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NCLB Enforcer Promoted by US Department of Education

Hickok to Serve as Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education

Will continue to lead implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act

March 5, 2003 Contact: Dan Langan, Melinda Malico, (202) 401-1576

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige today announced that Under Secretary of Education Gene Hickok will take on additional responsibilities and the role as acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) has reported to Hickok's office for more than one year. In addition, at the time the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on Jan. 8, 2002, Secretary Paige announced that Hickok would assume the primary responsibility for implementing the new law. Hickok will continue to serve as under secretary of education.

"I asked Gene to help make sure the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act is as swift and as smooth as possible," Paige said. "And I'm proud to say it is.

"Under Gene's leadership, five states have received approval of their accountability plans, and he's held productive meetings with teams from nearly 40 states to discuss their accountability systems. And, in January, we celebrated a major victory for accountability when every state -- for the first time in the history of American public education -- submitted plans outlining how they will ensure that all their schools are places of high expectations and high standards.

"But there's much more to do, and strong leadership in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education is critical for us to achieve the bold goals of this law. Gene will provide that leadership."

Paige noted that Hickok has assembled a strong team of career and political staff that will help him manage the day-to-day operations of the office and carry out the requirements of the law. He will serve in the acting capacity until President Bush nominates, and the Senate confirms, an assistant secretary.

"President Bush and I have tremendous confidence in Gene Hickok and know that together we'll help ensure that no child in America is left behind," added Paige.

Under Secretary Hickok noted, "We've spent the last year working with state leaders to equip them with the guidance and support they need to implement this historic law, and I'm proud of our accomplishments. Our work is far from over. We'll continue to work together to make the bold goals of this law a reality for America's children."

OESE is responsible for directing, coordinating and recommending policy for programs designed: to assist state and local education agencies to improve the achievement of elementary and secondary school students; to help ensure equal access to services leading to such improvement for all children, particularly children who are educationally disadvantaged; to foster educational improvement at the state and local levels; and to provide financial assistance to local education agencies whose local revenues are affected by federal activities.

Susan B. Neuman, the former assistant secretary, resigned in January.

Hickok to Serve as Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education
U. S. Department of Education Press Release
March 7, 2003


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