Federal File: Back to school; Togetherness Division

May 23, 1990 1 min read

One of the things William J. Bennett liked most about being Secretary of Education was visiting schools, something he doesn’t do much of as the federal “drug czar.”

But Mr. Bennett got an opportunity last week to stop by a school in Rochester, N.Y., to see in action some of the ideas he espoused in James Madison Elementary School.

When a committee of educators at School #12 evaluated its social-studies program, they were impressed by Mr. Bennett’s model curriculum, Principal Barbara Wager said. She thinks implementing it helped the school win a state excellence award.

Mr. Bennett expressed excitement about the visit in a recent interview, and said he was somewhat nostalgic for the Education Department.

“I’ve gone from the American dream to the American nightmare,” he said.

The inseparability of the current Secretary, Lauro F. Cavazos, and his wife, Peggy, is attracting media attention.

The May 21 issue of U.S. News and World Report carries an item about Mrs. Cavazos’ proclivity for following her husband virtually wherever he goes--and her involvement in his official activities.

The item said the couple flies on Trans World Arlines, even when that requires a detour, because their son Tomas works for twa and Mrs. Cavazos can fly on it for free. This assertion surfaced last month in a Washington Times gossip column, which said CBS News was investigating it.

E.d officials say CBS has requested travel records.

It is well known among staff and observers that Mrs. Cavazos spends a great deal of time at e.d. and is one of her husband’s most important advisers.

Mr. Cavazos has refused to discuss his wife’s activities, and she has declined interviews.

Two Hispanic groups nearly resigned from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights last week over its failure to endorse repeal of 1985 immigration-law provisions that penalize employers who hire illegal aliens.

The National Council of La Raza and the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund cited findings by the General Accounting Office that a pattern of job bias against Hispanic citizens had emerged.

When the naacp and the afl-cio refused to back them at an executive-committee meeting, leaders of the Hispanic groups said they would resign from the umbrella group, but were persuaded to reconsider.

An naacp panel later endorsed repeal, leaving the afl-cio alone in opposition.


A version of this article appeared in the May 23, 1990 edition of Education Week as Federal File: Back to school; Togetherness Division