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Federal File: Authorized use only; Say it in green

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Apparently- concerned that their bid for public awareness could prove a little too successful, Education Department officials published guidelines in the Dec. 16 Federal Register for the use of the America 2000 insignia.

The red-and-blue logo, which has decorated many press releases and ceremonial banners since President Bush unveiled the strategy last year, is a triangular, abstract depiction of an American flag, bordered at the bottom with the term "America 2000."

The rules allow use of the logo by department officials in connection with the reform plan, by the news media in reporting on it, and by participating states, school districts, and communities "in communications directly related to America 2000."

Under the rules, the Secretary has leeway to approve other uses if he determines that they would "promote the purposes of America 2000."

But the rules stipulate that the logo cannot be used to plug a commercial product or a political party or candidate, or to imply federal endorsement of state or local educational programs.

At a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting last month, some participants active on education issues expressed frustration with federal policies, particularly America 2000, that they said call for reforms without helping financially strapped states pay for them.

After a presentation by Michael Jackson, who heads the Education Department's America 2000 office, State Senator Michael Barrett of Massachusetts launched an attack that "had many other heads nodding," in the words of an N.C.S.L. official.

"Without putting any dough on the table, you folks really look hypocritical," Mr. Barrett said, complaining that Secretary Alexander asks states and communities to join the America 2000 campaign without providing the resources many districts need to pay for programs the Administration advocates.

That puts pressure on state governments to come up with the money, Mr. Barrett said.

Participants were also critical of alternative Congressional plans, which would essentially give state and local officials funds to support their choice of reforms.

The legislators argued that the relatively small amount of money likely to be available would be better spent on existing programs, such as Head Start, that benefit disadvantaged children.

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