Suit Against 'No Child'

Is Thrown Out of Court

A judge threw out a lawsuit yesterday that sought to block the No Child Left Behind law, President Bush's signature education policy. The National Education Association said it will appeal.

The NEA and school districts in three states had argued that schools should not have to comply with requirements that were not paid for by the federal government.

Chief U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman, based in eastern Michigan, said that "Congress has appropriated significant funding" and has the power to require states to set educational standards in exchange for federal money.

The NEA, a union of 2.7 million members, had filed the suit along with districts in Michigan, Vermont and Texas, plus 10 NEA chapters in those states and Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah.

The school districts had argued that the law is costing them more than they get in federal funding.

The law requires states to revise academic standards and develop tests to measure students' progress annually. If students fail to make progress, the law requires states to take action against school districts.

Bush Urged to Name

FDA Commissioner

A coalition of 22 organizations that support cancer patients and research have sent a letter to President Bush urging him to speed the appointment of a permanent commissioner of food and drugs, which would allow the director of the National Cancer Institute to return his full attention to that office. NCI Director Andrew von Eschenbach has been doubling as acting head of the Food and Drug Administration since Lester M. Crawford resigned abruptly Sept. 23.

"The governance of both NCI and FDA must be securely in the hands of highly qualified leaders who can devote full and undivided attention to the vital missions entrusted to them," said the Nov. 18 letter from the groups, all members of the Cancer Leadership Council.

Harold Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health who is now president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, expressed support for the push. "NCI and FDA really can't be managed by one person, and we'd like to know what the plan is," Varmus said in a telephone interview.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Bush is "working diligently" to find a replacement.

For the Record

* President Bush is targeting the U.S. accounts of leading government officials in Zimbabwe, saying those who work with President Robert Mugabe must restore democracy or face sanctions. The White House announced that Bush had signed an executive order Tuesday blocking all property and financial holdings in the United States owned by 128 people and 33 institutions in Zimbabwe. It also bars U.S. citizens from having financial dealings with them.

* Rep. Jim Kolbe (Ariz.), a leading proponent of free trade and the only openly gay Republican in Congress, announced that he will not seek a 12th term next year. Kolbe, 63, said that he wants to find "new avenues of service" and spend more time in Arizona.

-- From Staff Reports

and News Services