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Newsmakers

Ex-Education Chief Needed a Lesson in Cooperation

June 25, 1989|JAMES MARNELL

The outgoing president of the National Education Assn. said William J. Bennett deserves nothing better than a D for his performance as education secretary. Mary Futrell rated the education chiefs of the last nine years and found that only Terrel H. Bell, President Ronald Reagan's first education secretary, deserved an A--in this case, an A-minus. "Bill didn't know how to get people to work with him," she said of Bennett, who is now director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Futrell praised Bell for his leadership and vision, saying that "he saved the department" from Reagan's campaign pledge to abolish it. Lauro F. Cavazos, the current education secretary, falls somewhere between the two, getting a C-plus or B-minus. "Like Bell, Cavazos understands the issues. But he does not have the kind of support he needs to do the job. He's being hamstrung right now," she said.

--Now for the kindly and gentler jabs of Rozanne Ridgway, the highest-ranking woman in the State Department, who is stepping down. Ridgway, 54, has been assistant secretary of state for Europe and only recently turned down President Bush's offer to become U.S. ambassador to NATO. She has decided to stay in Washington with her husband, a captain in the Coast Guard. At her farewell ceremony, Ridgway managed a few swipes at what she called male chauvinism. She told of a U.S. ambassador to Argentina who refused to include her in a stag luncheon and referred to former White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan's remark about women not being capable of understanding such things as missile throw-weights. She also mentioned the time she discussed the book "The Role of Women in U.S. Foreign Policy" with Secretary of State James A. Baker III. She added: "It's not a very long book."

--Sen. Lloyd Bentsen is finally getting back in the swing of things. The Texas senator last summer quit the River Oaks Country Club and the Ramada Club, both in Houston, and the Middleburg Tennis Club in Middleburg, Va., because the clubs had few or no minorities--but also because he was running as the Democratic vice presidential candidate. However, Bentsen has now elected to rejoin the clubs, according to Jack DeVore, his spokesman. "The clubs have no membership restrictions," DeVore said.

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