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Curran's Nomination Turned Down

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Washington--A Republican-controlled Senate committee last week rejected President Reagan's nominee for the chairmanship of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Labor and Human Resources Committee, in a 9-to-9 tie vote, declined to report Edward A. Curran's nomination to the Senate for confirmation.

Opponents of Mr. Curran, the deputy director of the Peace Corps and former head of the National Institute of Education, cited as reasons for the rejection his lack of scholarly background and his effort in 1982 to abolish the nie

Mr. Curran's nomination had drawn intense opposition from many of the endowment's constituency groups, who argued that he was unqualified for the post. Before joining the Reagan Administration, he was headmaster of the National Cathedral School here.

Critics on the Senate committee also cited discrepancies between Mr. Curran's testimony at previous confirmation hearings and his subsequent actions in office.

In confirmation hearings for the nie post before the same committee, he had said he supported that agency's work. Upon assuming the director's position, however, he suggested in a letter to President Reagan that the nie be abolished. Soon after that action, in June 1982, former Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell dismissed Mr. Curran.

The neh chairman's slot has been vacant since William J. Bennett became Secretary of Education last February; Mr. Bennett's former deputy, John Agresto, is acting chairman.

The neh, with a $143-million budget, promotes the teaching and study of the humanities in the nation's schools and colleges and makes other humanities-related grants.--jh

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