A group of women's rights advocates yesterday charged that the Reagan administration "has actively embarked on a path to pull back from the nation's 10-year commitment to eliminate sex discrimination in education."
At a news conference called by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, several women educators added their voices to the growing criticism of the administration's civil rights policies.
Among the actions singled out:
* Justice Department efforts to restrict the scope of the law requiring that women have equal access to federally funded educational programs.
* Attempts to eliminate funding for the Women's Educational Equity Act program, which provides federal money for local women's education programs.
* Administration support of proposed changes in the Vocational Education Act, giving states more discretion in deciding whether to spend federal dollars on displaced homemaker programs and programs to bring women into traditionally male occupations.
While the advocates were leveling their criticisms, a meeting of the presidentially appointed National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs was under way in the adjacent hotel conference room.
The advisory council was a target of criticism at the news conference, in part because of its chairman's perfunctory handling of a recent letter to Education Secretary T.H. Bell advocating a broad intepretation of antidiscrimination statutes.
A majority of council members had approved the letter. Council head Betty Cordoba sent Bell the brief text of the letter without elaboration.