Advisor now ambassador
The Senate's confirmation last week of Carol Moseley-Braun—one
of its former members—as U.S. ambassador to New Zealand means
Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley will be losing a prominent
Ms. Moseley-Braun, who brought school construction issues to the forefront of the Democratic agenda during her one term in the chamber, which ended in January, will step down as a part-time adviser to Mr. Riley on the topic.
Her nomination was laden with controversy, mainly because of bad blood between her and Sen. Jesse Helms, R- N.C, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Chairman. But Mr. Helms stepped aside—or disappeared, according to some reports—allowing the committee to approve the nomination Nov. 5. The full Senate voted to confirm the appointment on Nov. 10.
While the Department of Education administers a wide range of programs designed to improve American schools, it also keeps an eye on education in other countries. And many of those countries, in turn, are watching education reforms in the United States.
Over his seven-year tenure, Secretary Riley and his staff have hosted top-ranking foreign officials, on average, about once a month. Aides say Mr. Riley often gets requests from education leaders, particularly those from developing nations, to visit and study the structure of the American system.
Late last month, several Education Department officials met here with Japan's education vice-minister, Teiichi Sato, to discuss education technology, a popular topic with visitors.
Earlier that week, Mr. Riley met with Brazilian Education Minister Paulo Renato Souza in South Carolina. As part of a larger partnership forged by President Clinton, the two have agreed to meet twice a year to discuss education in their countries, said Mr. Riley's spokeswoman, Erica Lepping.
And Mr. Riley has worked out another partnership with Spain, which will allow for an exchange program for bilingual educators.
"There seems to be a very keen interest abroad in terms of education reform," Ms. Lepping said.
--Joetta L. Sack
Vol. 19, Issue 12, Page 22