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Ralph Turlington, Florida's commissioner of education for the past 11 years, has ended the guessing game about his future plans with a surprise announcement that he will not run for re-election in 1987, but plans instead to start a private lobbying effort for a state lottery.

Mr. Turlington, 64, says he will set up a group called move--Margin of Victory for Excellence--to spearhead a petition drive to put the lottery idea before Florida voters in November of 1986. Although the3state's "one-question" rule may prevent the ballot initiative from asking whether voters want lottery funds to be spent specifically for education, said a spokesman for the commissioner, the campaign will "psychologically earmark" them for that purpose.

The commissioner says he does not view the lobbying effort as a conflict of interest in his position as commissioner, telling reporters that "this is no different than being out front advocating a tax proposal."

Robert Stutman, head of the New England office of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, recently canceled a scheduled speaking ap-pearance at a Rhode Island high school because of "security issues."

The law-enforcement official, who was to participate in a daylong session at the Cumberland High School on combating drug abuse, had reportedly been targeted by a Colombian hit squad because of his agency's moves to curb the South American drug trade. After reports that the assassins had arrived in Boston, Mr. Stutman was also accompanied by bodyguards to a meeting of an anti-drug task force of the Boston School Committee.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction A. Craig Phillips of North Carolina, who holds one of the 18 elected state-chief posts nation-wide, told state lawmakers this month that he has changed his mind about the selection process and now "conceptually" approves of making the post an appointed one.

Mr. Phillips, who has long opposed such a change on the grounds that it would make the state chief less accountable to the public, said he thinks the system is "broke" and should be fixed.

But he stopped short of endorsing proposed legislation that would amend the state constitution to permit the state board to select the chief school officer, arguing instead that lawmakers should carefully weigh the implications of alternative selection methods.

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