Federal File: Forgive, Forget; Cogito, Ergo; Last Word

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Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, who has crisscrossed the country for speaking engagements this month, was scheduled this week to make several appearances in Baton Rouge, La.--a city that another Education Department official found most unfriendly earlier this year.

That official, John D. Klenk, the director of planning and evaluation at the department, cancelled a speech there, rather than submit to demands from the state department of education--supported by the state affiliate of the National Education Association--to delete references to tuition-tax credits and education vouchers. (See Education Week, April 3, 1985.)

Mr. Bennett was to give the commencement speech at Louisiana State University, address a joint session of the state legislature, and talk to a gathering of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

"We were terribly embarrassed for the whole state" about the Klenk episode, said Jackie Ducote, vice president of the business group, which also made the initial arrangements for Mr. Bennett's address to the legislature.

Ms. Ducote said she hopes the Secretary "gets a better impression of Louisiana" than did Mr. Klenk. But that "wasn't the primary motivation" for setting up the additional appearances to follow the lsu commencement, his initial commitment in the area, she said.

She said the Secretary will provide an important voice in the state's push for education reform.

Last week, Mr. Bennett spoke in Charlotte, N.C., Denver, Boston, and Washington.

Mr. Bennett continues his eclectic choice of advisers, adding yet another philosopher to his personal staff.

Now comes Charles H. Karelis, the chairman of the philosophy department at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Mr. Karelis, who said last week that he will advise Mr. Bennett on a range of policy issues, concedes that he is "not exactly an old Washington hand."

Mr. Karelis, who graduated from Williams in 1966, a year after Mr. Bennett, has taught there since 1972. He earned a doctoral degree at Oxford University.

Permitted a one-year leave from the college, he will begin work next month for Mr. Bennett, who holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Texas and has taught the subject during his career in academe.

Anne M. Graham, assistant secretary of education for legislation and public affairs, has commented--belatedly--on a report appearing in the May 15 edition of Education Week that she had drafted a letter of resignation in anticipation of a Presidential appointment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In a one-sentence statement relayed by her spokesman last week, she called it "a bunch of baloney." Ms. Graham had failed to return several phone calls seeking comment before the initial report was published.--jh

Vol. 04, Issue 35

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