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N.M. State University Protests Contract for ERIC Center

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WASHINGTON--A second unsuccessful bidder for a contract to operate an educational-information clearinghouse has protested the award.

New Mexico State University, which had operated the Educational Resources Information Center on rural education and small schools since 1966, protested the award of a new five-year contract to the Appalachia Educational Laboratory.

The National Council of Teachers of English, which lost its bid to operate the ERIC clearinghouse on reading and communication skills, lodged a formal protest of that award earlier this month. (See Education Week, March 23, 1988.)

In papers filed with the General Accounting Office, the Congressional agency that reviews bid protests, the university charges that the peer-review panel that analyzed the proposals was unqualified in many of the fields within the clearinghouse's purview.

As a result, said Jack Cole, director of the university's educational research center, the panel was unable to determine that the Appalachia Laboratory's proposal was insufficient to cover the full scope of the center's activities.

"There is no way their bid could cover the six scope areas,'' he said. "We've been doing this for 21 years. We know how much it costs.''

In addition to rural education and small schools, the center also reviews information on Mexican-American, Indian, migrant, and outdoor education, Mr. Cole said.--R.R.

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