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The West Virginia schools chief is riding the political fallout from his decision to overrule the nominations froma state teachers' group for a national award.

Both Gov. Gaston Caperton and Audrey S. Horne, the president of the state board of education, gave a vote of confidence last month to Superintendent Henry Marockie.

The endorsements followed speculation that the schools chief might lose his job over charges that he shuffled the nominations to give a close friend the nod for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching.

Mr. Marockie has apologized publicly and resubmitted the original nominations, but he says he did nothing wrong.

The education department always appoints an internal committee to review national nominations and to insure that candidates with state leadership are selected, said Kim Nuzum, Mr. Marockie's spokeswoman.

The West Virginia Education Association reportedly has asked the state ethics commission to investigate the matter. A union spokesman would say only that it had been in touch with the commission about the matter.

Chelsea Clinton is not the only First Daughter whose move to a private school raised a few hackles. Just ask Arne Carlson.

The Republican Governor of Minnesota puzzled some supporters of public education in his state by announcing that he intends to send his daughter Jessica to a private academy in the fall.

Jessica Carlson had been attending a public school in the Twin Cities suburb where the Governor and his family lived before he started his first term in 1991.

This fall, however, Governor Carlson is expected to pay about $8,600 when Jessica enters the 7th grade at Mounds Park Academy in Maplewood. The school has state-of-the-art facilities and an 11-to-1 student-teacher ratio.

The Governor's staff has brushed off questions from several education groups about his commitment to public schools, saying his decision is a private matter.

His critics point out that Mr. Carlson is also backing a school-voucher plan that would give parents some public funds to send their children to schools such as Mounds Park.

--Drew Lindsay & Joanna Richardson

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