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Federal File: Capitalizing on Chelsea; Tokyo bound; Revolving door

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SchoolMatch, a company that provides statistical information on public schools to parents who are shopping for a place to live, apparently saw a potential promotional hook in the controversy over where Chelsea Clinton attends school.

In a news release, the president of SchoolMatch, William L. Bainbridge, said he was "not surprised'' that President Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, decided to send their daughter to a pricey private school.

The District of Columbia public schools "are among the most crime-ridden in the country,'' and "they rank in the nation's lowest percentile for scholastic-exam scores,'' Mr. Bainbridge said.

However, he said, Chelsea could have attended public school on a tuition basis in one of the suburban counties outside Washington for about half the cost of enrolling in the Sidwell Friends School.

The release includes a statistical comparison of schools in the capital with those in three close-by suburban areas.

Chelsea, an 8th grader, began school at Sidwell Friends last week.

Gordon M. Ambach, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, did not get the post of deputy secretary of education, for which transition sources said he was an eager candidate.

But Mr. Ambach, who worked with the "cluster group'' that studied the operations of the Education Department for the Clinton transition team, did get a plum government assignment last week: representing the United States at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Education Forum in Tokyo.

In a news release, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley noted Mr. Ambach's knowledge of international assessments.

Terry W. Hartle, the education staff director for the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, is leaving to become director of governmental relations for the American Council on Education, an umbrella organization of higher-education associations.

It is apparently a desirable post, as the other finalists were current and former senior Congressional aides and a well-known education lobbyist.

Mr. Hartle had surprised many observers when he moved from the Republican-oriented American Enterprise Institute to a job with one of the Senate's pre-eminent liberals, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

At the A.C.E., he will replace Charles Saunders, who retired last year.--J.M.

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