Class Portrait, Nader Style
Profiles of 100 of the Reagan Administration's top officials, viewed from the government-watchdog perspective of Ralph Nader, have been collected in a new book that Mr. Nader unveiled at a news conference last week.
The volume's title tells all: Reagan's Ruling Class is an Administration "dominated by white male millionaires," many of whom used to work for the industries they are now charged with regulating, the book contends.
The authors, two Nader employees, had hardly a kind word for the non-millionaire Secretary of Education, Terrel H. Bell, whose department's policy was described as "being dictated almost completely by the President and [Office of Management and Budget]."
The Secretary, who declined to grant an interview to the authors, was said by Mr. Nader to be a likely candidate for early departure from the Administration. "Bell is in a phase-out process," he said. His full personality and vigor don't come out."
Support for Busing Policy
Samuel R. Pierce Jr., the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was among the officials who did grant the Nader researchers an interview. Mr. Pierce, the only black Cabinet member, was quoted as saying the President had made several "mistakes" on civil rights, such as the decision to support federal tax exemptions for schools that have been accused of practicing racial discrimination.
But the Administration's anti-busing policy was not a mistake, Mr. Pierce said. "You'll find that a lot of black people don't like busing. ... I do know that people don't like to go a great number of miles everyday. They don't like to get their kids up at six in the morning in order to get them to school by 8:30 or whatever it is. They feel as though it is very hard on their children. Black people feel that," he told the interviewers.
The National Institute of Education, a center of controversy earlier this year after its director was fired in a policy dispute with the Secretary of Education, is the subject of a new direct-mail fund-raising campaign.
The campaign seeks not to promote educational research but to abolish the $53-million agency. Public-spirited citizens are being asked to ''take out your checkbook right now" and send money to help an effort by a group called Public Advocate to lobby against the institute--which "gave our tax dollars to a sex educator," is the darling of "radical, left-wing feminists," and is staffed by "anti-family bureaucrats."
"U.S. Department of Education" is included in the bold letterhead, presumably because the mere mention of that agency is sufficient to cause a rash of check-writing. ("Not printed at government expense" appears in small print.) The package also includes a postcard on which contributors are asked to write "Terrel Bell should be fired!"
The letter is signed by Lawrence A. Uzzell, the former special assistant to the institute's director. Mr. Uzzell, who was permitted wide latitude in crafting policy papers for the agency during his brief tenure, is reportedly displeased at the firing of his former boss by Secretary Bell.
... Or Armed Invasion
More changes in the works for the National Institute of Education: The head of the office that oversees the institute, Donald J. Senese, is moving his entire staff from the Education Department's main building near the Capitol to the nie's downtown office.
Mr. Senese has also ordered the transfer of the National Center for Education Statistics from its suburban Maryland location to the nie building.
Staff members of the institute say they presume that their boss wants to keep his eye on their activities. But an aide to Mr. Senese says that the move is related to improving management efficiency. Mr. Senese, she said, believes his staff should work together with the staff of the nie --Eileen White
Vol. 02, Issue 01