Federal file: She's back; Time's up; Kudos

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A former Education Department official, who left the agency two years ago amid a storm of controversy, is again in government employ.

Shirley Curry, who was director of ed's recognition division during the Reagan Administration, was accused of twice manipulating review processes to prevent the award of a National Dissemination Network grant to a Holocaust-education program.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development last week confirmed that Ms. Curry was hired in April to work in its office of resident initiatives, which oversees Secretary Jack F. Kemp's top priority--efforts to encourage self-help among public-housing residents by giving them management control or ownership.

Ms. Curry is being paid $61,643 a year--more than she made at ed

Her treatment of "Facing History" drew widespread media attention in 1987 when one member of a panel reviewing programs' "appropriateness" said the program failed to represent the viewpoints of the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

The department was forced to drop the "appropriateness" review, but "Facing History" was again denied funding in 1988 when Ms. Curry declined to fund any applicants in the history category. It finally won a grant in 1989.

With Deputy Secretary David Kearns in tow, Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander appeared last week to testify on economic competitiveness and education reform before the House Ways and Means Committee.

But the Secretary was preempted when remarks by Richard A. Gephardt, the House majority leader, sparked a two-and-a-half hour debate over economic statistics and middle-class income trends.

Mr. Alexander took the witness chair 90 minutes later than scheduled--and 15 minutes before his next appointment.

Representative Dan Rostenkowski, the Illinois Democrat who chairs the panel, excused Mr. Alexander and Mr. Kearns, thanking them and expressing hope that they had learned something.

President Bush's education efforts earned a plaudit from an unexpected source last week.

Anerood Jugnauth, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, chose to discuss education at a White House ceremony, noting that his country has "one of the highest literacy rates in the world."

"A lot of our success comes from our dedication to educating our people," he said. "We, therefore, applaud your efforts as the Education President."

--jm & jw

Vol. 10, Issue 38

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