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Education Department officials have announced plans to convene educators from around the nation for three days in January to map a "national agenda'' for special education.

The 40-member panel will include both special and regular educators and representatives from state and local education agencies, colleges and universities, and advocacy groups for disabled people. The meetings are to take place Jan. 13-16 in Charlottesville, Va.

The group will focus on the role of special education in school reform.

Although the Eisenhower Mathematics and Science State Grant Program is unlikely to promoting lasting reform, it is a key funding source for districts struggling to keep teachers current in their fields, according to a report from the General Accounting Office.

The report says the "predominantly short-term training'' offered by the program "cannot be expected to produce major changes'' needed to meet the goal of international predominance in math and science.

The G.A.O. also found that 17 eligible districts did not apply for funds in the 1989-90 school year because the grants would be negligible, and argues that the Education Department has been "slow'' to meet a mandate to assess the program's effectiveness.

The General Accounting Office estimates that it will cost the federal government $212.4 million to liquidate the Higher Education Assistance Foundation.

The Education Department expects to offset much of the cost by collecting on defaulted loans, the G.A.O. reports, but it is not possible to estimate how much would be recouped.

When HEAF, a loan-guarantee agency, notified the department of its financial difficulties in June 1990, the department estimated the bailout cost at $30 million.

Later that year, the Student Loan Marketing Association assumed control over HEAF loans, and the government agreed to reimburse all the costs of defaulted loans.

The Education Department is making available at no charge two new resource books on postsecondary options.

"Preparing Your Child for College: A Resource Book for Parents'' includes advice on financial planning and academic preparation. It is available from the Consumer Information Center, Department 653Y, Pueblo, Colo. 81009.

"School Shopping Tips'' helps students find information on vocational-education programs and choose a vocational school. It is available from the U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 84, Washington, D.C. 20044.

Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander earlier this month announced the release of $7.5 million in impact aid for schools in Hawaii and Louisiana affected by Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki.

About $4.5 million will go to 13 public schools in Kauai, Hawaii, and $3 million to schools in 13 Louisiana parishes.

The funds were included in a special relief bill.

Schools may use the money to transport students to alternative schools while damaged schools are repaired, to keep schools open for longer hours, and for other activities.

Dade County, Fla., schools have already received $52.5 million.

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