Cross replacing Embry as head of Maryland Board of Education


Christopher T. Cross, an assistant education secretary in the Bush administration, was elected president of the Maryland Board of Education yesterday.

Mr. Cross, of Chevy Chase, was elected unanimously, replacing Robert C. Embry Jr. of Baltimore, who could not succeed himself as head of the 12-member board.

Next Monday, Mr. Cross becomes president of the Council for Basic Education, a national organization that promotes the teaching of the basic subjects -- English, history, geography, mathematics, sciences, foreign languages and the arts -- and resists frills in education.

In Washington, he served in both the Reagan and Bush administrations and was most recently assistant secretary for educational research and improvement in the Department of Education. He served on the National Commission on Time and Learning, which recently issued a scathing report on the way American schools organize time.

"He's low-key, bipartisan in outlook, not a wheeler-dealer," said Lisa J. Walker, executive director of the Education Writers Association.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed Mr. Cross to a four-year term last August.

Mr. Embry is a former assistant secretary of housing and urban development in the Carter administration, though at yesterday's board meeting he renewed his proposal for a very Republican concept -- a school "choice" plan for low-income Maryland students.

The board also gave formal approval to the "framework" for a reorganization of Baltimore's Patterson High School, which, along with Douglass High, had been threatened with state takeover because of poor performance. Patterson's entire staff will be replaced this fall, and eventually it will be apportioned into four "academies" specializing in the humanities, the fine arts, technical education and career preparation.

Christopher E. Grant, a businessman and lawyer from Baltimore County, was elected board vice president.

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