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Federal File: New hire?; Mass appeal; Signing off; Kudos

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Digger Phelps, the former basketball coach at the University of Notre Dame, apparently was seeking a job in the Education Department last year, and officials confirmed he was being considered for an advisory post.

That job went to someone else, but Mr. Phelps apparently continued browsing elsewhere in the Bush Administration. The Washington Post reported last week that he will be tapped by the Office of National Drug Control Policy to head the Administration's "weed and seed'' initiative.

The new interagency program, which appeared in Mr. Bush's 1993 budget proposal, is designed to rehabilitate inner-city communities plagued by drugs and violence. The E.D. budget includes a $56 million contribution for its education components.

About 300 members of the U.S. Students Association rallied on the Capitol's east steps last week to protest the Education Department's proposed policy barring some race-exclusive scholarships.

The National Association of Federally Impacted Schools apparently thought the students had a good idea. It plans to hold a similar demonstration this week to promote its Congressional agenda.

In withdrawing from the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa chose to stress his advocacy of disability rights.

Mr. Harkin, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy and a champion of special-education programs, made his announcement at Gallaudet University, which serves deaf students.

He began his appearance with some remarks in sign language.

Senator Tim Wirth, Democrat of Colorado, is becoming popular in the education community, despite the fact that he does not sit on an education committee.

He does sit on the Senate Budget Committee, and sponsored amendments to boost education allotments in last year's budget resolution.

Supporters of even more federal largess for education are hoping they can count on him again this year. Last week he picked up an award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, which he can add to his plaque from the Committee for Education Funding.--J.M.

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