Representative Augustus G. Hawkins, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, last week took the unusual step of blasting Joe Clark, the get-tough New Jersey principal, in the editorial pages of The New York Times.
Secretary of Education William J. Bennett has been among the most enthusiastic boosters of Mr. Clark, who walks the halls of his high school with a bullhorn and baseball bat.
But Mr. Hawkins said the principal's "actual achievements fall far short of the image of a miracle-working principal that the Administration and others have so assiduously cultivated.''
"If Mr. Clark's approach is widely adopted, many minority students will not get the education they deserve,'' the California Democrat added.
Mr. Clark's expulsion of difficult students has resulted in a dropout rate of more than 600 per year, according to Mr. Hawkins, who charged that "more than 3,600 students have been put out on the streets where they have no future.''
He also noted that the school's test scores are well below the average for other urban districts in the state, and that the turnover rate among its professional staff is high.
While Secretary Bennett has urged educators to promote traditional values, his wife, Elayne, has been practicing what he preaches.
Mrs. Bennett and Phyllis Magrab, a pediatrics professor, last week congratulated 75 11- to 13-year-old Washington girls who are the first graduates of a program the two women designed to promote abstinence from sex and drugs.
The program, dubbed "Best Friends,'' was backed by a $58,000 grant from the Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee. Mrs. Bennett has asked for an additional $90,000 to continue it, the Washington Post reported.
The Army will not be allowed to survey high-school students to determine what benefits would attract them to military service, if a recent decision by the Office of Management and Budget stands.
The Army planned to ask 15,000 students about their backgrounds, their academic records, and the desirability of such job benefits as free medical care and leadership opportunities.
The agency's office of information and regulatory affairs objected to the survey's methodology, although it was used in surveys approved in 1983 and 1986, according to the group OMB Watch. The Defense Department plans to contest the decision.--JM
Vol. 07, Issue 38