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Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Aug 30 13:14:29 UTC 2006


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Member of Federal Panel on Higher Education Is Tapped for Key Post at
Education Department


A member of the federal Commission on the Future of Higher Education was
nominated by President Bush on Tuesday to take over the No. 3 position at
the U.S. Department of Education.

If confirmed, Sara Martinez Tucker, president and chief executive officer
of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, will become the under secretary of
education. That role has been filled on an acting basis since January by
David Dunn, who replaced Edward R. McPherson.

Ms. Tucker was appointed last fall as one of the 19 members of the federal
commission charged with developing a national strategy for higher
education. The panel's final draft report, which it approved earlier this
month, is expected to be delivered to the secretary of education in

In interviews with The Chronicle before her nomination, Ms. Tucker said
she was "very pleased with the completeness" of the commission's report.
Some of the ideas put forth by members of the commission "may be buried,
or not as prominent as people would want, but they're in there," she said.
"You just have to look."

As a member of the commission, Ms. Tucker said her top agenda items were
college access and affordability. Another one of her key priorities was
the development of a so-called unit-record system to track individual
students' educational progress, a proposal that made the commission's
final report and has been vigorously opposed by the National Association
of Independent Colleges and Universities.

The commission's chairman, Charles Miller, said in an interview on Tuesday
that the nomination of Ms. Tucker does not mean that she will simply carry
out the panel's recommendations in her new position. "My sense is that the
secretary was going to keep up a dialogue about the issues we discussed
anyway," said Mr. Miller, who will be The Chronicle's guest for a live,
online discussion today at 11 a.m., U.S. Eastern Time, in Colloquy.

Ms. Tucker's "having gone through the process" of serving on the
commission "ought to add value to the job," Mr. Miller added. "Any of us
that have done this work for the last year has gained a great deal of
knowledge and contacts."

The under secretary of education oversees policies, programs, and
activities related to vocational and adult education, postsecondary
education, and college aid.


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