Federal

Fiscal Official Tapped for E.D. Post

By Sean Cavanagh — November 05, 2003 2 min read

President Bush announced last week his intention to fill the No. 3 position in the Department of Education with a top financial officer from another federal agency, a move supporters say will help preserve fiscal order at the department.

Edward R. “Ted” McPherson, the chief financial officer for the Department of Agriculture, will be nominated to the job of undersecretary of education, the White House and the Education Department said on Oct. 28.

That role would call for him to serve as a key adviser to Secretary of Education Rod Paige, whose senior staff has seen several departures recently. The same day as the announcement about Mr. McPherson, the secretary named Anne Radice, a former foundation executive, as his chief of staff.

A Texas native, Mr. McPherson, 58, has years of financial experience in government and private industry, but little apparent expertise on school issues. His appointment still requires Senate confirmation.

The undersecretary traditionally serves as a principal adviser to the secretary on matters ranging from the budget and strategic planning to education policy. Several observers suggested that political and policy duties, including the continued implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, were likely to remain the domain of the No. 2 official in the department, acting Deputy Secretary of Education Eugene W. Hickok, who has also been serving as undersecretary.

Mr. Paige suggested that Mr. McPherson was being tapped for his financial know- how. The Agriculture Department official would be a “valuable asset in our continued efforts to be responsible stewards” of federal tax dollars, the secretary said in a statement.

A spokesman for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said it was too early to comment on the confirmation process for Mr. McPherson.

Watching the Books

The White House and the Education Department offered no comment on whether Mr. Hickok—one of the department’s most visible advocates for the No Child Left Behind law—would be nominated for Senate confirmation as deputy secretary.

The Department of Education oversees an annual discretionary budget of roughly $53 billion.

Mr. McPherson’s name emerged about four months after the resignation of Deputy Secretary of Education William D. Hansen, who cited a desire to spend more time with his family. Observers credited Mr. Hansen with revamping financial oversight of the 4,800-employee department. Under his stewardship, the agency received its first “clean” audit report on its finances in six years. (“Ed. Dept’s No. 2 Official Announces Resignation,” June 6, 2003, and “Department’s No. 2 Official Stepping Down,” June 11, 2003.)

Bruce Hunter, a lobbyist for the American Association of School Administrators, in Arlington, Va., predicted that Mr. McPherson would absorb the budget-watchdog duties previously handled by Mr. Hansen.

“If they’re asking him to go out and make education speeches, he might be able to do that,” Mr. Hunter said of Mr. McPherson, “but he wouldn’t have a whole lot of credibility.”

Ms. Radice, 55, has served as the executive director of two New York City foundations: Friends of Dresden, devoted to the revival of the German city heavily bombed during World War II; and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, a human-rights organization. She has also been the acting chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Events

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
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Teaching Workforce
We discuss the importance of workforce diversity and learn strategies to recruit and retain teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Principal
Meredith, New Hampshire
Inter-Lakes School District
Elementary Principal
Washington State
Wenatchee School District
Principal
Meredith, New Hampshire
Inter-Lakes School District
Elementary Principal
Washington State
Wenatchee School District

Read Next

Federal Some Districts Extend Paid Leave Policies as They Hope for Passage of Biden Relief Plan
With federal provisions having expired, some school employees have had to dip into their own banks of leave for COVID-19 purposes.
5 min read
Linda Davila-Macal, a seventh grade reading teacher at BL Garza Middle School in Edinburg, Texas, works from her virtual classroom at her home on Aug. 31, 2020.
A teacher leads a virtual classroom from her home.
Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP
Federal President Biden Is Walking a 'Careful Tightrope' When It Comes to School Reopenings
CDC guidance and confusion over his rhetoric turn up the pressure, and could overshadow progress in schools and nuanced public opinion.
9 min read
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Feb. 16, 2021.
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event in Milwaukee earlier this month.
Evan Vucci/AP
Federal White House Unveils New Money to Aid COVID-19 Testing in Schools, But Says More Is Needed
Federal agencies will use $650 million to expand testing in schools and "underserved communities" such as homeless shelters.
2 min read
Image of a coronavirus test swab.
The White House announced new money to help schools test students and staff for COVID-19, but it said more aid is necessary to scale up those efforts.
E+
Federal Q&A To Help Traumatized Students This Summer, Let Them Play, Sen. Chris Murphy Says in Q&A
A member of the Senate education committee, Murphy also discussed new CDC guidance and student testing in an Education Week interview.
8 min read
02172021 Chris Murphy
Andrew Harnik/AP-File