Federal File: Rumor Control; Fly Me To The Moon, Cont.

November 07, 1984 2 min read

Will Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell submit his resignation shortly after this week’s Presidential election? The New York Times says so, but a high ranking Education Department official says that according to the prevailing rumor at 400 Maryland Ave. S.W., the answer is “no.”

An item in the Times’s “Washington Talk” column last Friday, citing unnamed Administration sources, reported that Mr. Bell will be among the first Cabinet members to step down following the election. The leading candidates to replace him, according to the Times’s sources, are John R. Silber, the president of Boston University, and William J. Bennett, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Knowing the Secretary’s personality, I’d say that if this story is a plant, it’s exactly the kind of thing that would make him want to stay,” a top Education Department official said last Friday.

According to the official, “a lot of people here feel that Bell and [Undersecretary of Education Gary L.] Jones plan to stay for a year or so, but there are those who see straws in the wind indicating that they won’t.”

The official said that the Secretary has never shared his personal plans for the future with him. “He’s wavered about it,” the official said. “To me, it seems to be a day-to-day thing with him.”

In an interview with Education Week in early September, Mr. Bell said, “I just haven’t had time” to think about private post-Election Day plans. He added that he would have to make a decision “before very long” and indicated that he would wait until after the election to decide what he would do.

Wanted: A teacher who, after a minimum of five years of classroom experience, still has relatively low blood pressure and can still hear whispered speech from three feet. Must be willing to travel. Applications will be accepted from Dec. 1, 1984, to Feb. 1, 1985.

Although they’re not likely to appear in quite that form, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will publish early this month those and other minimum requirements for its space-flight participation program, the goal of which is to put an American teacher into space. President Reagan announced the initiative before a group of educators in Washington on Aug. 27.

According to The Associated Press, Alan Ladwig, the nasa official in charge of the program, outlined the requirements late last month before a group of teachers in Huntsville, Ala.

According to Mr. Ladwig, the teacher chosen as the nation’s first non-astronaut, non-mission specialist in space must be able to adapt to flight conditions and be willing to contract with nasa for public appearances for one year following the flight. Medical requirements, he continued, include a blood-pressure level of less than 160 over 100 and the ability to hear someone whispering three feet away.

The names of the 10 finalists in the competition, he said, will be announced on a day noted for rockets’ red glare--the Fourth of July.--tm

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A version of this article appeared in the November 07, 1984 edition of Education Week as Federal File: Rumor Control; Fly Me To The Moon, Cont.