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Published in Print: March 12, 2003, as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Hickok Adds Role as Interim K-12 Chief

Undersecretary of Education Eugene W. Hickok is adding to his responsibilities, following the resignation in January of the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

Mr. Hickok will now become acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, while retaining his current, higher-ranking position, according to a statement by the Department of Education.

He will continue to lead implementation of the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001, as he has done since the measure was adopted. The office of elementary and secondary education had been reporting to Mr. Hickok for about a year, the statement said. The OESE coordinates programs aimed at improving elementary and secondary education, helps ensure equal access to those services, and provides financial help to local education agencies.

Mr. Hickok, for now, replaces the former assistant secretary, Susan B. Neuman. He will serve in the acting capacity until President Bush nominates, and the Senate confirms, a new assistant secretary.

—Michelle R. Davis

Lawmaker to Propose Federal Leash on Tuition

Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., has said he plans to introduce congressional legislation shortly that would penalize higher education institutions that raise their tuition by more than two times the rate of inflation in a single year.

As envisioned by Mr. McKeon, schools that exceeded that threshold would be required to submit statements explaining the increases to the federal government, and draw up strategic plans for holding down prices. If the schools' increases were not reduced below two times the inflation rate within a year, they would face the loss of eligibility for federal financial assistance.

"I'm a conservative," Rep. McKeon said in an interview, "and I don't think we should be getting involved in setting tuition." But the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness argued that "right now, we're pricing people out of the market."

The proposal drew sharp opposition from the American Council on Education, an influential Washington organization representing 1,800 college and universities. Its government- relations director, Becky Timmons, called the plan an "anathema to the free market," and said that colleges already were striving to keep down tuition, despite cuts in state funding.

—Sean Cavanagh

Vol. 22, Issue 26, Page 27

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