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Federal File: Titles; Cavazos comments; Presidential confession

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Washington reporters have been wondering whether they should address Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander as "Mr. Secretary," or as "Governor," in deference to his two terms as the chief executive of Tennessee. Most have settled on "Governor."

Governor Roy Romer of Colorado, chairman of the National Education Goals Panel, has apparently pondered this issue, too. He asked at a recent meeting of the panel which title the Secretary would prefer.

"I don't know," replied Mr. Alexander, assuming a thoughtful expression.

"I guess my name would be all right," he said. "'Lamar' would probably be the best thing."

That presumably applies to governors, not to reporters.

Mr. Alexander's predecessor, Lauro F. Cavazos, has reportedly criticized at least one component of the new education strategy drafted by the current Secretary.

The Associated Press reported that Mr. Cavazos argued against a national test, contending that such tests are often culturally biased.

Ironically, Mr. Cavazos made the argument on Mr. Alexander's old turf, while addressing the Tennessee College Association in Nashville.

He also said he learned during his stint in Washington that "nobody listens to the Secretary of Education." Mr. Alexander, who has garnered impressive media coverage, might disagree.

According to news reports from his home state of Texas, Mr. Cavazos has formally resigned his teaching post at Texas Tech University and plans to spend his time on the speaking trail.

President Bush may have some trouble delivering on his promise to become computer- literate as part of his education campaign.

In a speech last week at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Mr. Bush admitted that he isn't a scientific whiz--and that he dropped out of a physics course at Yale University after only one day.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Alexander were in Annapolis to honor a service program in which academy cadets tutor students at Banneker High School in Washington.

Mr. Bush's memory may also need some help.

In a speech last week at a meeting on mathematics assessment, the President repeatedly referred to his education strategy as "Education 2000." Its title is actually "America 2000."


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