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  • Guide to the Administration
    Richard W. Riley
    (By Bill O'Leary
    for The Washington Post)
    Richard W. Riley
    Education Secretary

    Contact Information
    Background from The Post

    When he took over the Department of Education in 1993, Richard Riley found himself at the helm of an embattled agency that some members of Congress and Republican presidential candidates had called to abolish. Under Riley's stewardship, programs were put in place promoting higher national education standards and expanding federal grants and loan programs. National education standards will continue to be a priority for Riley throughout the second Clinton term, as will securing volunteer tutors and making higher education more accessible for needy and middle-income students.

    Sworn in: Jan. 21, 1993 (nominated December 1992, confirmed Jan. 21, 1993)

    Succeeded: Lamar Alexander, during the Bush administration

    Previous occupation: Partner, law firm of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough; governor, South Carolina, 1979-87; state senator, 1967-76; state representative and state senator, 1963-66; special assistant to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, 1960; officer on a U.S. Navy minesweeper.

    Education: Furman University, 1954 (cum laude); University of South Carolina, 1959 (law degree).

    Hometown: Greenville County, S.C.

    Date of Birth: Jan. 2, 1933

    Spouse: Ann Osteen Yarborough

    Children: Four children

    Of note: When Riley took office as South Carolina governor in 1979, the state was ranked 49th out of 50 states in spending on education. By the time he left office, South Carolina's per-student spending had moved up to 41st in the nation and the state's Scholastic Aptitude Test scores had improved. Riley sponsored legislation in 1984 to spend $240 million to improve the state's public schools, paid for by a 1-cent sales tax known as the "penny-for-education" idea.

    Department of Education
    600 Independence Ave. SW
    Washington, D.C. 20202
    (202) 401-2000
    FAX: (202) 401-0596

    Background from The Post

    Riley Launches Attack on School Vouchers
    Sept. 24, 1997
    U.S. Bilingual Education Funds Ruled Out for Ebonics Speakers
    Dec. 25, 1996
    Improving Reading Skills Is 'Most Urgent Task,' Education Secretary Says
    Feb. 29, 1996
    Riley Lacks Clinton's Flair But Shares Education Focus
    Dec. 22, 1992

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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