Cavazos, Bennett, and Bell: First Steps

By Julie A. Miller — June 21, 1989 1 min read

Following is a summary of the early initiatives of Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos and his two Reagan Administration predecessors.

Mr. Cavazos

  • A well-received package of regulatory, legislative, and administrative measures designed to reduce student-loan defaults.
  • A set of initiatives aiming to promote parental choice.
  • A package of programs drafted in conjunction with the White House, including a merit schools program, alternative-certification grants, and awards for excellent teachers.
  • A proposal for reauthorization of vocational-education programs.
  • A proposal to allow school districts to pool funds from separate federal programs.
  • The department has also launched a joint study of problems in Indian education with the Interior Department, a report to the President on the state of American education, and a model-curriculum project.
  • William J. Bennett

    • A proposal to distribute Chapter 1 aid through parental vouchers.

  • Regulations tightening student-loan rules.
  • A plan to reorganize the department’s research functions.
  • A proposal to allow bilingual-education funds to flow to programs that do not use students’ native languages.
  • Mr. Bennett also campaigned for tuition tax credits, launched a major study of elementary education, and gave speeches on his theme of “content, character, and choice.”
  • Terrel H. Bell

    • Withdrawal of regulations that would have mandated native-language instruction for limited-English-proficient children.
  • A plan to consolidate many education programs into block grants.
  • A proposal to limit student loans to low-income families.
  • A new policy allowing the resolution of civil-rights violations without a formal finding of wrongdoing.
  • A proposal for replacing ed with a downsized foundation.
  • Appointment of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, the panel that eventually produced A Nation at Risk.