Advisory Councils Reshaped To Reflect Reagan's Policies
Washington--The Reagan Administration has begun replacing members of the Education Department's (ed) eight Presidential advisory committees--many of whose members were appointed by former President Jimmy Carter--with supporters of the current Administration's policies.
The removal of such advisers from office before their three- or four-year terms have expired runs counter to the policies of three previous Presidents, according to an ed official. Presidents Carter, Ford, and Nixon "filled vacancies [on the 15-to-21-member panels] as they occurred," Ann V. Bailey, the department's committee-management officer, said last week.
President Reagan is replacing both council members whose terms are expiring and those who have not completed their appointed terms. The White House personnel office, which has responsibility for naming the members of the eight advisory committees, already has ordered the removal from office of all the Presidentially appointed members of four committees, and President Reagan has nominated their replacements.
Advising the President
The committees involved are responsible for advising the President on adult education, continuing education, vocational education, and women's education programs.
Members of three other committees--which advise the President on school finance, the education of Indians, and the impact of federal programs on states and school districts--expect to be replaced soon, ed sources said.
In addition, the Administration has succeeded in preventing another committee, the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children, from having meetings or preparing publications. The panel advises on the Title I program.
Officials in the White House personnel office were said to be unavailable for comment last week.
The eight committees are among a total of 22 panels whose members serve as advisers to the department. All of the panels are charged with monitoring federal programs and compiling an annual report on the status of those programs, but only eight committees include members chosen by the President.
The remaining 14 committees are chosen by, and report to, the Secretary of Education. The current Secretary, Terrel H. Bell, has not fired any advisers before their terms of office have expired, according to Ms. Bailey.
At least two panels, the Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Education and the Title I panel, include members who have been outspoken critics of President Reagan's education policies.
The president of the American Federation of Teachers and the executive director of the National Education Association sit on the school-finance panel. Another member of that panel who has publicly opposed the Reagan Administration's public-education policies is Carolyn Warner, the Arizona state school superintendent.
Although the Administration has not yet taken action regarding that committee, the President has removed from office the chairman of the Title I panel, M. Hayes Mizell.
Mr. Mizell, the director of the Southeastern Public Education Program of the American Friends Service Committee, has so strongly opposed the President's attempt to reduce funding for the Title I program that he has testified against the Administration in a Congressional hearing.
After losing his post on March 24, Mr. Mizell wrote a letter to President Reagan claiming that "it is a badge of honor to be fired by your Administration."
ed officials have informed the committee's remaining members that without a chairman, they may not hold a meeting, said Alice Baum, the panel's executive director.
"We've also been told that no funds are available to print our annual report," Ms. Baum said.
In an interview last week, Ms. Baum said that at first she could not understand why the President removed Mr. Mizell from office, because the Title I panel is scheduled to terminate on June 30. That is the date for the start of the new federal program for disadvantaged children, Chapter I of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act.
She called the firing of Mr. Mizell "a very arduous way of preventing us from having another meeting and a very targeted way of silencing a critic."
Vol. 01, Issue 31