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Sidney P. Marland Jr., who served as the top U.S. education official in the Nixon Administration, died last week at his home in Hampton, Conn. He was 77.

As the U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1970 to 1972, and then as the first statutory assistant secretary of education in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, from 1972 to 1973, Mr. Marland helped develop and implement landmark education programs, including the National Institute of Education and Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, now known as Pell Grants.

He also helped establish career education, one of his major interests, as a high federal priority.

Following his tenure in Washington, Mr. Marland served as the president of the College Board from 1973 to 1978, during which, among other tasks, he created a commission to investigate the steep decline in Scholastic Aptitude Test scores.

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