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Doing Double Duty

Paul Schwarz will have twice as long to enjoy being the Department of Education's principal-in-residence as any of his four predecessors.

The New York City principal received a two-year appointment to work on the staff of Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. Previous occupants of the advisory position stayed in Washington for one year.

The department doubled the length of the appointment because principals "didn't get done what they wanted to get done in a year," said spokesman David Thomas. The department plans to give future principals the same amount of time Mr. Schwarz will have, Mr. Thomas said.

Mr. Schwarz will leave his job as principal of the Jackie Robinson Complex and co-director of Central Park East Secondary School, a Harlem school with 450 students in grades 7 through 12. The school, with half of its students eligible for free and reduced-priced lunches, places more than 85 percent of its graduates in college every year. Mr. Schwarz was selected for the job from among candidates nominated by the chief state school officers.

Dropout Czar?

Is a dropout "czar" in the nation's future?

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., thinks it should be. He wants to make stemming the tide of high school dropouts a focus of the national education agenda.

Mr. Bingaman announced plans to introduce legislation that would consolidate federal dropout-prevention programs scattered among different agencies into one office under the Education Department and empower a "dropout-prevention czar" to oversee the efforts. The bill would authorize $100 million for efforts to promote successful programs, part of which would come from existing programs.

"For too long, this issue has been on the back burner in Washington," Mr. Bingaman said in a news release. A spokeswoman said the senator planned to introduce the proposed National Dropout Prevention Act later this month.

In 1995, 540,000 U.S. students--about 5.4 percent of the nation's high school enrollment--dropped out of high school, according to the Department of Education.


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