Federal

Bush Bypasses Senate To Fill Two Posts

January 07, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

President Bush filled two senior posts at the Department of Education late last month using a procedure that circumvents Senate approval.

Raymond J. Simon, the former director of the Arkansas Department of Education, is the new assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Robert Lerner, a Rockville, Md.-based social scientist, is the new commissioner of education statistics.

The president nominated Mr. Lerner more than six months ago, while Mr. Simon’s name was put forward Sept. 22.

On Dec. 26, Mr. Bush announced the “recess” appointments of 12 federal officials, including the two for Education Department posts. Three new members of the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service were also on the list.

The president has the constitutional authority to make appointments during congressional recesses without Senate approval, though they are of limited duration. Unless his selections are confirmed by the Senate, the 12 recess appointments will expire in January 2005.

Presidents occasionally use the procedure to install controversial nominees who have run into opposition in the Senate. Mr. Lerner’s nomination has encountered resistance from some education researchers, civil rights groups, and gay rights organizations. Much of the debate has focused on his writings for conservative organizations and his strong stands on social issues. (“Lerner’s Writings Raise Objectivity Concerns,” June 18, 2003.)

Kennedy’s Opposition

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the selection of Mr. Lerner on Oct. 29. However, the ranking Democrat, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, asked to be on record opposing Mr. Bush’s choice. The National Center for Education Statistics, the Education Department branch led by the statistics commissioner, has not had a permanent head since 1999.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Sen. Kennedy, described the White House decision to install Mr. Lerner without full Senate approval “disappointing but not unexpected.”

The nomination of Mr. Simon, meanwhile, had not yet been considered by the Senate education committee, but he did not appear to face opposition in the chamber. The choice of Mr. Simon drew praise from both Democrats and Republicans, and it had the support of key school groups in Arkansas, including the Arkansas School Boards Association and the Arkansas Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association.

Mr. Simon replaces Susan B. Neuman, who resigned in January of last year.

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar After-School Learning Top Priority: Academics or Fun?
Join our expert panel to discuss how after-school programs and schools can work together to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.
Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Cardona Defends Biden's Education Budget and Proposals on Student Debt and Trans Athletes
House Republicans accused Education Secretary Miguel Cardona of indoctrinating students and causing drops in test scores.
4 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during a ceremony honoring the Council of Chief State School Officers' 2023 Teachers of the Year in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 24, 2023, in Washington.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during a ceremony honoring the 2023 Teachers of the Year at the White House on April 24, 2023. He appeared before a U.S. House committee May 16, 2023, to defend the Biden administration's proposed education budget and other policies.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Book Bans and Divisive Concepts Laws Will Hold U.S. Students Back, Secretary Cardona Says
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona participated in a summit this week that drew international education leaders to the nation's capital.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
Alyssa Schukar for Education Week
Federal Opinion The Lies America Tells Itself About Black Education
'A Nation at Risk' created a faux crisis to usher in the right's education agenda, argues Bettina L. Love.
4 min read
President Ronald Reagan is flanked by Education Secretary Terrel Bell, left, White House Policy director, during a meeting in the Cabinet Room in Washington, Feb. 23, 1984 where they discussed school discipline.
President Ronald Reagan and U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, left, during a meeting in the Cabinet Room, Feb. 23, 1984, where they discussed school discipline.
AP
Federal AFT Head Weingarten Says Her Union Didn’t Conspire With CDC on School Reopening Guidance
Some Republicans allege the union exercised its influence to keep schools closed longer than necessary.
7 min read
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is sworn in to testify during a House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 school closures, Wednesday, April 26, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is sworn in to testify during a House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 school closures, Wednesday, April 26, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP