News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

September 04, 2002 5 min read
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Web Site Offers Help For Medicaid Filing

Special educators now have a place on the Web to help them navigate the complicated process of collecting Medicaid reimbursement for their students.

The site, actually a page on an existing Web site called, went on line in August. The “Knowledge Base on Special Education and Medicaid” offers information for educators on the laws that cover Medicaid and special education, what services Medicaid reimburses, and how to document these services to collect Medicaid reimbursement.

It also features links to some states’ Medicaid offices for further information.

Though schools are entitled to reimbursement for services provided to Medicaid-eligible special education students, some educators don’t bother collecting, or file incorrectly for reimbursement, because the process is so complicated and time consuming. (“Medicaid Money Goes Untapped by Many Schools,” May 8, 2002.)

The Web site was created by the Department of Education’s Region VII Comprehensive Center at the University of Oklahoma.

—Lisa Fine Goldstein

Study: Rural Schools Offer Fewer Voc. Ed. Courses

Rural high schools offer fewer vocational courses in the fastest-growing professions than their suburban and urban counterparts do, a study has found.

The report, “Vocational Education Offerings in Rural High Schools,” issued by the National Center for Education Statistics, says that rural schools gave high school pupils a choice of 3.7 different kinds of career-related classes on average, while students in nonrural schools had a chance to take an average of 4.8 such vocational courses.

The study relied on a 1999 survey of schools, and took information from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the fastest-growing fields. The up-and-coming jobs found most often in urban settings included computer and electronic technicians, computer programmers, nurses, dental assistants, and teachers’ aides.

Rural schools offered courses in fewer of those areas, the study concludes, but generally equaled urban schools in offering classes for veterinary assistants and emergency medical technicians.

To view the NCES study, visit the agency’s Web site at

—Sean Cavanagh

Florida College System Says D’Amico Was Finalist for Job

One of the Department of Education’s top administrators was in the running, but did not land a job overseeing Florida’s community college system.

Carol D’Amico, who currently serves as the Education Department’s assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, was a finalist for the position of chancellor of the Florida Community College System, officials said in a statement last month. A review team instead recommended the hiring of J. David Armstrong Jr. for the position.

In an e-mail to her staff, Ms. D’Amico said Florida officials contacted her about the job and that in the end she had withdrawn her name from consideration.

Mr. Armstrong, who had served within the system since 1988 and more recently as interim chancellor, officially got the job Aug. 29. The other finalist for the position was Jack E. Daniels III, the president of the Houston Community College System in Texas.

—Sean Cavanagh

NSF Grant Aims to Seed Improved Research

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $6 million grant to a Chicago research group to build on the results of successful education research.

Under the terms of the five-year grant, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago will synthesize findings from research on promising reading, mathematics, and science programs, and stimulate new research that expands on those findings to help researchers “scale up” promising programs.

The center is concentrating for now on findings emerging from the Interagency Educational Research Initiative, a 3-year-old research program run collaboratively by the NSF, the Department of Education, and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Barbara L. Schneider, one of two principal investigators for the project, said her group would identify key features from some of those successful programs and help researchers share them with others through seminars and workshops.

—Debra Viadero

Interim Official Named For Student-Aid Office

A veteran of the first Bush administration has been named to a top position in the federal student-aid office of the Department of Education, on an interim basis.

James F. Manning was appointed the interim chief operating officer for the office in August. He replaces Greg Woods, the first person ever to hold the position, who announced in May that he was leaving for medical reasons.

As chief operating officer for the student-aid office, Mr. Manning will oversee an operation that assists in the delivery of financial aid and services to students and to colleges and universities. Agency officials credited Mr. Woods, in the job since 1998, with supporting major technological innovations in student aid, and dividing the office into “channels” or divisions serving students, higher education institutions, and financial companies.

Mr. Manning previously worked at the Education Department from 1989 to 1993 as the chief of staff and deputy assistant secretary in the office of elementary and secondary education. He returned to the agency in 2001 as chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of Education William D. Hansen.

—Sean Cavanagh

Texas School Is Named For First Lady Laura Bush

After Laura Bush’s 19 months in the East Wing and her past service as a teacher and librarian, a Texas school district is immortalizing the first lady in bricks and mortar.

Mrs. Bush took a day off from the first family’s Crawford, Texas, vacation on Aug. 22 to tour the new Laura Welch Bush Elementary School in the hills northwest of Austin. The school is the 11th elementary school in the 16,700-student Leander Independent School District.

Oddly, given the swirling controversy over Iraq, the suburban system also boasts a Bagdad Elementary School. The 4-year-old school, however, is named after a community from that area, not Saddam Hussein’s capital. Hence the missing “h.”

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Mrs. Bush’s predecessor in the White House, has yet to be so honored. But Barbara Bush has four public schools named in her honor—three of them in Texas. Among other relatively recent first ladies, according to Department of Education records, Eleanor Roosevelt’s name graces three schools, while one school each is named for Jacqueline Kennedy and Pat Nixon.

—Ben Wear


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