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Published in Print: September 4, 1991, as Federal File: In or out?; Name game; Political review

Federal File: In or out?; Name game; Political review

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Observers are wondering about the fate of Emerson Elliott, the acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics.

A 1988 contracting authority, required a permanent appointment by June. "I fear that by trying to make this office more independent, we may have politicized it," said a Republican House aide.

At a briefing on the department's back-to-school statistical forecast last week, the Secretary certainly treated Mr. Elliott like someone who would be staying on.

But it was Diane Ravitch, the new assistant secretary for educational research and improvement, who piped up after three reporters addressed him as "Mr. Emerson."

"I'd hate to see him immortalized as 'Elliott Emerson,'" she said.

The author of a federal report linking poverty to mental retardation and learning disability in some children has charged that the report's release may have been delayed because its conclusions are "politically incorrect."

Alfred Baumeister, the Vanderbilt University researcher who wrote the report for the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, asked for an investigation after learning that Bush Administration officials, in reviewing the report, had labeled some of its statements "Marxist."

Sambhu Banik, the committee's executive director, said he had been equally "shocked, saddened, and outraged" by the comments, written by staff of the U.S. Office of Policy and Planning. But he denied that politics had delayed the report. --J.M. & D.V.

Vol. 11, Issue 01, Page 1

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