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President Clinton last week announced that he would nominate Kay Casstevens to be the Education Department's assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs.

Ms. Casstevens, an administrative assistant to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, was deputy campaign manager of Mr. Harkin's 1992 Presidential campaign, and also worked on the 1984 and 1988 Democratic Presidential campaigns. She was previously legislative director for Mr. Harkin, who is chairman of two education-related subcommittees.

President Clinton's nominee for Surgeon General last month urged "a marriage of health and education'' in a speech to the National School Boards Association's Consortium to Foster Comprehensive School Health Programs.

Joycelyn Elders, a pediatrician who has been a champion of school-based clinics during her tenure as Arkansas' state health director, said she will press for early, comprehensive health education and health training for parents and teachers when she replaces Antonia Novello, whose term ends June 1.

Members of the House Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary and Vocational Education last month warned that it may be difficult for the federal government to push states toward school-finance equalization, an idea some education lobbyists are raising as Congress begins work on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

In particular, Rep. Gene Green, D-Tex., said that it may be hard to use Chapter 1, the primary focus of the hearing, as a vehicle.

Chapter 1 money, he said, may not be "enough of a carrot to bring them on board,'' and some states might decline their allocations.

The subcommittee heard testimony from two commissions that studied the Chapter 1 program, the Chapter 1 coordinators' association, and the RAND Corporation.

Hearings on reauthorization of the E.S.E.A. continued last week with more general testimony from education associations.

and the RAND Corporation.

Hearings on reauthorization of the E.S.E.A. continued last week with more general testimony from education associations.

The Education Department's office for civil rights has inadequately enforced provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that deal with gender equity in intercollegiate athletics, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin maintain.

In a study of investigations undertaken by the agency from fiscal 1988 through fiscal 1991, the researchers allege that the O.C.R.'s "letters of finding'' were routinely late, and that it overlooked disparities between men's and women's sports, used arbitrary methods to determine the significance of disparities, and did not follow up on institutions' promises to correct violations.

The researchers also charged that a manual for O.C.R. staff "emphasizes ways investigators can 'justify' '' inequities.

The Career College Association last week filed a class action against the Education Department to prohibit it from releasing student loan-default rates from 1990 and 1991.

The association argues that inaccurate data were used to determine default rates, which determine schools' eligibility for federal student aid.

As a result of 1988 amendments to the Higher Education Act, the number of independent students with incomes under $10,000 who receive Pell Grants is expected to decline, while the number of independent recipients with higher incomes rises, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Overall, the report said, the number of independent students participating in the program will drop by 200,000 in the current year.

The report, which studies the impact of the 1988 reauthorization, also found that removing home and farm equity from the student need calculation will cost about $100 million in fiscal 1993. Discretion for financial-aid officers in setting awards will cost $40 million, and grants for part-time students will cost $10 million.

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