Bennett Presses 'Choice' Issue

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Washington--Secretary of Education William J. Bennett has stepped up his campaign for tuition tax credits and education vouchers, voicing his support in a speech to Catholic educators and appointing an aide specifically to handle issues of "parental choice."

Mr. Bennett, speaking last Wednesday at the National Catholic Educational Association's annual convention in St. Louis, said: "We have yet to fashion public education in order to provide the particular choices that parents need. This is the educational challenge that faces Americans during the balance of the 20th century."

Choice "is the key that will open the door to a better education for all the children," the Secretary added.

Tax-credit and voucher legislation will probably be sent to Capitol Hill by late April or early May, said Harry Phillips, director of Congressional services at the Education Department.

Meanwhile, Lawrence A. Uzzell, a conservative activist and former Education Department official and Congressional aide, has returned to the department to work on issues of parental choice in the office of the undersecretary. The office will soon be headed by Gary L. Bauer, currently the deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation.

Mr. Uzzell, whose return to the department early this month was not publicly announced, said in an interview that he is officially a consultant and as yet has no title. "Choice is certainly my thing," he said of his new assignment.

Mr. Uzzell has been president of Learn Inc., a private research firm specializing in education issues.

In 1982, he was ousted by former Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell as deputy director of the National Institute of Education--along with Edward A. Curran, the former nie director, now chairman-designate of the National Endowment for the Humanities--for advocating the abolition of the nie--jh

Vol. 04, Issue 30

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