The staff director of the newly reconstituted U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has confirmed that she will exert greater control over the content of Perspectives, the panel's quarterly journal.
"People have known since the day that I arrived that the magazine would be one of my greatest interests," said Linda Chavez in a recent interview. The former special assistant to the President of the American Federation of Teachers, Albert Shanker, noted that "publications were always an interest of mine at aft"
Before becoming Mr. Shanker's assistant, Ms. Chavez had served as editor of the union's newspaper and magazine for several years.
Ms. Chavez, a Reagan Administration appointee who has called for a re-examination of the panel's longstanding policies on remedies for discrimination, said she has been "frustrated by the fairly narrow spectrum of ideas" in the journal.
"I think it would be healthy to broaden that spectrum," she said.
Commission staff members say it is rumored that Ms. Chavez has invited William Bradford Reynolds, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, to write an article.
A spokesman for the agency said last week that it is unclear when the next edition of Perspectives, which has a circulation of 25,000, will roll off the presses.
Extending a Hand
Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell recently announced that the Education Department had joined in a "partnership" with a public elementary school located in the agency's southwest Washington neighborhood.
According to Mr. Bell, the department's adoption of the Amidon Elementary School will be "a fruitful experience [for] the department's employees, the Amidon staff, and most important of all, the students attending Amidon."
Pauline S. Hamlette, principal of the 425-student school, said Amidon's major needs include: volunteers to tutor students in reading and mathematics; the expansion and enrichment of the school's library; and musical and other equipment.
Last October, President Reagan urged government units and private businesses each to adopt one of the nation's more than 100,000 schools and community colleges. The White House staff at that time formed a partnership with the Congress Heights Elementary School near Capitol Hill.
The school has since been renamed the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, a move that may well have piqued some in the White House. The President reportedly was not enthusiastic about signing the law that made the birthday of the civil-rights leader a national holiday.
Unfurling a Winner
Last year, the Education Department gave six-foot by four-foot "excellence in education" flags to the winners of Secretary Bell's Secondary School Recognition Program.
The idea must have gone over well. The word from the White House is that the department and the President's office on private-sector initiatives are working up another flag for corporations and organizations that form partnerships with schools.
Oliver's Successor Named
Maureen E. Corcoran, a former lawyer for the Health and Human Services Department, was recently named acting general counsel of the Education Department.
If her nomination is approved by the Senate, Ms. Corcoran would replace Daniel Oliver as the agency's top lawyer.
Mr. Oliver, now general counsel of the Agriculture Department, left the department last November following several disagreements with Secretary Bell.
As a law student (she was a 1979 graduate of the Hastings College of Law), Ms. Corcoran worked for Secretary of the Interior William P. Clark, who was then a California Supreme Court justice.
Signals Left Unsent
Morton C. Blackwell, a White House liaison to "New Right" groups who resigned earlier this month to work with conservative organizations, recently sought unsuccessfully to have the White House side publically with the Faith Christian School in Louisville, Neb., according to recent press reports.
The Rev. Everett Sileven, Faith Christian's founder, has received much publicity for ignoring a court order to close the school for lack of certified teachers and failing to follow state curriculum standards.
Several fathers of Faith Christian pupils were charged with contempt of court and jailed last November because they refused to answer a judge's questions about the school.
Nebraska officials are now hunting for nine other fathers and Rev. Sileven, who have fled the state.
Last month, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights made headlines across the nation when he traveled to Nebraska to look into the dispute over the school.
The press, however, focused less on Clarence M. Pendleton Jr.'s findings than it did on a statement by an unnamed White House official that the rights panel was being used as a surrogate for the President.
According to a story in The Washington Post, the official said, "Now that we have the civil-rights commission on our side, we can make use of them to run some interference for us."
The alleged comment prompted the panel during its first meeting to send a letter to the White House reaffirming its independence "from all outside wishes and pressures."
Later during the meeting, the commissioners sent a similar letter to Walter F. Mondale, the Democratic Presidential aspirant, for good measure.
During the recent televised debate between the eight Democratic contenders for the Presidency, Mr. Mondale said that, if elected, he would fire all of Mr. Reagan's appointees to the panel and hire back all of those whom the President fired from it.--tm & tt
Vol. 03, Issue 19