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Federal File: Mind Control; 'What Works' retired?; Applause for Stafford

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Secretary of Education William J. Bennett is used to criticism from the left, but last month it came from the conservative National Citizens Alliance, which demanded that he stop promotion of "federally funded mind-control techniques."

Alliance member Jeannie Georges cited the "Tactics in Thinking" curriculum, developed at an Education Department research laboratory, as one that uses "hypnotic-like processes that have the potential to be emotionally and psychologically damaging to students," and "makes them more receptive to brainwashing."

Charlotte Iserbyt, a coordinator of the group and a former department policy adviser, also asked Mr. Bennett to investigate U.S.-Soviet education exchanges, which she said have exposed American students to "Communist propaganda."

Loye W. Miller, Mr. Bennett's spokesman, declined comment.


When Mr. Bennett departs this month, the Education Department may retire the "What Works" label that has adorned a series its of publications, in much the same way an athletic team would retire a star player's number.

But Mr. Miller denies that the player in question has requested the honor.

The department's office of educational research and improvement is working on a publication exploring "what works in education policy," according to a spokesman.

But the title will not include the words "what works," he said, because "we have been told" that no document so titled will be published after Mr. Bennett leaves.

According to Mr. Miller, no such order has come from the Secretary's office, although "someone at oeri might have thought it was a good idea."

It would be meaningless, anyway, he added, as the new Secretary could "decide to publish a new 'What Works' every week if he wanted to."


At a recent meeting of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, senators spent most of their time delivering panegyrics to Robert T. Stafford of Vermont, the ranking Republican on the education subcommittee, who is retiring at the end of this term.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the committee, said he would introduce a "resolution of commendation," but that "it will be inadequate because the greatest commendation will be the education that millions of children will receive."--jm & lj

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