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Federal File: Private concerns; Spring plansDenial

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Archbishop Francis B. Schulte of New Orleans, the newest member of President Bush's education advisory committee, chided the panel and the President at a meeting last week for ignoring the concerns of "schools that are publicly accountable in many ways, but are not publicly funded."

Archbishop Schulte asked if the national education goals adopted by Mr. Bush and the National Governors' Association were meant to apply to private schools.

Reading pointedly from passages in the goals document, he wondered if its calls for "restructuring the educational system" referred to the public system, and why the president and the governors backed only ''public-school choice."

"Will this committee concern itself" with private schools, the archbishop asked.

"I would attribute [any omissions in the goals document] to a drafting error, not to intent," said Paul H. O'Neill, chief executive officer of Alcoa and the panel's chairman.

"The relationship between public and private schools should be right up there on the agenda," added Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos.

Archbishop Schulte was named to the committee in December in response to private-school educators' complaints that they were not represented on it.

The President's scheduled May 4 speech at Oklahoma State University at Stillwater was the first of five commencement speeches he is to make this spring.

The President is also scheduled to make appearances this month at Liberty Baptist College, Lynchburg, Va.; the University of South Carolina, Columbia; Texas A & I University, Kingsville, Mr. Cavazos' alma mater; and the University of Texas, Austin.

The Miami Herald recently reported that Leonard L. Haynes 3rd, the assistant secretary for postsecondary education, told students at a historically black college: "It's dangerous to entrust the education of minorities to white people."

James Moore, Mr. Haynes's spokesman, said the assistant secretary denied making such a statement at Florida Memorial College in Miami, where he spoke at a commencement ceremony April 28. Mr. Moore said the president of the college plans to write a letter to the Herald supporting that denial.

Mr. Haynes believes there is a great need for more minority teachers and that minority students should not be taught solely by white educators, Mr. Moore said. But Mr. Haynes did not "demean" white teachers, he added.--j.m.

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