Published Online: February 3, 1999
Published in Print: February 3, 1999, as Federal File

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What works?

In his State of the Union Address last month, President Clinton said he wanted the federal government to spend its education dollars "to support what works and stop supporting what doesn't."

Rep. Dick Armey

That statement quickly got the attention of two congressional Republicans. House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, wrote to Mr. Clinton three days after the president's Jan. 19 speech, asking for his thoughts on which programs should be axed.

Mr. Hoekstra, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, spent much of the past two years compiling his "Education at a Crossroads" report targeting what his panel sees as ineffective programs. ("GOP Report Underscores Two Views on Federal Role," Aug. 5, 1998.)

"Please send us your list of those programs--out of the hundreds that currently exist--that the administration has identified as 'not working,' " Mr. Hoekstra and Mr. Armey wrote on Jan. 22. "We support your idea to begin the process of changing the way we invest in public education-- by investing in students and not federal bureaucrats."

As of last week, the Department of Education had not seen the letter, according to spokeswoman Julie Green. The White House had no comment.

Job change for Cohen

Michael Cohen, President Clinton's special assistant for education policy, returns to the Education Department this week.

In his new role, Mr. Cohen will oversee the department's $1.2 billion initiative to help schools hire new teachers and reduce class sizes. He will report directly to Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.

Before leaving the department for the White House 2½ years ago, Mr. Cohen worked as an adviser to Mr. Riley. The president has not yet named his successor in the assistant's job.

Mr. Cohen's return to the department comes as a colleague there, Gerald N. Tirozzi, prepares to leave his post as the assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education on March 1. Mr. Tirozzi is moving on to serve as the executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals in Reston, Va.

--Joetta L. Sack federal@epe.org

Vol. 18, Issue 21, Page 24

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