News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Clinton Asks ED To Review Social Promotion

President Clinton has called on the Department of Education to explain how schools can stop the practice of granting so-called social promotions and how federal dollars can be spent to implement new policies.

In a Feb. 23 memo, the president assigned the department the task of writing guidelines for educators and policymakers on ending the practice of advancing students from one grade to the next to keep them with their peers, even in cases where students have not mastered the academic material.

The department will also tell states and school districts how they can spend money from the Title I program, the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and other federal programs to adopt promotion policies.

"Neither promoting students when they are unprepared nor simply retaining them in the same grade is the right response to low student achievement," Mr. Clinton wrote to Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. "Both approaches presume high rates of initial failure are inevitable and acceptable."

The task is similar to one where the president assigned the Education Department last year with creating a list of model programs for improving urban schools. ("Clinton Adds School Success Effort To His Agenda," Nov. 5, 1997.)

Interim School-to-Work Chief Named

Irene Lynn, the deputy director of the National School-to-Work Office, has been named the acting director for the office.

She takes the place of J.D. Hoye, who stepped down as director on Feb. 18.

Ms. Lynn joined the school-to-work office in June 1995, after working at the Department of Labor to help states set up one-stop career centers. The federal office was established in the fall of 1994 to implement the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994.

The departments of Education and Labor, which jointly administer the school-to-work program, are searching for a permanent replacement for Ms. Hoye, but have no deadline to do so.

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