Federal File: Secretarial watch; Kudos?

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Maneuvering over President-elect Bill Clinton's choice for Secretary of Education continued at a stepped-up pace last week.

Mr. Clinton reportedly interviewed Donna E. Shalala, the University of Wisconsin chancellor who has been mentioned often as a possible Secretary. Ms. Shalala is the first likely candidate for that post spotted in Little Rock, Ark., where Mr. Clinton is working on the transition.

Another development last week came from the pulpit of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, where Cardinal John O'Connor announced that the Roman Catholic archdiocese there was not trying to block the possible nomination of Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez of New York City to the post.

Mr. Fernandez has expressed interest in being Secretary, but both The Washington Post and the New York Post have reported that New York Catholics are lobbying against the appointment.

Cardinal O'Connor said that if such an effort exists, "the archdiocese would have no part of it,'' according to The New York Times.

The cardinal has been at odds with Mr. Fernandez over condom distribution in the schools and a curriculum that teaches about homosexuality.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals, meanwhile, is calling for a Secretary with experience in precollegiate education.

In the December issue of the NASSP newsletter, Timothy J. Dyer, the group's executive director, recommends a Secretary who has been "baptized in the trenches.''

The current Secretary, Lamar Alexander, will receive the Theodore Roosevelt award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association next month.

The award is given annually to "a distinguished citizen'' who "earned a varsity athletics award in college'' and has "exemplified ... the ideals and purposes'' of college sports.

Mr. Alexander's spokeswoman said he ran the quarter mile and one leg of the quarter-mile relay on the track team at Vanderbilt University.

President Bush, on the other hand, got a less flattering award last week--the "Doublespeak Award,'' presented annually by the National Council of Teachers of English to public figures for using language the group deems deceptive.

The group cited Mr. Bush's pledge that "every parent and child should have a real choice of schools.''

Because the President's pilot voucher plan would provide only $1,000 per student, the group said, it would not be enough to help poor families.--J.M.

Vol. 12, Issue 14

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