interpretation of the Stotts decision.

Later in the speech, Mr. Reynolds suggested that the federal government "dispense entirely" with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines requiring all federal agencies to submit annually to the commission documents outlining their hiring goals for minorities and women.

William J. Bennett, the new secretary of education, came under fire in some quarters of the Congress for refusing to comply with the guidelines during his tenure as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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