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No New Commissioner in Sight for Federal Statistics Center


When Sean P. "Jack" Buckley stepped down as commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics at the end of last year, research-watchers hoped the Institute of Education Sciences would be able to fill the position quickly. But Institute of Education Sciences Director John Q. Easton told the institute's advisory board yesterday that he will have to go back to the drawing board.

And the clock is ticking, since Easton, who has been filling in as commissioner since January, has announced his own resignation at the end of the summer to join the Chicago-based Spencer Foundation. "Up until a few days ago, I thought I'd have some good news, but I don't," Easton told members of the National Board for Education Sciences. "I had hoped very much that by the time I left there would be someone in place; I don't think that's going to happen."

While in recent years IES has struggled to fill the slot of the nation's statistician-in-chief, observers hoped this selection would go more quickly, as the position has changed from one that required Senate approval to a straight Presidential appointment. But Easton said he is not sure who will lead the center, which administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress and many of the Education Department's large-scale data collections.

"I do not know procedurally how these things work," Easton said. "There is not a default position for NCES the way there is for IES, because there is no deputy commissioner."

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