Education troubleshooter named to bilingual office

WASHINGTON—Alicia Coro, who helped uncover violations within the Education Department’s civil rights office, was named director of the agency’s bilingual office, Education Secretary William Bennett said Wednesday.

Coro will head the department’s Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs, beginning Sept. 8. She succeeds Carol Pendas-Whitten, who served as director from April 1985 to July 1987, Bennett said.

”Mrs. Coro has been actively involved in educational matters since she began teaching in 1966,” said Bennett. ”Her teaching expertise along with her 16 years of service to the Department of Education give her an excellent background for the important challenges of the Office of Bilingual Education.”

The Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs manages several federal programs for students, mainly immigrants and refugees, needing improvements in English speaking and writing skills.

Coro, a native of Havana, Cuba, who arrived in the United States in the early 1960s following the Castro revolution, served from January 1986 until last month as acting assistant secretary for the department’s Office for Civil Rights. She touched off a controversy earlier this year when she discovered that certain education employees falsified documents to fake compliance with court-ordered probes of civil rights complaints.

In ordering a nationwide review, Coro said backdating was most frequent in the department’s Boston office and investigators found similar activities had occurred in at least six of the department’s 10 regional offices, including Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco.

Coro has held other management positions at the department, including deputy assistant secretary for operations at the Office for Civil Rights and director of the department’s Horace Mann Learning Center. She was senior regional liaison to the secretary in the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1975-76.

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