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Federal File: New faces; Old ideas

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Kay Casstevens, an administrative assistant to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has been offered the job of assistant secretary for legislation in the Education Department, a source said last week.

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley told the department's urban-superintendents coalition last week, meanwhile, that Marshall S. Smith would be joining his team in an unspecified capacity.

Mr. Smith, the dean of Stanford University's education school, worked with the Clinton transition team and more recently as a consultant to Mr. Riley. Mr. Smith, who had been mentioned for the deputy secretary post that is to be filled by former Gov. Madeleine M. Kunin of Vermont, has said he is not interested in a federal post.

Mr. Riley is rumored to be considering creating a new, top-ranking position for Mr. Smith.

Others who worked on education for the campaign and the transition and who are also now assisting Mr. Riley said last week that they do not know yet where they will land.

Several individuals said they have been told they are being considered for one of several positions in the department.

"It looks like they've got a short list of people with connections to the campaign and the transition, and they're juggling the names, rather than finding the right person for a job,'' one education lobbyist said.

The list is said to include Michael Cohen, an analyst at the National Center for Education and the Economy; Sharon Robinson, the director of the National Education Association's National Center on Innovation; Susan H. Fuhrman, the director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education; and Ramon Cortines, a former superintendent of schools in San Francisco.

Hard evidence now exists that part of the Bush Administration's America 2000 strategy may live on.

Mr. Riley issued a news release last week announcing that he would participate in a "satellite town meeting'' this week.

Former Secretary Lamar Alexander hosted several such events, which featured discussions about local America 2000 efforts among panelists and viewers who called in.

John McGrath, a spokesman for the department, said the National Education Goals Panel agreed to step in as a co-sponsor with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a major supporter of America 2000.

"We're calling it the 'national education goals town meeting,' '' Mr. McGrath said.

The goals-panel chairman, Gov. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, will host this week. The subject will be Omaha 2000, according to the release, which avoids using the words "America 2000.'' --J.M.

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