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The Education Department cannot cut off aid to school districts under some of its largest programs even if a district official has been barred from receiving federal funds on account of fraud or other serious misconduct, the department has decided.

However, "debarred" individuals could not participate in managing the program and the agency could move to recover a district's aid if any of it was used to pay them, according to rules published April 18 as part of the department's regulations for the Chapter 2 block-grant program.

Governmentwide "debarment" regulations give federal agencies wide authority to place on a blacklist individuals and institutions for infractions ranging from default on a government loan to a criminal conviction for defrauding the government.

They are then ineligible to receive federal aid or work on federal programs, and an individual or an institution doing business with them could also be placed on the list. (See Education Week, Feb. 21, 1990.)

But the regulations exempt awards mandated by law for eligible individuals, such as Social Security or welfare payments. And the Education Department interprets that exemption to also cover such programs as Chapter 2, whose funds are distributed among states and then among school districts, based on statutory funding formulas.

This exemption would also apply to other formula-driven programs, such as Chapter 1 compensatory-education aid. It would not apply to such programs as bilingual education, under which grants are made competitively and not by statutory guarantee.

Education Secretary Lauro F. Cavazos has named John W. Tippeconnic 3rd, who served as the associate deputy commissioner of Indian education during the Carter Administration, to head the Education Department's office of Indian education.

Mr. Tippeconnic, a member of the Comanche tribe who is also part Cherokee, is an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Arizona State University. He also directs the university's Center for Indian Education.

A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Mr. Tippeconnic holds a doctorate in educational administration from Pennsylvania State University. He has served as a vice president of Navajo Community College and has taught in elementary and junior high schools.

Mr. Tippeconnic was considered the leading candidate for the post among three names submitted to Secretary Cavazos by the National Advisory Council on Indian Education late last year.

But Mr. Cavazos rejected the list--in a decision that some observers charged was politically motivated--forcing the advisory council to reopen its search.

Jo Jo Hunt, the council's executive director, said Mr. Tippeconnic turned out to be the organization's "top choice" for the post in the second search as well.

A pending Senate bill that aims to improve mathematics and science education is underfunded and too broad, several educators said at a recent hearing.

S 2114 would authorize about $125 million in spending during its first fiscal year and would create 25 programs administered by four agencies, including grants to regional research-and-dissemination consortia, fellowships, high-school academies, and "roving master teachers."

"The amount proposed is very small for this overly ambitious bill," Richard Atkinson, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, told the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources April 19.

Hans O. Anderson, president of the National Science Teachers' Association, agreed that the bill is "too fragmented," and also said it "tends to reinforce the incorrect notion" that only an elite group of students needs to study science.

"The real problem is to immerse all of our population in science and engineering education at an early age and keep all of our population in the process of learning science and technology at least through high school," he said, thereby increasing the pool of students interested in pursuing science careers.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who is the chairman of the panel and the primary sponsor of the bill, acknowledged that it might be too broad and "overly prescriptive."

He said the committee would hold another hearing in Boston before marking up the bill later this month.

Vol. 09, Issue 32

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