News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

October 29, 1997 2 min read

Foundation Officer Picked To Head OERI

President Clinton last week tapped Cyril Kent McGuire to be the next head of research for the Department of Education.

Mr. McGuire’s permanent appointment as the assistant secretary for the office of educational research and improvement must be approved by the Senate.

Since 1995, Mr. McGuire has been the program officer for education grants for the Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based philanthropy that funds the publication of Education Week‘s annual report on the quality of education in the 50 states.

For four years before that, Mr. McGuire headed the education grantmaking division for the Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis foundation.

Sharon P. Robinson left the research post last year to become the vice president for state and federal relations of the Educational Testing Service, the Princeton, N.J., nonprofit company that administers the SAT and develops test items for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Since her departure, Ramon C. Cortines, a former chancellor of New York City public schools, was OERI’s acting chief. The job is now filled by Ricky Takai, a civil servant.

Congress Eyes Violence-Prevention Programs

Though it’s by far the best-known, the Department of Education’s safe and drug-free schools program was only one of 70 federal programs authorized as of 1995 to provide services aimed at preventing youth violence or substance abuse, according to the General Accounting Office.

Forty-eight of the programs were administered by either the Education Department or the Department of Health and Human Services, while the remainder were spread among 10 other federal agencies, the gao says in a report issued this month.

This system “creates the potential for inefficient services and ineffective use of funds,” the congressional watchdog agency says.

The government spent $2.4 billion on the 70 programs in fiscal 1995.

Republican leaders in Congress requested the GAO inquiry as they consider legislation to consolidate federal anti-drug-abuse and violence-prevention programs and transfer control of their funding to the states in the form of block grants.

“Safe and Drug-Free Schools: Balancing Accountability with State and Local Flexibility” is free from the U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013; (202) 512-6000.

Rural Schools Get Technology Money

Ten rural school districts have won $1.8 million in grants and $469,569 in loans to improve their distance-learning programs, Vice President Al Gore announced last week.

Districts in Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas will use the Department of Agriculture money to install telecommunications equipment to ensure teachers and students can access the Internet.

Hospitals and colleges will receive the balance of the $10.2 million available from the program created in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

HHS Awards Grants To Increase Adoptions

Forty federal demonstration grants, totaling $7.9 million, are going to public and private groups throughout the country that are working to increase adoptions and reduce the number of children in foster care.

The grants from the Department of Health and Human Services are part of President Clinton’s Adoption 2002 initiative, which seeks to double the number of children from the foster care system who are adopted or permanently placed by 2002.

Increasing the number of minority children adopted and examining kinship-care arrangements are just two of the strategies being used by the grantees.