Federal Federal File

All in the Family

By Lynn Olson — February 15, 2005 1 min read
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President Bush isn’t the only Bush who will get to weigh in on federal education policy. Although it has gotten little attention, his brother Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida, was sworn in last October for a four-year term as a member of the National Assessment Governing Board.

The policymaking body oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a congressionally mandated testing program that the president would like to expand to produce state-level reading and mathematics results in grade 12, as it now does in grades 4 and 8.

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By law, the 25-member board must include two governors, or former governors, of different political parties, who are nominated by the National Governors Association but appointed by the U.S. secretary of education.

Mr. Bush succeeded Gov. Dirk A. Kempthorne of Idaho, a fellow Republican whose term had expired. But there’s still no official replacement for former Gov. Ronnie D. Musgrove of Mississippi, a Democrat whose term also had expired.

Word is that the Democratic opening will go to Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa.

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“He just cleared all the financial-disclosure requirements,” said Sharif Shakrani, the deputy executive director of NAGB, who said the general counsel’s office in the Department of Education is verifying that the Iowa governor is qualified to serve.

Mr. Shakrani said there was a delay in filling the Democratic slot because the NGA was late in submitting a nominee. That may be because one of those originally interested in the position was then-Gov. James E. McGreevey of New Jersey. Mr. McGreevey resigned from office, effective in November, after acknowledging an extramarital affair with a man.

The Education Department would not confirm Gov. Vilsack’s appointment.

“These are still in the works, and no appointment has been made yet,” department spokesman David Thomas said last week.

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A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week

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