Bush To Keep Cavazos as Education Secretary

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President-elect George Bush announced last week that he would retain Lauro F. Cavazos as secretary of education.

"I've spoken with Larry Cavazos about my commitment to being the education President," Mr. Bush said at a news conference. "The commitment to excellence in education is one he shares."

Mr. Cavazos, formerly the president of Texas Tech University, succeeded William J. Bennett when he stepped down in September. Speculation on whether he would be retained had been rife since Mr. Bush's Presidential victory.

The President-elect also announced that he would retain Richard L. Thornburgh as attorney general and named Richard G. Darman, who served in the White House and the Treasury Department during the Reagan Administration, to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Mr. Cavazos has made the problems of minority and disadvantaged students, particularly their high dropout rates, the main theme of his interviews and speeches as Secretary, and has indicated that he would continue to pursue that theme.

Mr. Bush said he had spelled out "certain objectives" for Mr. Cavazos, among them implementing campaign proposals like "greater rewards for excellent teachers, making higher education more accessible to families of low and middle incomes, establishing magnet schools and merit schools, and encouraging alternate teaching certification, to name a few."

Choice Called 'Optimum'

In answer to a question, Mr. Bush said he and Mr. Cavazos "are both agreed" that the concept of educational vouchers "offers enormous opportunity."

"Whether we can implement a full system right away in that regard, I don't know," Mr. Bush said. "But I am one who thinks that parental choice is the optimum thing to encourage excellence in education."

Mr. Cavazos had refused to state an opinion on the issue of vouchers in a recent interview, saying that it "is not an issue that's been on my desk here lately."

Mr. Bush denied having influenced President Reagan to appoint Mr. Cavazos or Mr. Thornburgh, as was widely rumored.

"On the Cavazos appointment, a coming fellow Texan, and having known Larry, I was an enthusiastic endorser of someone else's idea," Mr. Bush said. "I wish I could have taken credit for it."

The appointment was seen by many as an attempt to woo Hispanic voters, and Mr. Cavazos spent considerable time campaigning for Mr. Bush in the Southwest. By retaining Mr. Cavazos, he fulfills a campaign promise to have a Hispanic in the Cabinet.

'A Positive Tone'

Education organizations, pleased with Mr. Cavazos' openness toward them and his pledges to fight for healthy education budgets, had urged Mr. Bush to keep him on.

"During his brief time in office, Mr. Cavazos has already set a positive tone at the Education Department," the National Education Association said in a statement last week. "There is a new atmosphere of good will and cooperation that was clearly lacking under his predecessor."

Vol. 8, Issue 13, Page 13

Published in Print: November 30, 1988, as Bush To Keep Cavazos as Education Secretary
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