President Bush last week sprinkled references to education throughout a speech in which he sought to refute charges that he has paid too little attention to domestic issues.
Speaking before a hand-picked audience in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Bush criticized liberals for relying too heavily on government to solve domestic problems and conservatives for their overreliance on free-market policies.
"There is a better way, one that combines our efforts--those of a government properly defined, the marketplace properly understood, and service to others properly engaged," Mr. Bush said.
He lauded the Head Start preschool program as an example of "good government," and illustrated the private sector's role in solving social problems by praising companies that "are leaders of a revolution in American education."
Mr. Bush also echoed a theme sounded by Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander, saying: "The state of our nation is the state of our communities."
A "whole and good" community, he said, is one that "cares for the needs of its young people by building character, values, and good habits for life."
President Bush will nominate a Tennessee lawyer to be the Education Department's general counsel, the White House announced last week.
Jeffrey C. Martin, who has been acting as a consultant to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander, is a partner in the firm of Shek & Gardner.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Martin would succeed Edward C. Stringer, who was asked to resign by Mr. Alexander.
A bill that would create a council to study the "feasibility and desirability" of national standards and tests for students was headed for final approval in the Congress last week.
HR 2435 represents a compromise between members of the Congress who are wary of a national test and the Bush Administration and National Governors' Association, which argue that such a test would be beneficial. (See Education Week, June 12, 1991.)
The House passed the bill on a voice vote last week. A House-Senate conference committee combined it with S 64, which would establish a commission to study how schools use time.
Final votes were expected by early this week.
The Education Department has failed to supervise agencies that accredit postsecondary institutions for participation in student-aid programs, the department's Inspector General said in a recent report.
The ig's semiannual report to the Congress, covering the months between October 1990 and March 1991, said the department loses hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by backing loans to students who attend ineligible schools. Many of these students default on their loans, it added.
The report also called for improve8ments in the management of programs designed to assist disabled students, changes the ig claimed would save nearly $38 million annually.
The nation's two major teachers' unions and an organization of college professors announced last week that they have joined forces to seek more federal aid for higher education.
At a news conference, leaders of the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the American Association of University Professors said they will embark on an intensive lobbying and public-relations campaign to boost federal higher-education spending.
"Higher education is facing an unprecedented financial crisis," the groups asserted in a a prepared statement. "A decade of reduced federal support, combined with current severe state recessions, has put college and university budgets at risk. The massive and drastic cutbacks many state systems face this year will have consequences for a generation of Americans."