News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Bush Chooses Stroup for Postsecondary Chief

President Bush has selected Sally Stroup to become the Department of Education's assistant secretary for postsecondary education, the White House announced last week. Ms. Stroup, 45, is a lobbyist for the Apollo Group, Inc. which runs the for-profit University of Phoenix system.

She worked as an aide to then-Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., on the House Education and the Workforce Committee from 1993 to January of this year. Before that, she was a lawyer with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency for 11 years.

The selection completes the roster of assistant secretaries.

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president for the American Council on Education, praised Ms. Stroup's selection. "Everyone in the higher education community is delighted they could convince someone with her experience and knowledge to take the position," he said.

—Joetta L. Sack

Former Aide to Hickok Named Ed. Dept. Press Secretary

Dan Langan, a former press secretary for the Pennsylvania education department, was named last week to a similar post for U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.

Mr. Langan, 32, joined the federal agency in May after his boss, former Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Eugene W. Hickok, was named undersecretary of education, the department's No. 3 post. He has served as a special assistant to Mr. Hickok since that time.

—Erik W. Robelen

Bush Appoints Commission to Study Hispanic Achievement

President Bush recently announced the creation of a special commission that will provide advice on improving the academic achievement of Hispanic students.

"This nation of immigrant heritage believes that all children, whatever their circumstances, deserve a chance to learn and rise and succeed," Mr. Bush said as he signed an executive order establishing the commission at an Oct. 12 celebration in Washington marking Hispanic Heritage month. "This principle has guided my education reforms as we work to raise the standards of public schools across America and bring hope to every classroom for every child."

The primary responsibility of the 25-member commission will be to write a report by March 2003 with suggestions for improving the performance of Latino students in school. The panel will also suggest an accountability system to monitor executive-branch departments and agencies and their efforts to ensure participation of Hispanic students in education.

—Lisa Fine

Puerto Rico Should Return Title I Money, Inspector Says

Puerto Rico should return $8.4 million to the Department of Education for "questionable" and "unsupported" Title I expenditures, according to the agency's inspector general.

A report late last month from Inspector General Lorraine Lewis found that over the past two school years, Puerto Rico failed to properly award Title I contracts totaling $17.2 million. The money was for establishing learning centers in the commonwealth's 84 school districts and for carrying out school improvement and professional-development activities at needy elementary schools.

Among the specific complaints is that Puerto Rico's education department awarded four contracts to National School Services of Puerto Rico, a private for-profit company, without a full and open competition. The commonwealth also did not obtain an itemized price list for the contracts, and did not implement controls to review invoices properly, the inspector general says.

Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Cesar A. Rey responded that the Sept. 28 charges pertain to a prior administration, and that the current one "has been working diligently and in good faith" to improve the grant process. He urged that Puerto Rico not be required to repay the entire $8.4 million.

—Erik W. Robelen

House Encourages Schools to Display 'God Bless America'

The House of Representatives voted 404-0 on Oct. 16 in support of schools' displaying the words "God Bless America." Rep. Henry E. Brown Jr., R-S.C., the sponsor of the nonbinding resolution, said he was "deeply troubled" by reports that some schools have been asked to remove the words from marquees and other signs. The measure has been sent to the Senate.

—Mark Walsh

Vol. 21, Issue 8, Pages 32-33

Published in Print: October 24, 2001, as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
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