News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

April 17, 2002 2 min read

Paige Wants College Presidents To Make Ed. Research a Priority

Secretary of Education Rod Paige has vowed to ask college and university presidents to elevate the lowly status of education research on their campuses.

“Education research must be the highest calling in our universities,” Mr. Paige told researchers attending the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, held April 1-5 in New Orleans.

Mr. Paige’s remarks were aimed in part at drumming up support from the group for the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which makes “scientifically based research” a key principle. The Washington-based group represents around 23,000 researchers worldwide, and some of them believe the new law defines education research too narrowly. Among the researchers’ fears is that, for a field that they say has historically suffered from inadequate federal funding and a lack of prestige, the bar may be too high to meet.

“I know the challenges you have back home,” Mr. Paige, who was once an education-school dean himself, told the group on April 5. “I know that too many universities use colleges of education as cash cows for other activities.”

—Debra Viadero

Bush Outlines National Service Plans

President Bush last week unveiled his principles for reauthorizing the organization that oversees the operations of the volunteer groups AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America.

Mr. Bush proposed that the Washington-based Corporation for National and Community Service give states more authority to select their own AmeriCorps programs. He also proposed that the corporation establish accountability systems for service organizations that receive federal money, including those run by the corporation itself.

Those accountability systems should include, in Mr. Bush’s view, clear goals that could be accurately evaluated for success or failure.

Mr. Bush also proposed that the stipend paid to AmeriCorps participants, which tops out at $4,700 for some in the program, be made exempt from federal income taxes.

The recommended changes are part of a package the president sent to Congress last week as proposed legislation that he labeled the Citizen Service Act.

—Michelle Galley

Former Ambassador to Head HBCU Office

Leonard Spearman, 72, formerly the president of Texas Southern University in Houston and U.S. ambassador to two African countries, has been hired as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The initiative exists within the Department of Education and, among other duties, provides staff support for the White House in carrying out the HBCU initiative. According to the administration, Mr. Spearman will be the first former leader of a historically black college to direct the initiative.

Mr. Spearman was Texas Southern’s president from 1980 to 1988, then served as ambassador to Rwanda and then to Lesotho under President Reagan and the first President Bush. He has most recently been a professor of international affairs at Coppin State University in Baltimore.

—Ben Wear

A version of this article appeared in the April 17, 2002 edition of Education Week as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup