Federal File: Transitions; Ted's choice; Off the wall?

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Some Washington observers have suggested that the expected nomination of the education historian Diane Ravitch to a top Education Department post may have been held up because she is a Democrat.

Ms. Ravitch, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, was married until 1986 to Richard Ravitch, a politically active businessman who sought the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City in 1988.

Local election officials said that there is a Diane Ravitch who has been registered to vote in the city as a Democrat since 1972.

Ms. Ravitch did not return telephone calls last week.

Bush Administration officials confirmed in late March that she is slated to replace Christopher T. Cross as assistant secretary for educational research and improvement.

Last week, an Education Department official said the nomination should be announced soon, suggesting that observers think it was delayed because the information leaked out earlier in the process than usual.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cross has apparently found a new job.

He could not be reached for comment, but a source close to Mr. Cross said he had accepted an offer to oversee education programs for the Business Roundtable.

Aides to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, are apparently working on legislation to be offered as an alternative to the Administration's America 2000 plan.

Massachusetts educators who have been consulted by Mr. Kennedy's staff said the Senator plans to propose a school-choice program that does not include private schools and will contain safeguards to ensure that choice does not threaten racial desegregation.

The department's infamous wall chart may be dead.

Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander said last week that he had not yet decided whether to retain the seven-year-old annual compendium of state-level data on education funding and college-entrance-exam scores, which is usually released in May. But Administration officials said he is leaning against it.

Some officials urged its demise last year, arguing that educators and governors dislike it and that it would duplicate the "report card" being devised by the Administration and governors to measure progress toward national education goals.--j.m.

Vol. 10, Issue 35

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