Federal File

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First Priority

First lady Laura Bush has pledged to make education her top priority, and is launching a tour to help recruit teachers and promote her agenda.

Over the next few months, Mrs. Bush will travel to several schools across the country to publicize strong research-based practices in teaching and early reading methods.

The first lady's office has not determined how many schools she will visit, or where they will be, but it has already begun planning one trip in the coming weeks, said her spokeswoman, Ashleigh Adams.

"From this point forward and throughout the year, she will be out and about in many schools," Ms. Adams said.

At a Hyattsville, Md., elementary school last month, Mrs. Bush announced a new guide to help parents choose effective reading programs for their children. The guide is available online from the Department of Education.

Seeking Justice

President Bush last week nominated a Boston lawyer, Ralph F. Boyd Jr., to be the assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Department of Justice.

The civil rights division monitors some 200 school desegregation cases still under federal court supervision. And last year, it intervened on behalf of New York City students in a school finance lawsuit against New York state. The division argued that the plaintiffs should be able to use a federal civil rights law to challenge the equity of the finance system.

The most recent occupant of the division's top spot was Bill Lann Lee, who was appointed by President Clinton on an acting basis after Senate Republicans refused to confirm him.

Mr. Boyd, 44, currently in private practice, was an assistant U.S. attorney in Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. He worked primarily on criminal cases, including gun crimes and gang violence. He does not have specific experience in civil rights litigation.

—Joetta L. Sack & Mark Walsh

Vol. 20, Issue 26, Page 29

Published in Print: March 14, 2001, as Federal File

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