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Emerson J. Elliott, the former commissioner of education statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, has joined the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. He is the director of the standards-setting effort of ncate's New Professional Teacher Project. The project will create performance standards for teacher preparation and will also convene state forums to promote those standards in teacher-preparation institutions and in state licensing systems.... Joan Ganz Cooney, the founder of the Children's Television Workshop, which created "Sesame Street," and Peggy Charren, the founder of Action for Children's Television and an advocate for improved children's programming, are among 12 people who will receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Others slated for the honor include former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and William T. Coleman Jr., a former U.S. transportation secretary and chairman of the board of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. All will receive the medal at a White House ceremony Sept. 28.

John T. MacDonald will head a new Center for State Leadership established by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Mr. MacDonald is a former assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education in the U.S. Department of Education and a former state commissioner of education in New Hampshire. The center will allow the Washington-based council to better coordinate the work of state leaders and agency staff members with other organizations.

The Manhattan Institute, a public-policy organization based in New York City, has named Lawrence J. Mone its president. Mr. Mone has been the acting president of the institute since William Hammett resigned early this year. The institute works to help shape policy, particularly in the areas of educational, legal, and welfare reform. ... The Chicago school district has appointed Maribeth Vander Weele, a former investigative reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times, as its director of investigations. Ms. Vander Weele is the author of Reclaiming Our Schools: The Struggle for Chicago School Reform.

--Adrienne D. Coles

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