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Federal File: Belated addition; Not now; No education here

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President Bush included business leaders, university presidents, union and association leaders, policy analysts, and a public-school teacher, among others, on his 24-member education-policy advisory committee, established last fall to provide him with innovative ideas.

But the panel lacked a representative of private elementary and secondary education until the recent appointment of Archbishop Francis B. Schulte of New Orleans.

The omission did not go unnoticed among private-school leaders, already annoyed that the Administration has limited its advocacy of parental choice to public schools.

They expressed most of their criticism privately, but lobbied for inclusion.

The Administration began making amends by allowing Sister Catherine McNamee, president of the National Catholic Education Association, to attend the panel's first meeting.

But it was not until last month that Archbishop Schulte, a former Catholic schoolteacher and superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was officially added.

In a statement praising the appointment, Sister Catherine said her group had been "greatly discouraged" at the lack of representation and argued that the President should include even more private educators.

Outgoing Gov. Thomas Kean of New Jersey recently denied rumors he would replace Lauro F. Cavazos as secretary of education, but did not rule out interest in a federal post.

At a news conference on the Administration's volunteer-service program, Mr. Kean said he had not even spoken with President Bush about the job.

"I would not consider going to the Education Department now," he said, adding that he had made a commitment to take over the presidency of Drew University in Madison, N.J.

Rumors of his imminent departure have dogged Mr. Cavazos virtually since he took office, and they often named Mr. Kean as the replacement waiting in the wings.

The "Great Communicator" is no educator, the U.S. Information Agency has ruled.

U.s.i.a. recently decided that an audiotape collection of former President Reagan's speeches--being sold mail-order for $79.99--is not educational material.

That designation means audiovisual items can be shipped duty-free to many countries, thus improving their sales.

--mw, jm & gb

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