Commissioner Keppel

If anybody can help make the U.S. Education Commissioner's Office into a real center of influence on America's schools, rather than the wayside information booth it always has been, it is President Kennedy's most recent Harvard appointment. Dean Keppel's creation of intern and team teaching, his guiding of a committee to find a school superintendent for New York (surely the most delicate and trying job to ask of any educator), and his 14-year-long supervision of the University's rapidly growing Graduate School of Education have shown it. He has a clear vision of what urban schools systems could be in this country: strengthened by federal money, freed from provincialisms, and staffed by teachers with palpable incentives to teach; and he has the vigor to persuade other educators of the need for radical reform. One's only fear about the appointment is that the job's wretched history and low status--to which Harvard Deanship itself managed to lend a certain weight--will neutralize his efforts. Secretary Celebrezze, education floor leaders in the Congress, and the President will have to take the new Commissioner seriously, for this alone can compensate for the University's enormous loss.